Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

mix-administrator's picture


Diversity is not only essential for the survival of a species it is also a prerequisite for long-term corporate viability. Organizations that don’t embrace and exploit a diversity of experiences, values, and capabilities will be unable to generate a rich variety of ideas, options, and experiments—the essential ingredients of strategic renewal. Future management systems must value diversity, disagreement, and divergence at least as highly as they do conformance, consensus, and cohe­sion.

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marc-west's picture

Jamie, what I am about to say its all made up!

Diversity doesnt mean lack of alignment, in fact its the opposite. Diverse comes about because of awareness, and I am not referring to racial diversity.

So if we are not aligned its because we dont have the full awareness to understand each others point of view, if we both had and awareness as to the difference then we would be aligned.

For example a Polorized mind is on that has very few choices hence awareness...

Abraham Lincoln once said if I give you a Dollar and you give me a Dollar we both have 1 Dollar, but if I give you and idea and you give me an idea we both have two ideas.

Lets use another metaphor, if we were to travel back 65,000 years and met our predecessors cavemen camped in 50 locations around the world all sitting at their fire sides, chewing on their antilope and gum leaves.... they would be no more diverse from each other because they dont have differences of opinions, ideals, and awareness. Its awareness of different epistomologies and meaning that create diversity, this is a great thing, it just depends on how we hold our beliefs of what we beleive to be true, hence with awareness we start to see that a belief is simply a belief.

The word believe derives from Germanic Lieve meaning to be gentle with your truth.

marc-west's picture

At the core of diversity is the diversity of our psychology, a need for the integration of all our fractured parts, whether race, religion, politics, social, ethnic, ego they are all epistomological reflections of the fractured parts of the ego and ethic ego.

peter-cheese's picture

Diversity is an important factor for several reasons. Diversity is the source of innovation - different experiences, different backgrounds, different skills, coming together to think of new ways to solve old problems. Secondly, diversity reflects the communities and societies in which every business works, so engaging and working with a more diverse workforce vs just continuing to recruit people that look and think like us, will help create organisations that are better mirrors of the communities they serve. We need also to recognise that diversity is not just the traditional measures of race or gender, but is everything that's different - generation, background, educational attainment etc. The challenge for us is then to ensure that we are aligning this more diverse workforce, and that begins with a shared sense of purpose and values, as well as amongst other things a better adaptation of talent management practices that can accommodate the diverse nature, aspirations, and needs of a more diverse workforce.

I think this could be dangerous idea... too much diversity and you won't get any alignment. The members of the organisation have to, roughly, have a shared idea about what they want to do. What would be the binding factors for an African Nuclear Physicist, a Australian bushman and a coal miner from Yorkshire be? That’s a diverse group but I am not sure what organization it’d make.

You do say, however, that diversity has to be matched by conformity. I agree that some balancing act is needed.

frederic-jleconte's picture

Neutrinos monitoring can be a binder for your 3 remote and distant individuals.
African physicist is likely an afficionado of such 21st century particles treasure hunting.
Australian bushman is bombarded with the very same and could soon participate to a new facility building dedicated to the same hunt on his land.
Coal miner may help to dig a new hole to host thousands of sensors.
Matter, soil, land, as long as their company or community mission would be energy and resources.
Questioning non-obvious binding factors is a good and useful attitude.
Beware it is also very smart and efficient way to jump start adaptation and innovation.It could work pretty well.

Perhaps we need to focus less on labels - "Diversity" and embrace the rich talent within our workplaces. Too often labels put obstacles in the way! By driving an engagement agenda, organisations can open the way to new and better ways of working by listening and adapting work processes. More importantly however appropriate people policies should be an enabler to bring out the best in everyone regardless of background or gender.

mugil-manivannan's picture

Yes, Diversity is the hard hurdle for adaptibility for any kind of Organization to face!