There’s nothing like a springtime walk to clear your mind and refresh your spirit. Hiking along a favorite trail is a thrill to the senses – wherever you are, the setting has its own visual beauty, scents and sounds. You might see rolling green hills or jagged peaks. You might smell sweet wildflowers or damp earth. And you might hear the cheery sounds of songbirds in thickets or the lonely cries of hawks circling above. Desert or forest, beach or backwoods, it’s magical just to be outdoors and take it all in!
And if you think about it for a minute, it’s also one of the most vivid examples of the strength of diversity. The variety of scenery, scents and sounds all contribute to the overall beauty. Each element plays a role in completing the larger picture. Those jagged peaks in the background are spectacular, but your easy walk might not be quite so relaxing if you there were no water, trees or fresh grass, and you needed pitons to navigate. Likewise, if there were only one species of bird, the sounds along the way could get a little monotonous. We take for granted that trees aren’t the only thing that makes an evergreen forest so inviting – it’s also lush undergrowth, rushing streams and the wildlife that thrives in such an environment. It’s an ecosystem that depends on diversity for its health and beauty. The same principles apply at work. The greater the breadth of your staff’s experience and personal histories, the broader your team’s creativity will be. As it turns out, we can learn a lot from nature!
So think about these challenges this week:
1. Take a walk and take note of how many different components there are to
the setting you’re in. How many distinct birdsongs do you hear? How
many different varieties of trees or bushes can you identify? How varied is
the terrain – is it flat? Steep? What’s underfoot? Rocks? Grass? Mud?
Now ask yourself this: Would the walk be as pleasant if any of those
things weren’t present?
2. Now apply the same strategy to your workplace. Take note of the
backgrounds of your coworkers and think about the specific qualities and
strengths each brings to your office.
Would your team be as strong as it is with fewer distinctive voices and
experiences? Could it be stronger if it were even more diverse?