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Diversity enables a broader range of perspectives, beliefs and ideas to be leveraged, leading to better information gathering, problem solving and decision-making. It also aids in the attraction, retention and engagement of world-class talent. It is therefore a key imperative to improving financial performance, innovation and competitiveness, all of which are essential for organisations to thrive in hyper-competitive and disruptive markets.
When organisations plan diversity and inclusion programs, most focus on observable differences like gender, ethnicity, disability and age differences. While this is crucial to address biases and unfairness and ensure their workforce is representative of the customers they serve, it is also important for businesses to build a culture where differences in thinking and ways of working are valued and leveraged. A powerful and positive way of building a more diverse workforce is to focus on people’s unique strengths, or the underlying qualities they have that energise them and unlock their full potential.
Discovering and optimising people’s unique strengths is surprisingly counter-intuitive for many organisational cultures. Once a person is hired, many organisations still focus on a person’s weaknesses and what they do wrong rather than helping them find opportunities to play and optimise their unique personality strengths.