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Top 3 reasons you want to be
self regulating for diversity at work

Self Regulating for diversity at work

Yes yes “Diversity” has become a bit of a corporate buzzword. I will agree with that. However, do you know why? There are reasons over and above the affirmative action or equality campaigns that actually have to do with your brain.

So here are 3 reasons why you would want to train your brain for diversity in the office:

1. Tunnel Vision

If you are not looking for differences then it is safe to say you are looking for the same. Which means your field of vision, or in this case perspective, is being narrowed down to focus areas that are in your comfort zone. Yup, and we all know that professional growth isn’t happening in that lil’ comfy cozy zone of yours.

Here’s an example:

You are looking for someone to join an important project team that you were tasked with putting together. You go to the same pool of staff that you always choose from. This time, like all others before, you engage Sally because she has been there the longest. Overtime you have developed an unconscious brain bias to always choose in reference to longest tenure because you perceive that seniority equals productivity.

Now, I won’t suggest that this strategy is an epic fail as that would be unfair. I will, however, highlight some different options that could offer diversification in your decision making for the next time:

  • Look for a staff member from another division.
  • Ask some of the project team members to offer suggestions as to whom they would refer for the role.
  • Ask for volunteers to see which talent presents itself.

The point here is that diversity opens up doors to places you have never been. Whilst risk is indeed part of that journey, risk, by definition, can be both positive and negative. As leaders and managers of organizations we want to have eyes wide opened to see the opportunities ahead. In this such case above there would be opportunities for talent acquisition, staff upskilling and cost savings.

2. Groupthink

You have a loyal team that you pride yourself on. They are always there so retention is not one of your challenges. Life in your department is easy and no one rocks the boat. Everyone gets along and decision are made quickly BUT your department is constantly scoring low on innovation scorecards which is a key business driver for the company. The only thing new coming out of your department are fancier tumbleweeds. What’s happening?

Perhaps everyone in your team, including yourself, are like carbon copies of you.

For example, you want to ask for feedback on your presentation for a potential new client and you ask your 3 carbon copy staff mates ( who clearly have the same tastes, skills, and background as you) to look it over. They come back to you and say, “it’s amazing”.

Once again, no fictional ending needed. Here are some alternative, more diverse, endings if you are interested:

  • In parallel to your staff you also ask a fellow director in your department whom you’re not really too fond of. They give you some direct feedback that, even know you don’t like to hear it, actually strengthens your presentation a lot.
  • You feel you can trust the new potential client representative and ask them to have a look before you make it final. They come back with real value add points you forgot.
  • You ask someone who can be talked to about this proposal and who is totally opposite in personality to you. Perhaps even in a different function. They give you solid tips on branding and positioning which upgrade the look & feel significantly.

The phenomenon of groupthink may not look bad at first but once it is accepted and starts to build, the true danger ahead lies in bullying with a mob mentality. This can lead to serious problems at work that could always be avoided. One way I work with leadership teams to avoid groupthink is by consulting on their character strengths. In short, we offer a group strength report to reflect back just how much diversity is present in their group, or lack thereof. This simple and practical training exercise is by far the most appreciated by Sr. Leaders as they get to see for themselves what their group thinks like.

3. Hedonic Adaptation

Ahh yes, pleasure, we all seek it out. Some more than others. The tricky thing about seeking pleasure is that once we have it, we soon adapt. It is just what we do as human beings. We are master adapters. This evolutionary skillset has allowed our species greatness and it comes with a warning. Beware of the hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation, (a.k.a. The hedonic treadmill)  is when we actually start adapting to the good stuff too quickly.

For instance, you are stressed out and want to escape your work at the office. You instinctively crave some pleasurable treat so you run off to the coffee shop you frequent and order your usual chocolate croissant. This is the third croissant for you this week because it was a “bad” week at work. After eating it quickly and running back to your desk you come to the realisation that you didn’t even enjoy the pastry. You thought you would get the full rush you did when you first discovered the devilish dark chocolate buttery glazed croissants a few weeks ago. Yet it never came. Your senses, almost numb to the treat, feel sabotaged and deprived and now you return to work even more disgruntled.

Yes, this can happen to us in many ways. With desserts, with vices, with purchases, etc.… and even with relationships! Thankfully, advances in the Science of Happiness have demonstrated that varying our pleasures can slow down our master adapter skillset. This means by applying diversity to the self-care habits you employ at work, you can actually create more opportunities to savor your treats in different ways. Thus, keeping you filled with positive emotion more often and for more length of time.

Next time you reach for that croissant perhaps think of these diversified approaches:

  • Take extra time to actually enjoy the croissant by mindfully savoring every bite. Look closely at the way the pastry chef has magically molded it into perfection. Try to find the new subtle flavors within the recipe.
  • Invite a friend to have the croissant break with you. Talk together about how good it is and reminisce about past times in France where the croissants tasted similar.
  • Put down the croissant and grab a fruit. LOL. I had to mention it. Normally what we really crave when we are stressed are a break from it all and some sugar (glucose). So going for a fruit is technically meeting the same requirements. Technically 😉

If these reasons are not enough to get you training for diversity then we invite you to have a quick look at our Tips & Tricks video, “How to increase diversity at work”. Let us know what you think about diversity and training for it at work. It is a huge conversation to unpack so feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Enough about me. What do you think of me and my perspectives? Lol.😉Please, let me know your feedback or questions by using the comments on our social media channel of your choice. 

Much love, light and self regulation.

Jason

Always be Self Regulating

Here's an Old Video on How to Increase Diversity at Work.

Time passes but many of the positive practices that work well for us stand the test of time. Watch this oldie and pick up a few more diversity tips.