Diversity is all about age, race, gender and the like isn't it? "No it's actually diversity of thought that is the true business value to organisations, rather than the more widely understood concept of visible diversity", according to the head of of a UK executive search firm.
The latest business thinking now values invisible diversity and the power of differential thought as potentially major contributors to the success of an organisation.
In a 2002 Passion Point to Ponder, we wrote:
"Diversity simply means, in its broadest sense, variety. Diversity does not mean quotas, tokenism, or political correctness. It also includes the unique, and even weird, perspectives of your team members.
Diverse opinions are good for clarity and simplicity. Yet, sometimes it takes courage to be a questioning voice, and sometimes more courage to recognise it."
By recognising the neglected power and potential of diverse thought and voice, the pitfalls and paralysis of "groupthink" can be avoided. Conformity of thought can be as damaging as it seems comforting, and this belated realisation that diversity of thought and voice is one of the few unexplored avenues of competitive business advantage should be applauded.
True diversity--visible and invisible--like beauty, is universal. However, unlike beauty, it would appear that true diversity still meets the eye of few beholders.
QUOTES TO CONSIDER
"There were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or two grains. Their most universal quality is diversity."
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist.
Does your organisation embrace the energy and synergy of the true diversity that binds, or does it value the blameless and sameness of visible diversity that sometimes blinds?
"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together."
Malcom Forbes (1917-1990), American publisher.
Do your thoughts transcend or blend with others?
Charles Kovess CSP