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Diversity of thought

(Miscellaneous) Date 17th June 2017
By Sanjay Razdan

Diversity, in business context, is not just only about gender, race and or cultural affinity; it is also about our minds: how we think and view the world in different ways in an organisation with common core values and norms. No doubt, most of the time, different cultures, gender and race bring different ways of thinking and views that effectively boosts innovation, positive competition and creative problem solving. Diversity of thought must encompass a diversity of culture, gender and race, as well as diversity of personality type. So diversity in transformational talent trends can be classified as: 
 -  Diversity is about serving clients and innovation
  -  Inherent diversity – gender, race, sexual orientation
  -  Acquired diversity – education, experience, geographical


In today's global environment such ‘diversity of thought’ in an aligned leadership team becomes a competitive edge, which is very difficult for competition to copy. Such, 'thought diversity' unlocks individual and team potential significantly. Also, in order to achieve complexity in a business environment, multiple 'thought diversity' teams are required in an organisation. It is essential that each ‘thought diversity’ team is treated equally around their respective values and norms supported by leadership in the company. In other words, ambidextrous leadership enables sustainability within organisations through business reinvention via a change in the business environment or an introduction of innovative disruptive technologies. Diversity of thought focussed leadership plays an essential part in the reinvention for organisation.


Varying the types of thinkers maximises individual talent and enhances team performance. ‘Diversity of thought’ can be complemented by having a diverse mix of business personality types, such as idea generators, operational performers, people developers and marketers, in the leadership team enhances company sustainability.

Leadership needs to act as role models by ‘walking the talk’ on diversity without exception. This encourages teams to take calculated risk and boldly instigate innovation. Frequently sharing open, honest and transparent feedback within the team can enhance this continuous improvement and engagement of all stakeholders. Also, setting tangible milestones and measuring periodic individual and team performance drives behavioural and business outcomes.


Let me share one of my experiences that re-confirms above thoughts. I joined a business that was losing customers, money and team was really demoralised. Rebuilding from day one the diverse thought leadership, customer focus and clarity on ‘what we do and what we don’t do’ started transformational growth journey. And in four years the business was tripled in sales and profitable, positioned to collaborate and also investment was committed into next generation technology to retain long term sustainability. All this was possible only because of truly diverse thought leadership from different parts of world and gender.


For me, 'thought diversity' has been part of my living since school days and has continued at my work and personal life to date. It personally not only plays a role in business enhancement, but also gives me a fulfilling life. Also, I believe three main trends which are driving transformation in talent are digital, data and diversity.


In summary, ‘diversity of thought’ with common purpose and social impact makes us live and let live with mutual respect, and create a sustainable and in harmonious universe for us to work and live within.


About the author, Sanjay Razdan

Brief intro: A business leader with over 25 years of experience in multinationals’ and start up technology companies. Sanjay has worked and lived in Asia, Americas and currently living in Europe. A Harvard Business School alumnus with MBA and BE Electronics degree.

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