There is a significant and growing body of research which establishes the fact that diversity is a material benefit to an organization and is the driver behind innovation, creativity and increased ROI. However because it is also a concept which can create internal conflict, stress and a feeling of “discomfort” among teams – it’s creation and implementation within the organization is not always realized.
This discomfort or unease experienced with diversity its implementation and how it impacts people, has its own unintended benefits that organizations should harness to create collaborative, creative and open work spaces.
What are the benefits of embracing being uncomfortable vis-a-vis diversity related programs/initiatives?
- Engagement: An initiative that makes people uncomfortable is indicative that they are engaging with it at some level. They are no longer in their safe ‘bubble’. This process if facilitated can create a more meaningful interaction with teams and in turn the values and mission of the organization.
- Encourages creativity: Enabling people to identify their concerns and then finding innovative solutions to address them, leads to seeking and discovering new ways of tackling significant issues.
- Enables resiliency: Navigating difficult conversations around diversity and finding a way to still work together as a team, leads to a resilient team dynamic that can withstand turbulence.
Finding a way to negotiate concepts that are outside the comfort zone is always a challenge at an individual level and more so at scale within an organization. But accepting that challenge and pivoting it towards success, even if it is in small increments, is the only way forward.