When we focus on diversity often, we end up highlighting what’s different between us more than celebrating the diverse perspectives that come through that diversity.
Each one of us approaches diversity through our own cultural lens and experience. A way that’s helped is through the cultural acclimatization sessions. These interactive sessions help people to share about their cultural experiences and learnings and in turn become helpful knowledge for people running cross-functional diverse teams.
Learning about the differences is helpful in many ways. Such as punctuality. Keeping time on the dot is valued greatly by some. Whereas in other cultural setting being 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late is still being punctual. So, when you understand this, you’re able to see the perspective through the lens of the other person’s cultural make up. What this does is create an acceptance space to take on board other points of views and perspectives.
A simple act of wishing someone in their language creates a bridge of familiarity. As leader having self-awareness and humility helps in creating space for acceptance of diversity. One thing that helps in this is undertaking training in recognizing unconscious bias.
When we accept diversity, it helps business growth. Having the same lens or understanding leads to discovering common areas which leads to arriving at consensus easily. Most importantly senior leadership needs to be seen walking the talk i.e., showing acceptance of diversity through inclusiveness.
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