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5 guiding points to hiring and managing diversity

by Miki Saxon

diversity.jpgBy 2010 one in every three workers in the US labor force will be people of color.

True diversity isn’t just diversity of race, gender, creed and country, but what I call the new diversity—all those plus diversity of thought.

Think about it, if a manager really works at it she can create a rainbow colored group who all think the same way—it’s far more difficult to put together a group of totally diverse thinkers.

Managers tend to hire in their comfort zone, but more and more that refers to how people think, rather than how they look.

Here are 5 guiding points in hiring and managing diversity.

  1. Avoid assumptions. People aren’t better because they graduated from your (or your people’s) alma mater or come from your hometown/state.
  2. Know your visual prejudices. Everybody has them (one of mine is dirty-looking, stringy hair), because you can’t hear past them if you’re not aware of them.
  3. Listen. Not to what the words mean to you, but what the words mean to the person speaking.
  4. Be open to the radical. Don’t shut down because an idea is off the wall at even the third look and never dismiss the whole if some part can be used.
  5. Be open to alternative paths. If your people achieve what they should it doesn’t matter that they did it in a way that never would have crossed your mind.

Finally, remember that if you’re totally comfortable, with nary a twinge to ripple your mental lake, your group is probably lacking in diversity.

How do you hire and manage diversity?

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