By 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.
- Avoid assumptions. People aren’t better because they graduated from your (or your people’s) alma mater or come from your hometown/state.
- 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.
- Listen. Not to what the words mean to you, but what the words mean to the person speaking.
- 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.
- 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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