Embracing Diversity in Business and Life
It’s no coincidence that a synonym search for the word ‘diversity’ brings up the option ‘variety’, which we all know is the spice of life. A good mix of different people with different experiences of life can be a recipe for success in business, organizations and society.
Diversity in Business
In the business world, the old adage, “the more, the merrier’’ comes into play. A diverse range of employees from different backgrounds with different skills give businesses the edge when it comes to innovation.
No one wants to simply do things the same way they’ve been done forever, unless they are content to stay put. New ideas, fresh viewpoints and varied approaches are the way to success for any business these days where novelty sells.
Employing staff with a greater diversity across religion, race, gender and age gives you access to a broader network and market. Their insights can help you attract customers that might otherwise be immune or resistant to your current marketing policies.
Every region, culture and nationality have their own set of unspoken rules about what appeals to them, and there are often unfamiliar invisible boundaries. For example, you could be about to launch a marketing campaign that (unbeknownst to you) could be offensive or distasteful to a large sector of your target audience. By listening to the diverse opinions of people in your business, you could find ways to expand and grow your company in unforeseen ways. Likewise, you will have a wide range of different approaches to problem-solving at your disposal.
Just as it’s never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket, thereby risking failure with no backup, employing staff of only one gender or race could you leave you scrambling to outsource problem-solving that might otherwise have been identified from within.
Flexibility and fluidity are vital components of diversity that cannot be overlooked in business
Organizations outside of the business realm also have plenty of room for diversity.
Conservation stands out as an example of this. Without indigenous knowledge of the ways of the wild, this already difficult job would be even more complicated. Where would conservation be without the intrinsic tracking skills of local people, for starters?
Namibia is a shining example of how conservation can thrive and succeed by embracing local people that are usually excluded from the exercise. By working with local communities, Namibian conservation has succeeded like nowhere else on Earth. With the insights and cooperation of these people, conservationists have harnessed the power of diversity for good.
Tourism is another area where diversity is key. An intimate knowledge of the likes and dislikes of foreign tourists is essential to delivering excellent touristic experiences. By including local folk in these offerings, tourism is able to delight international travelers with unique and diverse experiences of their homeland that would otherwise remain undiscovered.
Society and Diversity
Fortunately, the bad old days of limiting diversity in healthy societies are long gone. People all around the world have learned to embrace and enjoy those who are different from themselves.
Governments have benefitted with more inclusive policies to cater to all their citizens and not just one population group. While some societies still lag behind in this regard, the seeds have been sown towards more diverse, inclusive and peaceful communities.
Diversity After Hours
Embracing diversity in your personal life makes your experiences exponentially richer. Discovering and learning about other cultures, social classes and religions fills your life with choices that you wouldn’t ordinarily have. It adds a whole new dimension to your social life.
While our brains are wired to socialize by reaching out to connect with others, it’s all too easy to go through life doing the same things, with the same people, the same way every day. But how then do you grow and broaden your outlook?
Inclusion and diversity need to become a conscious individual choice, not influenced by others. If we all began to conduct ourselves based on a desire for inclusion the impact would be felt exponentially both in our personal lives and in the corporate world. By seeking out diversity we open the doors to new interests, new possibilities, new ideas, and new ways to make a difference.
Try something different.