Diversity

bookAn A-Z Introduction to Ethic’onomics
(excerpts from the highly acclaimed first book from Philip A Birch, ‘An A-Z Introduction to Ethic’onomics; principles and practices of ethical business for the 21st century’.)

Each month the 3rdi magazine has been provided with exclusive rights to issue 1 topic from this book which, in it’s entirety, contains over 100 principles and practices for the enlightened thinkers, ethical leaders, business pioneers and change agents.

As perfectly captioned by the late, great social campaigner, MP and peer, the Rt Hon. Lord Ashley,
“I think it is a splendid piece of work and deserves high praise not just because of the way it is written but also because it tackles an old subject in a fresh way. All too often the moral case goes by the board but it may well be that you have started a new way of approaching the dry subject of economics.”

I thought that this was the only topic I could include this month as it was the driving force behind the construction of this our magazine in the first place. We have been promoting, defending and generally dispersing our message of and commitment to diversity in all walks of life for many years and so reminding you, and us, of what is, why it matters and, how you can benefit from it within your own work and life, seems to me to be holistically perfect – the completion of a cycle, so to speak.

The D Word
Diversity

Definitions
the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness
variety; multiformity

Diversity has become something of a business buzzword and as such has attracted attention, created policies and guidelines and even established organisations specialised in promoting its inherent virtues. At the highest level this is a little confusing because, if you simply take the definitions above at face value, then there is a simple truth. We are all different, none of us are exactly alike and variety is a simple truism. So why the big issue and how does this affect you and your business?

To quote from the National Centre For Diversity:
“Diverse means different.  We are all different, therefore diversity includes us all.” (31)
“There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity”
Michel de Montaigne

That really should be enough said on the subject but because of the inevitable social and cultural associations attached to the term, I have included diversity in the business environment as a topic for you.
Diversity in the workplace addresses the subject from the perspective that in a global marketplace, a company that employs a diverse workforce, meaning both sexes, multiple age groups, varied ethnic and racial groups and such like, is better able to consider the details, demands and demographics of the market, and is thus better equipped to succeed.

As a business person this makes consummate sense because if we are only employing one specific type of resource and addressing only one specific section of the community, then our chances for expansion and growth are inherently restricted.

Typically, however, application of the principle has associated benefits and challenges.
Diversity is beneficial to both the organisation and its stakeholders (you, your customers, your shareholders, your community etc). It potentially allows for substantial benefits such as better decision making (see Decision Making) and improved problem solving by encouraging creativity and innovation. The variety of diverse inputs naturally creates a wider range of potential outputs and results. This is particularly relevant, but not exclusively so, when considering product development and marketing to different customers and market sectors. By embracing diversity in an organisation you can:

  • help link the variety of talents within the organisation
  • allow for those employees with these talents to feel needed and have a sense of belonging, which in turn increases their commitment to the company and
  • allow each of them to contribute in a unique way
  • provide your company with the ability to understand and compete in global markets.

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”
Malcolm Forbes

Companies that embrace and utilise diversity have the potential to be more successful as long as there are appropriate and inclusive methods of communication within them.

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
Anon

Diversity is not only about preventing discrimination and promoting equality but also about embracing and valuing differences and inclusion, spanning such areas as ethnicity, age, race, culture, sexual orientation, physical disability and religious belief.

We at the 3rdi have continually strived for original content as well as challenging context but I do feel that is in in this special case, appropriate to repeat a statement from earlier in my excerpt;
“Diverse means different.  We are all different, therefore diversity includes us all.”
Vive la difference !

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