Diversity – A Recipe for Organizational Success
We hear so much about diversity in the workplace today. But do we understand it as anything more than equality for racial, gender, or sexual orientation differences? As psychologist-business consultants we encourage our clients to believe in equality… and the advantage diversity brings for organizational success.
You see, the first principle of the people side of business is acceptance of your employees. A culture that builds on the fundamental notion of accepting human design and uniqueness will not only accept people who look different, it will welcome people who think differently. Embracing diverse ideas and perspectives is the key to organizational success.
It is much too easy for a “company line” to develop in an organization. If no one can question the standard operating procedures or offer new solutions to evolving problems the organization will grow stagnant and outdated. Other organizations utilizing the power of creative thinking will eventually outpace and outperform the “one size fits all” company.
And you never know where the new ideas, processes, or solutions will come from. They may come from a woman who brings a softer touch to corporate policy or a racial minority who understands a customer base better than others. The new idea may come from that quirky artistic person who doesn’t quite dress like everyone else. You want creativity and diversity of perspectives in your organization.
Maintaining an open, accepting culture can seem more complex than having that solid, rigid platform for carrying out the mission of the organization. Not only must you be open to new ideas, but you must have systems for coalescing them into a coherent strategy for doing your work. This is the big advantage of working through teams I discussed earlier. Everyone can come to understand that while they have input, once decisions are made, their job is to come together, back those decisions, and work for the common good.
An organization needs people from different backgrounds. They may be different because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background. Diversity enriches the intellectual, social, and cultural environment of the organization and enhances the organization’s ability to define and meet its goals. Diversity is an asset for the organization as long as people are willing to reconcile their diverse perspectives.
Tom DeMaio, PhD