Five simple ways to tap into the genius of diversity

By Diana Cordova, Business Development and Marketing Director

Diversity simply refers to difference, variety or dissimilarity.  Expressed this way and applied to the workplace, it’s hard to see diversity as anything but an advantage.  In fact, your ability to effectively connect with a broad customer base and succeed relies on the varied talents and perspective that can only be gained from diversity.

The beauty of a diverse work environment, team or network is that it lets you rely on others’ strengths, it provides alternate perspectives, and it prevents you from having to be an expert at everything.  Whether you’re a business owner, a leader responsible for team results, or an individual who works on their own, there are a lot of ways to make your best efforts even better by engaging the diversity around you.

Here are five simple ways to generate new ideas and improve projects and results by tapping into the genius of diversity:

  1. Engage experts. Build a strong committee of experts from the same field but with different industries or specializations, or cultivate relationships with several experts that you can run questions and ideas by.  Either way you have a team of experts with different perspectives that will elicit your best.
  2. Engage novices. Go to the least experienced person and solicit their opinion on a new idea or project. The ability to see things without the bias of expertise can open up new ideas and identify gaps you may have missed.
  3. Engage peers.  Sometimes the diversity you need simply comes from the person sitting next to you.  Peer reviews can be invaluable at catching things that you don’t see because you are too close to the project.  Ask others to review your work or give their opinion.
  4. Engage people outside of your workplace or field.  Maybe it’s a friend, neighbor or professional in a different field.  Their opinion is valuable because they don’t know your business.  As prospective customers, they can give you a feel for how to reach folks just like them.
  5. Engage humility.  Looking outside yourself for answers, ideas and opinions, especially if you are an expert in your field, takes humility.  Recognize that sometimes the best ideas are someone else’s.

When you think of diversity, consider the diversity of experience, expertise, style, industry and education among things that make us different and allow for new perspectives. What about the diversity of how each of us sees the world?  This is what makes for a rich conversation that leads to creativity and success. You’re likely aware that fostering diversity in the workplace is the right thing to do; beyond that, it’s one of the smartest things you can do to improve your effectiveness.

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