My name was recently referred for consult with the President and CEO of a U.S.-based agency who is scheduled to speak with leading Human Resource professionals about her work in Talent Management and toward immigrant integration in the corporate workplace. I lay in bed last night thinking about what value add I might offer. Human capital + Diversity + the workplace seemed to me to be the basic factors for this HR audience. While context will be key to my consult, a principal message arose for me: Diversity (D) is about quality (Q) of the whole (3)[i].
Depending on how we define, welcome and act in Diversity [ii], it can yield an all-encompassing, 3-D quality to what we do, how we do it and who we become in the process.
I am not a mathematician, but I think D=Q(3) adds up as a calculation the way it does in our real world. Describing variation within the whole—and not Minorities of any kind, themselves—diversity among a group is a strategic advantage because it, a) creates a formula that can be utilized to elevate how a group thinks, works and innovates; b) adds the potential of productive differentiation to the resource of people power; and when seen, valued and leveraged, c) creates new possibilities for the dynamic of the group and their work product. Depending on how we define, welcome and act in Diversity[ii], it can yield an all-encompassing, 3-D (three-dimensional) quality to what we do, how we do it and who we become in the process.
Perhaps you’ve heard those conversations. The ones where the term “Diversity” is the association that comes to mind when talking about the workplace value of people who are more closely associated their ethnicity, (non-English) home language, race, sexuality, physical abilities, etc.—than the predominant culture[iii] of the employee pool. In other words, diversity itself is mistakenlyidentified as those people who are more pigmented, linguistically-skilled and/or otherwise traditionally marginalized portions of our population—in relation to the “everyday” employee. How can we call out this limiting inaccuracy when we hear or see it? As a word, “diversity” is about variation within the whole; as a concept, “Diversity” is about the benefit of the whole group that is directly proportional to the way that diversity is valued.
So, I share with you—and perhaps with this potential client—the approach of collaborating on the needs, and developing the strengths of, the whole. Any group already represents (in/visible) diversity. What differently diverse group dynamic may positively and industriously influence your professional community? It’s areas of opportunity for strategic learning and growth? It’s latent potential to become more? Talent[iv] is developed in the synergy among people. Beyond the potential of homogenous groups, Talent brought together in more heterogeneous groups offers a spectrum of resource not before possible.
What are your thoughts on how we reach the next dimension of Diversity?
people. place. purpose.