Undiverse diversity

Published by Tony Quinlan on

In recent weeks I’ve spoken at or run workshops at conferences on knowledge management, employee engagement and change communications.  Very few moments in those that excited, but one over-riding element that depresses me.

The subtext of so many of the questions I get asked and so many presentations I sit through is “How do we get everyone thinking the same way?”


At a purely practical level, organisations are legally required to have gender, race and age diversity – disparate types of people working for them.  What on earth makes you think they’ll think the same when their experiences, perceptions of the world and cultures are different?

At a strategic, health-of-the-organisation level, everybody thinking the same is positively dangerous – stifling innovation, suppressing warning signals, locking out possible alternative ways of seeing the world.

You don’t really want everyone thinking the same, parrotting the corporate messages back at you (even if they believed them, which they don’t).  You want instead to learn ways of working with that diversity of opinion, voice and approach.