One of my best lessons learned was when I was speaking to a client of mine who was looking at moving to a different position in the federal government. He wanted to expand his horizons and learn new skills. As the government looks to be an increasingly diverse public service, one can identify themselves as a visible minority. I asked my client "Would you identify yourself as a visible minority?" to which he replied "Donna, I'm brown. Haven't you noticed?" and continued..."You are colour blind. That's great from one perspective but at the same time, remember we shouldn't ignore differences and make everyone 'the same', we should celebrate the difference and bring them all to the table."
I have never forgotten that conversation. I look at each person as someone unique who brings a specific flavour, unique skill set and perspective to the table. I also know, that diversity brings a richness to the conversation that can't exist in an organization or team that is a sea of sameness.
In his article Why Diversity is the Mother of Creativity, Jeffrey Baumgartner talks about "The best thing you can do is to diversify your thinking" and "It is essential that your people are diverse in background, education, knowledge and experience".
Sameness just doesn't cut it.This really does bring home how we're 'better with, not better than".