Introduction to Deep Diversity
Diversity that makes a difference
Potential benefits from diversity emerge not with superficial diversity variables, but occurs – if well managed – between people who think, act and perceive differently. I call this deep diversity. However, making a deeply diverse team work is not an automatic process.
The skills needed to make deeply diverse teams work include the practice to perceive creatively, which is the ability to recognize the tendencies and biases in our own perception. Furthermore, when working in these deep diverse teams, we need to appreciate individual and cultural differences and postpone judgement. To use all different ideas and encourage diverse perspectives, it is key that different views are not automatically labelled as wrong, but are welcomed without judgement. This requires extra investments from team members and leaders.
We tend to prefer people to be ‘just like us’ and we find people who act differently to be a bit strange at best. In order to overcome this natural resistance, deep diversity requires deep teambuilding. This process starts with understanding and recognising cultural patterns, both in yourself and in others, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
Organisations tend to confuse arguments for diversity as a goal with diversity as a means.