Virtually every business leader today is pressed to consider Diversity & Inclusion in their organizations. How that’s defined will dramatically inform how it’s implemented and will either enhance or detract from an organization’s culture.

There is a great value for leaders, teams, organizations, and for employees to have significant diversity in the workplace. Diversity of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and of ways of thinking can improve outcomes. And it’s generally true that diversity of race, gender, etc. does bring varying perspectives… which is healthy for an organization.

However, when diversity is only about counting noses based on externally visible characteristics, it ignores the benefit that comes from diversity of thought, perspectives, and ideas.

Two people that are similar in age, both come from a traditional family structure, both from similar urban neighborhoods, both of the same religion, both raised with similar values, both with similar education, however, of different races… don’t really add significant diversity in the function of an organization.

Conversely, two people that are both of the same race, however, one comes from an urban upbringing and one rural, one is significantly older than the other, one had a single parent and the other from a traditional family structure, one with a primary education and one with an advanced degree you can benefit from significant diversity in ideas, perspectives and ways of thinking.

While diversity of thought adds great value, for any team to thrive, they must also have effective working relationships. The most productive relationships come from a sense of shared values and agendas.

Two people may appreciate each other, however, if they each have different desired outcomes of their work or opposing values around their work, they will not accomplish nearly as much.

Diversity of values is a recipe for disaster.

People that share similar values can accomplish greater goals together. Conversely, teams where some value the integrity of the process, while others believe that the ends justify the means will face consistent conflict and distrust, hampering outcomes.

There are many more aspects of “values” to explore, and will be fleshed out further in future articles.

Unfortunately, the majority of the attention paid to diversity in today’s corporate culture focuses primarily on outward characteristics and misses the focus on necessary commonalities for the organization to thrive.

Diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas can bring great value to an organization.
Diversity of agendas, values, and relationship building can create toxic and low performing teams.

HansenBack focuses on the relationship formation of an organization and a candidate through the lens of shared values. An approach that has produced a 97% retention rate compared to the 60% industry average, and has elevated business results in the process.