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What is Diversity of Thought, and How Do You Implement It?
People think diversity only comes in terms of the looks of an individual or the varied social and economic background, but real diversity is in terms of the thought process of an individual or the different perspectives an individual carry. In psychology, it is explained that perspective is the way our business captures unlimited information and turns it into something that we can understand as per our repository. This diversity of thought is the real diversity that companies need.
In this article, we will be diving deep into the concept of diversity of thought, how to implement it in business world so that they can benefit from it, and the ideal model for implementing diversity of thought.
Ways to Implement Diversity of Thinking
Break Down the Task for Different Teams
For completing a project or a task, the team would require help from different functional teams. The sense that if the company has to deliver a product, let's say an application, it will need the expertise of the finance team regarding the cost and budget of the product. It will need the technology team or the developers to develop the product; it will require input from the marketing and sales teams to get the project; it will require the help of the resource management or human resources team to get the manpower the project requires; and others.
Hence, functional teams consisting of team members from various departments are required to deliver the project. When these members come from diverse backgrounds, or through process, they ensure that they make the product lucrative for people from different walks of life.
Assess the Thinking Styles of Different Individuals
While hiring employees for the organization, the company can ensure that they hire people who carry different perspectives in the sense that the company can share forms at the time of hiring and then hire people who dare to think differently than the crowd. These results can also be further used by the company for allocating members in the future to other teams. Individuals can have a creative thinking style, an assertive thinking style, a bureaucratic thinking style, a money-minded thinking style, and many other styles.
Use Diverse Thinking Techniques and Ask Questions
When you see that irrespective of your continuous efforts, teams are not being able to come up with innovative solutions, it is time for you to ask them, "What would be the next best solution? Or you can even ask them to consider this problem from four different perspectives regarding facts and analysis and then answer questions like what the human element of the solution is, what the big idea is in each case, and what the milestone is that needs to be achieved. This will force the team to stretch themselves, think, and innovate.
Generally, the team comes up with mundane solutions too quickly because there is no diversity of thinking in the organization, and when they answer questions like these, they have to stretch themselves, innovate, and brainstorm.
Encourage Everyone to Speak Up
No matter how good the assessments are or the efforts of the teams to onboard employees with diverse thoughts, they will go down the drain if the employees do not feel comfortable speaking up. Not everyone has an assertive style or an outgoing nature, and hence it is critical for leaders to encourage everyone to speak up.
Employees should feel safe so that they can share their ideas and thoughts, and it is the leader's and team's duty to not ridicule anything. Use that as a stepping stone to build better ideas. In the event that diverse thinking conflicts are supposed to happen again, it is the duty of the leader to act as a mediator to ensure that the conversation is going in the right direction and no one feels cornered out of the discussion.
Model To Include Thought Diversity At Work
It is critical for businesses to ensure that there is thought diversity at work, and a simple way in which the company can do that is:
See the entire person − It is critical for the company to ensure that when an employee comes to the organization, they are bringing their entire selves to the company. The company needs the whole person to ensure that there is a diversity of thinking in the business and not just the insecure and hollow individual. If the company fails in doing this, the employees will not feel safe in the work environment and will not be able to express themselves.
Lead through tension − Diversity of thought is going to bring tension and conflicts. When employees are confronted with some breakthrough or a new way of doing things, there is always resistance, and again, it is the duty of the leader to guide them through it.
Ensure that there is a level playing field − It is the duty of the leader and the company to ensure that every employee feels that they are treated fairly and that there is a seat for them in the discussion. Every employee should feel included.
Confront stereotypes − Instead of just sitting back with the fear of making things uncomfortable, it is crucial for companies to confront, challenge, and push back against the stereotype.
Bring bias to the front − Instead of just beating around the bush, ask the team questions on how we can do this and what we do about it. Confront the various biases that an employee might face or is facing on their face and ask for solutions. This will start the conversation regarding bias.
Foster an environment that is open to new ideas and change − It is now in the hands of the company to create an environment in which the employees feel valued and that there is no threat if they put their ideas out in public. Feeling safe is a very critical aspect of the diversity of thought.
With the diversity of thinking, the rate of innovation increases by 20%, and the chances of a group spotting risk increase by 30%, putting the company in a much better position than its non-diverse competitors. There are no excuses left for businesses now for not including diversity of thought in their organizations. Now they are aware of how to implement the diversity of thought, what the benefits will be, and what diversity of thought is. It is not the time for business owners to capitalize on the diversity of thought in the organization and build something that is successful and super-critical for the business era.
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