In my last blog where I discussed the shift of diversity to being a key strategic initiative for competing successfully in today’s fast-paced global economy (link here to that blog), I promised to next write about the various types of diversity. The diversity field itself is becoming increasingly diverse!
Twenty years ago in the United States (and even in some enterprises today) diversity meant gender and race. And often race only extended to white and black. The first expansion was to include sexual orientation (which first meant gay men and lesbians, and then itself was expanded to include bisexuals and transgender people) and people with disabilities.
But over the past decade and even now, the diversity field has been expanding and the new areas are even more applicable outside the United States since they address global phenomena. Some of these new areas (for some of these have I short new videos you can watch) include:
• Generational Diversity. For the first time we now have four generations of people in the workplace. The Millennials are now graduating from college and entering the workplace, and at the same time people in their 60s and 70s are staying on the job for various reasons, including financial security and wanting to stay mentally vibrant and challenged. The four generations each view work and relationships very differently, and good managers and team members will understand this and manage to this diversity. View my 2.5 minute video on Generational Diversity.
• Cultural Diversity. This refers to the growing cross-cultural and cross-national teams now working in our enterprises. With the explosion of internet technology, sales capabilities and supply chains have now become global. Even first level departments often have people located in multiple countries and more people are moving across boundaries and entering the workplace away from where they were born. View my 1 minute video on Cultural Diversity.
• Diversity of Thought – a brand new emerging area. Companies are now looking beyond diversity of appearance and to diversity in ways of thinking. When companies open themselves to diverse approaches to business problems and developing solutions, often a blended solution which includes different ideas results in a much stronger answer. When an enterprise is comprised of leaders who all think exactly alike, there is a huge potential for missing entire market segments and innovative products and offerings. Embracing diversity of thought includes listening to others and keeping an open mind to creativity and innovation.
For your own enterprise, consider how you can leverage these different areas of diversity to win in your marketplace.