Ten Strategies for dealing with diversity
The Starting Place -- Set the Stage for Creative Use of Diversity
Strategy 1: Strengthen the prerequisites for positive use
of diversity - e.g., nurture respect, make quality dialogue
available, build tolerance for ambiguity and dissonance, encourage
an expanded definition of diversity, make sure "bridge people"
and facilitators are around to help, etc.
The Path of Appreciation -- Let Diversity Manifest
Strategy 2: Enjoy and celebrate diversity - Variety
is the spice of life. Viva la difference! Sameness is
downright boring. Flaunt your collective diversity among yourselves
and collectively in your community and to others. Be downright
juicy and exciting!
Strategy 3: Translate differences into uniqueness.
For example, we need more multi-culturalism that attempts to
spread a broad understanding of many cultures, or which helps
diverse people get grounded in their own diverse cultures, not
as superior to others, but as intensely valid and their own.
Also, people's stories are particularly powerful at opening our
hearts and minds to each other as unique beings with much in
common, rather than seeing our differences as problems.
Strategy 4: Help/let differences self-organize. Open Space conferencing is the premier
example of this. People use their different passions to help
them gather together in groups for dialogue and action.
Strategy 5: Set aside differences to focus on common ground.
This doesn't mean denying our differences -- just don't let them
get in the way of all we have in common. Future
Search specializes in this, logging conflicts and helping
people move on to discover and build common ground.
The Path of Resourcefulness: Use Diversity to Add Value
Strategy 6: Connect differences to create synergy.
Use differences to deal with strengths and weaknesses and create
emergent phenomena. People's different personality
types and learning styles, for example can be used together
to great advantage. The fast-moving person can help get things
done, while the reflective person can make sure that what's done
Strategy 7: Use diversity as a resource for resilience
and adaptation. Biodiversity is a good model here. If your
corn has diverse strains, some of them will surely survive an
attacking bug, resulting in more resilent strains for the future.
If you've got solar power and grid power, you're in good
shape for both cloudy days and blackouts.
Strategy 8: Use differences to increase understanding of
complex issues. Everyone has a piece of the Big Picture.
If people really listen to each other, they'll get a bigger picture
of what's going on. The trick is to include truly diverse perspectives
in the conversation -- and then listen.
Strategy 9: Work through differences to resolve conflict.
Usually this requires, again, the conflicted people hearing each
other well, and feeling heard. Then they can start to
see each other as fellow human beings and work together to find
good solutions. Mediation
and Nonviolent Communication
are good tools for this.
Strategy 10: Highlight differences for broad social benefit.
For example, some websites, public issue briefing books and civic
minded journalists describe what diverse people think about certain
public issues so that citizens can understand the different perspectives
and trade-offs and make up their own minds.
Not All Differences Are
Diversity is as big as the
Home || What's
New || Search || Who
We Are || Co-Intelligence
|| Our Work || Projects
|| Contact || Don't
Miss || Articles || Topics
|| Books || Links
|| Subscribe || Take
Action || Donate || Legal
If you have comments about this site,
Contents copyright © 2003, all rights reserved, with generous
permissions policy (see Legal Notices)