With the most varied freshman representatives ever to represent our country in the House. It is perhaps a good time to pause and reflect anew on the word that is often used, abused, and misunderstood at times like these—“diversity.” It is usually either touted or rebuffed, but rarely understood for its multifaceted beauty and ability to be a game-changer in our ever-competitive landscape. For many, the issue of diversity is often understood through legal- and policy-related channels in organizations. It is mandated in training procedures and, at best, tolerated and, at worst, abused.
But what if we re-conceptualize what we think we know about the concept? What if we saw it as a string of endless opportunity, an untapped resource hidden right in plain sight? What if we were willing to explore the nuances in our own behavior that might mitigate the successes of diversity to any professional career and/or business?
For the global leader of tomorrow, answering these questions is simply a must.
In our Global Community Engagement program, we dedicate an entire course, Diversity and Organizational Structure, to thinking about these issues. In this course, we encourage our students to ask questions that will challenge preconceived ideas about diversity (and equality). They are asked to critique the events of their real-world experience every day through the lens of this classroom incubator and, hopefully, they will emerge motivated and encouraged to make the world in which we live a better place.
Yes, we all easily say that diversity matters, but investing in it to bring out all the opportunities it offers is not just a political exercise – it may just be the best decision you can make in your professional career.
About the Author: Darryl Meekins (Ph.D., North-West University) is an instructor for the Global Community Engagement program who currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn more the global prospective Darryl brings to the classroom.