Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Diversity of Thought on Demand

The diversity of team is a fountain of creativity, and leadership inclusiveness is like a rainbow in the sky.

When you grow a garden, you need to select the variety of plants, each has its own color and theme; when you build a house, you need many materials, each has their own purpose and strengths, and this is diversity. So when you build a team or run an organization, why is inclusiveness so crucial and what type of diversity is needed?



Why is diversity so strategic imperative? The world now moves to the new era of hyper-connectivity, over-complexity and fierce competition. Although information is abundant and knowledge are only clicks away, organizations desperately need business insight and foresight to move faster because knowledge can be outdated so soon and business life span is significantly shortened. Check out the research on complexity, diversity and functionality and you will find that diversity in a group of people produces better performance and high levels of resilience. Diverse groups spark collective creativity and discover higher quality solutions. It is even not just a soft culture thing, and it is easy to prove mathematically why this should be so. Thus, we must face diversity, bringing in new ideas and new perspectives to make new creations and build better future together. And diversity will be transcendent to the next level of human advancement when having a common purpose. So you have to continue to stress those new ideas if they are not woven into the organization, or if they are not part of a unified purpose.

What type of diversity is on demand? The historic focus on easy-to-measure aspects of diversity (ethnicity, gender, age ....) might be too superficial, or even wrong-headed, because more often, such skin level difference is nothing to do with a cognitive difference -- how people think and approach the problems. Of course, differences in gender, ethnicity, experience etc. are sometimes correlated with differences in skills and cultural outlook so they can be a useful proxy - but only if those differences are respected and maintained, and move up to the next level - the color of characters and the diversity of thoughts. To produce a high-performing team, we need cognitive differences, levels of capabilities, complementary experiences, the spectrum of skills, unique competencies, cultural perspectives and personalities. That's what cultivates the culture of innovation and improves performance ultimately.


Diversity of perspective and insight, unity for the purpose, direction, and goals. One should pride themselves on being a unique individual, with a cultural perspective, and life lessons. There are a time and place for all things. There are boundaries to what is appropriate and when. When it comes to the business of producing a product for a customer, the focus of the workplace should be that of a unified team under a banner of that organization. At that moment, the organization is your tribe with the sole purpose of coming together for the common good of working together to achieve a goal. Are you working in a team that only saw the color of the rainbow? That rainbow race is a mighty strong one, comprised of many layers and shades, but unified in the sense of purpose, dedication and accomplishment.


Focusing on diversity will force you to confront new ideas. Inclusiveness and the celebration of diversity is a forcing function for most organizations. Organically, organizations do not embrace change nor do they embrace new ideas or new people. In fact, the lack of diversity makes organizations non-optimal. Focusing on diversity will force you to confront new ideas, new materials and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. Diversity and the emphasis on it will be pay off. Once the superior ideas of a truly diverse work culture have surfaced, a unanimous decision is necessary to bring the project forward. So diversity is no long a wallflower for decoration, but a switch to turn on the creativity light bulb.


The diversity of thought is on demand, for boosting collective creativity and harness collective wisdom; for lifting the spirit of organization and our society- CULTURE and for optimizing corporate performance and maturity.

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