I’m passionate about bringing diversity to leadership. When the senior leadership team doesn’t reflect the diverse viewpoints, experiences and cultural richness that composes the lower levels in an organization, everyone loses. But what is diversity? It’s more than just ethnicity. Diversity includes viewpoint, experience, cultures, gender and age.
Here’s why I believe diversity is so important. Marcus Buckingham says that teams don’t need individuals to melt and become less like themselves; teams need individuals to bring their strengths to the table and offer them for the use of the team. The same applies to diversity. As we’re fond of saying around Wycliffe, to be truly diverse you need to look like a salad, not a stew. Diversity is a combination of unique individuals tossed together. But the fact is that over time, we begin to melt away as we influence each other. That’s good, because we all become more rich. But it’s also bad, because we all start sounding like each other over time.
When an organization or leadership team is pursuing diversity, one factor to keep in mind is longevity. Put simply, diversity fades. And it fades at different rates. While gender and ethnic diversity don’t change, time erodes cultural perspective. Few alternative viewpoints stand up consistently to groupthink. The longer a voice is removed from its roots, the softer it eventually becomes.
To return to the analogy, potatos start tasting like carrots, and carrots like beef.