In Chicago where I live, Spring is wedging its way through hard, cold soil and into existence. While many think of the process of becoming in warm, pastel colors, the labor of creation has a momentum that demands sacrifice of its environment before delivering the fruits of its effort. Listen to classical music composer/conductor Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) to hear the phenomenon set to music![i]
Animating the seed of potential within any circle of people is similar. Bottom line: To reap the promise of the collective, to what extent are you willing to invest in a growth process that necessarily requires varying degrees of tension, friction, shifting—before a metaphorical Spring begins to show itself in the renewed health, agility and vibrancy of your organization? At a macro level, “growing in diversity” means cultivating progressively authentic relationships between people who are currently—and will become—a part of your circle of influence. Whether or not you experience the differences that you and others represent as your authentic selves, they are very much alive.
Think of “growing diversity” as an exercise in managing change. Such growth is simply one brand of change management. And, increasing your skills-based capacity to change in any way for the better makes you more ripe and ready to endeavor in diversity toward an environment where the whole of people are welcomed as they work together to reach common goals. The more adeptly we are able to adapt to the world around us as it is—and as it evolves—the more we equip ourselves for growth that changes us and change that “grows” us.
Whether your day-to-day environment is diverse in ways seen or unseen, let’s agree on some ground rules:
Look around you. Are you surrounded by a metaphorical Spring in your day-to-day environment? Envision how that ecosystem looks, feels and sounds by considering a few of the following questions as they pertain to your context:
Manifest your profit, purpose or any other bottom line by establishing strategies, structures and opportunities for people to develop bona fide relationships—incrementally and over time. In the process, expect some growing pains—before and even as—your organizational culture progressively takes on a fresh vitality that attracts new faces and voices to your circle of influence. It’s the sustained quality of collaboration between people who are open to difference that grows your diversity on a perennial basis. Get growing!
[i] My own ears first heard the piece as a cacophony before being attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score program and gaining a true appreciation of this orchestral work.
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