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Want to build a team of innovators? Diversity of thought can get you there in 2022

Updated: Jan 19



Congrats, you made it through another pivotal year! I don’t have to tell you that the landscape of how we do business has changed vastly in the past couple of years and what you decide to do with as a leader at the beginning of the year, sets the tone for how you will conduct business in 2022.


Whether you call them resolutions, goals, or plans, the point is you should list out the things you want to achieve in the next year. But what if you looked at your resolutions in an unconventional way, what if you made resolutions for how you conduct your business, and what if you applied them to a hot topic like… diversity? Or further than that, diversity of thought.


Diversity is one of the biggest challenges we face today. In recent years, many issues have been brought to the forefront. Racial and gender equality, LGBTQ issues, and many others have brought to light the need for diversity. Not to mention, we are going through a “Great Resignation” where employees are quitting for a multitude of reasons, and diversity & inclusion or the feeling of belonging is a big reason. So, now more than ever, diversity should be something every business is thinking about.


If you are like most, you probably worked on diversity efforts in 2021 and even 2020. Whether you have or haven’t, here are some goals/resolutions to keep in mind when mapping out how you want 2022 to go.



Engrain diversity of thought into your organization


Have you ever hired someone who came into your organizations with all kinds of brilliant ideas? Did they move the needle forward when the needle had seemed stuck in the fabric of your organization? Bringing individuals into your organization with diverse thought processes does just that… it moves the needle forward.

Diversity of thought brings new ideas, culminates a creative environment, and helps with the inclusion part of a diversity team. When you have an environment that lets people with different perspectives and ideas speak their mind, you create a place where new ideas spur and others who maybe have not spoken up feel that they can as well.


You can add “Culminate an environment where there is diversity of thought” to your resolution list. This can be done by either looking for diverse hires or restructuring your environment by making it feel more inclusive and open to hearing new ideas.



Look inward for any underlying judgements


Have you ever been driving on the freeway after a long day of work and the individual in front of you just seems to not be moving fast enough? Or your neighbor has a dog that is too loud, and you decide you don’t like your neighbor because of their dog? These are small examples of how we create a picture of someone through our own perceptions. There are bigger examples of bias like religion, lifestyle, race and gender. But going back to the topic of diversity of thought, there are sometimes underlying biases that you may impose on someone because of your own thoughts that prevent others from sharing their whole self.


These biases are called unconscious biases and they prevent diversity of thought from happening in an organization. We all have unconscious biases. Biases are an unfortunate part of human nature that has been around since the dawn of man. In today’s day and age, they are not as prevalent in the workplace as they once were, but that doesn’t mean they are gone. Bias in the workplace can manifest in a number of ways.


One of the greatest challenges is that people are often unaware of their biases. When these biases go unchecked, it can lead to all kinds of harmful hiring practices, pay gaps, not allowing others to bring great ideas to the table, and other problems. You should try adding “Analyze any biases I have or the others around me have” to your resolution list. The first step is acknowledging that things are not always perfect and looking towards any kind of improvement where you see fit.



Inclusion is all the rage - create an environment where employees can thrive

We are going through the “Great Resignation”. In November, we saw a record high quitting rate of 4.5 million workers who quit or changed roles. Employees are revaluating what is important to them and making the decision to stay at an organization or pivot to another. Some individuals are even changing careers to find something that serves them better.


There are many ways to combat losing an individual but quite simply creating an open environment where employees can thrive is one that can keep individuals happy and willing to stay with your organization as well as help with your diversity efforts. If the employee feels comfortable, they are more likely to express ideas and excel at their job. They are also less likely to have dissatisfaction and leave. “Create an environment where employees can thrive” may be beneficial to add to your resolution list.


This brings us back to the needle analogy I mentioned above. You may have hired someone that moved a needle that was otherwise stuck within the fabric of your organization. Well, have you ever hired someone with great ideas, but they seem to never come to fruition and that individual leaves to find a better opportunity? That may be because you do not have an environment where employees can thrive. Having a place where employees feel like their ideas are appreciated, where they feel a sense of belonging, and where they feel they can be free of judgement are some of the many ways to create an environment where employees can thrive.


Of course, people need to be mentored and directed, but allowing your team to share their ideas and co-create solutions is important.


Whatever you add to your list, we are in another pivotal year and organizations are changing in so many ways. In order to keep up, you can try writing some resolutions of your own for your business or adding the few we mentioned above, but most important is to include resolutions around diversity of thought.