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Diversity Intelligence

COMMENTARY

Drawing People Towards You Through Awareness

By Paul Pelletier, LL.B, PMP

Vancouver, BC, Canada


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Todays’ project management leaders feel constant pressure to innovate and position their products, services, and teams more creatively than ever before. However, in our highly diverse workplaces, diversity intelligence is critical to success. Leaders who leverage diversity to develop, motivate and empower people to achieve extraordinary results aren’t acting randomly. By aligning diversity intelligence (DI) with leadership strategies and communication practices to ensure a truly collaborative, inclusive and engaging work environment, we can inspire our high performance teams and improve our project success.

The Impact of Workplace Diversity

The world is shrinking every day. Globalization means companies from virtually anywhere can sell to customers from virtually anywhere, and local markets continue to become more and more cosmopolitan due to immigration. Target demographics are changing, and organizations that ignore those changes will one day find themselves without clients or anyone to sell to. However, to stay relevant, businesses must do more than simply cater their project, programs, products and services to these increasingly diverse demographics. In fact, it’s unlikely they can even do that successfully without fostering workplace diversity.

What is Workplace Diversity?          

To improve our diversity intelligence, we must first understand workplace diversity. Diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  Diversity extends beyond race or ethnicity, religion, culture or newcomer status to include factors such as geography, language, politics, gender, beliefs, economic status, abilities, skills and interests.

A diverse workplace reflects our communities. Diversity is actually rooted in merit and in the appreciation of differences. It focuses on finding the right candidate for the right job regardless of (not because of) his or her ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, certain physical/mental abilities, marital status, education, and socioeconomic status – and then leveraging the various benefits that come with having a diverse workforce.

What is Diversity Intelligence?

It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. The concept of diversity intelligence encompasses acceptance and respect. It is the exploration of our differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.

By integrating workers from culturally diverse backgrounds into their workforce organizations become much stronger and their project success rate improves. Diversity intelligent project management leaders ensure that diversity is an integral part of the business plan, essential to successful projects, programs, products and increased sales. This is especially true in today’s global marketplace, as organizations interact with different cultures and clients.

Benefits of Workplace Diversity

Workplace diversity can make organizations and teams more productive and profitable. They also bring differences that we must understand and embrace for those benefits to be realized. Among the advantages of diversity in the workplace are: better problem solving, higher productivity, better employee relations, new language skills, better client insight, and new processes.

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About the Author

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Paul Pelletier

Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Paul Pelletier, LL.B., PMP, is a workplace respect consultant, corporate lawyer, project manager and executive. He works with organizations to prevent, manage and eliminate workplace bullying. His book “Workplace Bullying – It’s just Bad for Business” highlights how bullying is lethal to project management and business success. He also serves as a member of the PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group. He has published articles, presented webinars, workshops and been a presenter at many PMI events, including Global Congresses, Leadership Institute Meetings and Chapter events.  Paul Pelletier can be reached at www.paulpelletierconsulting.com or [email protected]