diversity articles image largeDiversity: Is the goal people or thought?

There are numerous studies showing how companies with higher diversity perform better than their peers, have higher employee satisfaction and engagement, and more innovation.

How do they get there?

For large firms in “destination” in locations, they can recruit different parts of the country, ethnic backgrounds or cultures. Because of their location and company size, they can create a very diverse company profile from the measurable characteristics of people. Because of the inherent diversity of backgrounds, they automatically have the most important non-measurable trait: Diversity of Thought.

If you are a small organization, maybe family run, and in a “non-destination” location, how do you achieve the same results? Many of your employees have grown up in the same communities, same schools, and churches. [quotesright]You share many of the same traditions and beliefs, so where can the diversity come from? [/quotesright]

Have you, the Business Owner, created an environment where people are free to share their thoughts and ideas? Or, do you and your managers have a bias toward the workforce? Are your employees merely the cogs powering your organizational process to get your product or service out the door?

Change Your Thinking About Diversity to Change Your Results

[quotes]Guess what? Those workers are your ticket to innovation through diversity of thought.[/quotes] What if you were to ask a couple of people to switch roles for a few of days or a week? Would they be as productive as the original employee? Not likely!

How many ideas do you think would be generated to improve or eliminate processes if you did it anyway? How engaged would your workers become if you followed through and implemented some of their ideas? What could you achieve by taking the risk of a couple of days compared to the fresh points of view and ideas that you’d gain? [quotesright]What is the risk if you do nothing? [/quotesright]

Switching roles may be a bit extreme, but I think you get the point.

The Payoff

As a smaller company, you can be agile and innovative at speeds the big corporations cannot. [quotesright]It comes down to your ability to eliminate the biases you have in your business, people, customers, and yourself. [/quotesright]

You may not be diverse according to metrics used today, however, as you create a culture of open, trusting communication, the diversity of thought will thrive, and you will outperform your peers!

- by Coach Brad Herda