Monday, May 16, 2011

Increasing Productivity through Diversity

I know we have all heard it many times, but it is amazing how diversity can increase productivity.  For me, it is something that we live every day with a key executive team that ranges from age 30 to age 70.  There are certainly occasions when in our meetings it feels as if people sometimes sounds as if they are from different planets, but we have found it is well worth working through any challenges.  When we are aligned, with the different the strengths and perspectives manifest themselves in truly powerful ways.  The first step is obviously understanding those differences, and authentically acknowledging that one way of operating is not inherently better than another--probably the most challenging element as for most of us, how we do it must be superior, or we would be doing something else...right?

After acknowledging the validity of these differences, the next step becomes integrating those differences into how we operate.  For example, in our organization, the person in charge of social media is under 30, while many of the overall messages that are delivered by her come from someone over 70.   We are trying to work off of each other's strengths in each case. 

The final stage is actually where we each experience personal growth to develop within ourselves the strengths from other generations.  This is also challenging, but offers great opportunity.  For me, as someone in my 40s, I feel pulls from both Gen Y and Boomers, and myself acting sometimes as a translator in between the two.  But I truly enjoy learning from them both, and it is what keeps my work fresh and enjoyable.