How do we Achieve Unity through Diversity?
Have you ever considered what is meant when we say there is Diversity within Unity? According to Wikipedia, it is used as an expression of harmony and unity between dissimilar individuals or groups. It is a concept of “unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation”. It shifts the focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions. The idea and related phrases are very old and date back to ancient times in both Western and Eastern Old-World cultures. A more general representation of this concept might be the 50 individual, unique states that together comprise the United States of America. From a thinking standpoint, we might describe it as Malcolm Forbes did in this quote:There is a natural tension in the idea, but we can realize this as we begin to appreciate, not just tolerate, the differences in people and the many ways we think. This is what we have discovered through the HBDI and it’s mental diversity framework. The model below is used as a guide to make sure we are remembering all types of thinking in our approach to people, projects, innovations or problem solving. We know that it is more challenging to interact with people who think differently from us and even more difficult to incorporate all types of thinking on a team, but we do know – if well managed – more effective or even breakthrough results can be realized.
Key Takeaway: As many have said, there is no strength without unity. This is a key cultural challenge, but how can we as leaders bring this to our organizations? A 2016 Forbes article entitled Diversity Is Required To Make A Company Strong, But Unity Is Required To Make A Company Successful discusses the environment that needs to be fostered. More specifically we must embrace attitudes of tolerance and the desire to learn from other’s points of view as well as an appreciation for all our differences.