Diversity has been a subject of increasing focus in today’s world. Schools and businesses aim to be more and more diverse with each passing year. The question is, why is diversity so important? Do we really need diversity?
I would argue yes. And I’d like to emphasize one way diversity helps us outsmart VUCA. One byproduct of diversity is that people with different backgrounds and experiences have different points of view and, consequently, approach situations differently. Only a few generations ago, it was quite common for people to spend their entire lives in one small area, their tasks slowly evolving independent of outside-world influence.
By surrounding ourselves with a diverse group of people, we are exposed to different ways of doing things, to different ways of thinking. We share ideas, experiences, and best practices. The amount of information that we have available to us today has never been greater in the history of mankind!
However, this adds a significant amount of complexity. And in the face of enormous complexity, we tend to rely on our own experiences, which lead us to judge the actions and behaviors of others as being “strange.”
The problem with sticking to our own way of viewing the world and trying to make others fit into our own mindset is that we miss incredible opportunities to do things differently, some of which may actually be more effective in dealing with the specific challenge that we’re currently facing.
That’s one of the most valuable byproducts of diversity, and today we have incredible opportunities to leverage it. Instead of just assuming why people act the way they do, we must reflect on the diverse experiences we’re exposed to and increase our understanding of the behaviors of others.
Only through surrounding ourselves with people who have diverse perspectives, through listening intently, and through honestly considering all options with an open mind, will we be able to truly outsmart VUCA.
To learn more about the importance of diversity and other related topics, check out my book Outsmarting V.U.C.A.