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Diversity … Do we really want it ?



Our recent trip to Cambodia made us realise that the whole world only talks of “diversity” and how wonderful it is to have diverse cultures, customs and people. We actually crave for “similarity”.

Just think of the genocides that have happened in the concentration camps and during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, both in a way were killings done to create a “similar” society, equal in all aspects. From genocide to the American dream …. The Indian caste system, all negate our statements about diversity being good.

It’s so difficult for diversity to be implemented in our offices. We may get the demographic diversity right – 40 to 50% women and 50 to 60% men. Numbers are easy, but do you really value diversity ? How often do you let a different thought take shape and allow it’s implementation – you mandate innovation 🙂 and mandates kill creativity faster than bullets kill human beings ! How do you deal with a completely different style of leading – by sidelining the leader probably. It’s difficult to accept a different style because it’s new and you aren’t sure if it works – diversity can wait.

One size does not fit all but we try so hard to make it fit.. It’s so much easier. Wouldn’t it be easier to rate everyone the same .. No need to differentiate and no need to have the difficult conversations. It’s discrimination against diversity. We want a single language for business, we want a similar accounting system across the world, even the same breakfast cereal :):). Sometimes I wonder why Kellogg’s spent twenty years changing the Japanese breakfast menu with their unhealthy product…. Every region in the world has food that fit the climatic conditions there. Cereals are dead food that don’t work anywhere. But we want the entire world to eat cereals for breakfast, diversity ? Not even in the food.

We want everyone to dress similarly, what is considered fashionable in Europe is considered fashionable in India and our divas walk the red carpet in gowns and not in a sari .. The quintessential Indian woman’s attire, that is worn differently in every state and is made of a different fabric in every state, so much diversity, but no we won’t wear that because we don’t want to be diverse.

We really need to think deep and hard what diversity truly means to us and whether we value it. It’s not easy to accept differences, a variety of ideas and people that are not “like us”, but remember they also belong to the human race and have similar feelings for you :). Diversity will remain, because you and I didn’t create the world, can we begin to accept it ? Diversity in a subtle way also tells us, the creator created abundance and if we don’t accept the diversity we also don’t accept abundance ….

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Categories: Corporate musingsTags: , , , ,

2 comments

  1. It’s going back to the basics.. Earlier it was similarity, once the threshold was crossed, Industry needed something new and moved towards diversity.. Post the rendezvous with diversity business learn’t that unity is what keeps things simpler… Ditto with Software Solutions – First it was mainframe.. Cost and complex environment led to client / servers… then the challenges in client/server led again back to centralized servers…. and now mega centralized servers aka cloud :)… Its just a matter of evolution and also that industry need something buzzword. .some concept .. to keep it going.. Perhaps only minor refinements were required rather than complete evolution and devolution ..

  2. Well written Bindu, actually thought provoking and yes, easily identifiable as well.
    The quest for diversity is more of a rhetoric.

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