It’s one of the most popular topics in the workplace. Either you have a lot of resources being put toward diversity (A policy! A program! A diversity officer!) or you think you are already diverse and want to shout it from the rooftops (Metrics! Team photos! Recruiting strategies!). And that’s great. I don’t know many people who are willing to speak out against diversity. Yes, there are some unintended consequences if not handled properly, but I think we can give organizations the benefit of the doubt in most cases.
What troubles me about diversity, though, is what we so often leave out. Let’s think for a second about what generally falls into the “diversity” arena:
- Sexual orientation
All very traditional topics, and all traits that define who we are. And all fairly easy to measure. But there are so many other things that we never really talk about, and that are a little tougher to quantify, such as:
- Work style
- Learning style
- Learning capacity
Ugly list, huh? But they sure do more to define who you are, in my opinion, than the color of your skin.
A team that represents the all the colors of the rainbow isn’t necessarily a diverse team. And a team made up of three sets of triplets could be one of the most diverse you’ve ever seen. Diversity is about finding out looking for the bet talent, figuring out how people think, work and succeed, and then putting them in a position to best utilize those skills so that everyone gets ahead.
Kinda sounds like the foundation of good management to me.