How to Create Thought Diversity in your Organization

Diversity of Thought addresses the blind spots in business by seeking to introduce a broad spectrum of perspectives to the decision-making process. 

In a recent content piece, we shared insight from OPEX 2020: Business Transformation World Summit speakers Erika Westbay (Director of Process Excellence at Best Friends Animal Society) and Ed Jervis (Change and Culture Lead at Serco). Together, they demonstrated the value of creating an environment where Diversity of Thought can thrive and outlined how nurturing a culture of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is a prerequisite for doing so. Here, we share actionable steps to making Diversity of Thought a reality in your own organization.

Understand the Current State

This is about defining that culture looks like across your business and plays to an OE mind-set: If you don’t understand what your current D&I environment looks like and you don’t have the data to understand the representation across the nine particular characteristics, you're not going to get a clear view of where you currently are. 

Listen to Your People

When you look at that baseline data across your business and understand what demographics you have and don’t have, it’s really important that you understand what their lived experience is. We know from understanding our customers, that we can’t ever really put ourselves in the shoes of anybody else. So, an organization needs to dig under the surface and hear from the people who work there to gain a true, actionable deep understanding.

Engage Senior Leadership

You can get grassroots buy-in, momentum and movement from your people, but ultimately the key for success and moving the scale is to ensure a very clear and authentic vision from senior leadership expressing their opinion on these issues, their support for it and their expectations on what the business should look like are communicated and received by people across the business.

Create Diverse Teams

Once you have created a diverse and inclusive environment that provides the confidence for people to share their true selves and opinions, build teams that are based around differences, not commonalities. Invite people at different levels of the organization to join discussions to ensure a diverse range of perspectives are represented. It may also prove useful to gather people from different departments who have no involvement with the problem alongside people who do in order to bring a fresh perspective to stale problems.

Facilitate Independent Thought

Gather individual feedback prior to group meetings in order to prevent group thinking and bring out individual points of view without the influence of others. During the meeting, ensure the most senior person does not express their views first as this often quells people’s willingness to express their own alternative point of view.

Learn more about how Erika Westbay (Director of Process Excellence at Best Friends Animal Society) and Ed Jervis (Change and Culture Lead at Serco) are working to make Diversity of Thought a reality in their organization in this exclusive content piece, or hear from them in person at OPEX Week World Summit 2020. To find out more about this opportunity, explore the event agenda here.