A revealing method of uncovering people’s true values is to look at how they spend their time and money.
The first five questions of the quiz reveal companies’ values as expressed by the people in which they invest time and money. Today, diversity often focuses on
Do you know that merely a decade ago, leaders spoke of functional diversity and collaboration: how to get Operations to cooperate with Marketing? We have come a long way. In today’s knowledge economy teams readily coordinate across functional areas. Clients even join in with marketing and engineers on innovation. Engineers and factory workers team up for manufacturing process improvements.
These first steps in diversity have proven their effectiveness. There is hunger for more.
Team Relations in the Day-to-Day
The next series of questions explore habits with your team and manager. As a leader, one seeks habits that feed engagement, creativity, and innovation. Are your team habits helping you reach those goals…or might they lean towards dis-engagement, closed-minded, and repeat performance?!
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
– Samuel Smiles
Assumptions – Questions 6 & 7
Every human being relies on pre-suppositions. They free our brain up to focus on more complex problem-solving.
Diverse populations have different assumptions. In working with Asians, I learned that “yes” means, “Yes, I heard you” rather than, “Yes, I agree with you.” Each interpretation leads to a very different outcome!
In corporate cultures that welcome diversity managers clearly express expectations and check that they are understood.
A young American client working with a consulting firm in Paris is navigating cultural, functional, and age diversity. Even though he benefits from a one-on-one performance review after every project, he admits, “It is work to interpret my manager’s expectations. Feedback is so nuanced and much remains unsaid.”
He devised a plan to clarify expectations:
“Every week, I e-mail my manager a list of my priorities. He sends it back with his adjustments. Invariably they differ. This way I get his clear expectations in writing.”
Additionally, at the beginning of every new project, he meets with his manager to present his learning goals.
Clarifying expectations goes both ways: managers too benefit from knowing their team member’s seek.
Team Meetings – Question 8
Practice makes prepared.
The more we work with someone, the better prepared we are to build on their uniqueness. Frequency of meeting keeps momentum flowing. Getting together with a learning mindset favors diversity even more.
You and I and every human make decisions based on stereotypes. Both consciously and without realizing it. These unconscious biases limit our openness to diversity and our performance at work. Starbucks recently closed 8,000 of its US stores to train employees on Inclusive Communication and on building strategies to uncover and counter these latent prejudices.
We can also stereotype our colleagues and open or close our ears accordingly. He’s the one who always talks about money. She brings up the people-issues.
Casual exchanges, such as lunch or team sports, in addition to formal team meetings further facilitate embracing differences.
Agenda & Project Initiatives – Questions 9 & 10
Effective meetings have a learning objective.
To discover the advancement of a project
To learn who will do what and when
To understand budget implications
People learn differently, and folk of diverse ages, cultures, genders, and heritages receive and digest insights in their own manner.
When building the agenda and initiating projects is shared among colleagues, the entire team focuses on learning. Diversity thrives in a growth setting.
What Teams Fear – Question 11
“The existence of a leader’s power is made visible only through its use. The more frequently it is used the stronger will be the group members’ fear of their leader.” – Dr. Thomas Gordon, psychologist
Fear reduces both the flow and quality of the information that reaches the manager. Fear and trust lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, and diversity functions in a culture of trust.
How Teams Rejoice – Question 12
“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge, musician
Diversity-friendliness is about reducing the distance between people. Those who laugh WITH (not at) others grow closer.
My mantra: To laugh at myself. In the Grand Scheme of Life, many of my frustration (and attempts to inspire fear in others!) will look quite ridiculous tomorrow.
In conclusion, we create diversity-friendly habits:
Employment habits: to hire or work with people different from themselves
Work habits: to meet regularly, connect personally, and delegate initiatives
Emotional habits: to build leadership without powerplay and to spread good humor
Which of these habits do you want to develop in your organization? Tell us in the comments. And discover the workshops that help you do so.