In order to use the value of diversity, an inclusive (work) culture is needed. Using the eight guidelines for creating an inclusive culture, the promise of diversity (creativity, innovation, quality) can be realized.
Guideline 1: Don’t Clone, Guideline 2: Challenge Your Truth, Guideline 3: Enjoy the Free Fall of Not Knowing, Guideline 4: Think Both/And, Guideline 5: Maximizing Wisdom, Guideline 6: Fix Fault Lines, Guideline 7: Match Cultural Rhythm Worlds
To create inclusive cultures, people need to work together and connect through their differences. This can be differences of all kinds; gender, age, educational background, ethnic, religious, cultural, etc. The greater the diversity, the greater the number of communication styles and cultural backgrounds. And as we have seen in the previous guideline, these differences can lead to destructive fault lines, causing a greater challenge to really understand each other. On the other hand, there is also a chance for greater potential shared wisdom. This guideline is about how people can find attunement with each other in order to minimize misunderstandings and to maximize opportunities.
There are many ways to view our communication differences. There are many models and theories that describe our communication differences and they help us understand our communication, but mainly on a cognitive level. Besides this rational understanding, it is very valuable to connect on a more emotional level to all our differences in the world. To connect through our differences, we need to be able to talk about this.
In my work with international teams and leaders, I have been searching for a language that is non-judgmental – one that gives us energy, and that we can all understand. I believe this language is music. When we think about our diversity in communication styles in terms of different rhythms, it becomes easier to tune into each other. To orchestrate and create a inclusive meetings in which all voices are heard and all rhythms utilized. The main question we should ask ourselves is: How can we create a rhythm with which we can all tune in, to reach good communication and effective teamwork?
Or we could also ask: How can we dance together without stepping on each other’s toes?
The above movie clip is an excerpt from a keynote speech I gave about diversity and cultural rhythm worlds at a conference in the summer of 2012. In this case, people get up and actually move in different ways to the different rhythms. For some people, this is way out of comfort zone. I have also had other audiences exploring the rhythms in a more reflective way. Contact me if you would like to know more or book a presentation or keynote.