New ideas don’t spontaneously generate themselves. They come about as the result of past experiences, new stimuli and creative thinking stirred up by a challenge. Innovation is one of the most powerful differentiators between industry leaders and the also-rans, and it’s much harder to unlock if everyone on your team brings the same qualities to the table.
This is why it’s important to see diversity not as a PR buzzword, but as a vital resource within your company. Diversity drives innovation, as employees with varying backgrounds and viewpoints all have something unique to offer. Here are some tips that can help you correlate inclusion and innovation so you can lead your team and reap the full benefits of both.
Ensure All Voices Are Heard
Of course, ensuring your hiring practices are fair and equitable to candidates from all walks of life is critical if you want to make sure diversity brings innovation to your workplace. However, your commitment shouldn’t end once orientation does. It’s on you as a leader to make sure everyone on your team has an opportunity to offer their thoughts on the situation.
Additionally, don’t assume that someone being quiet means she or he has nothing to say. Being ignored or undervalued in previous positions may drive some people to second-guess their ideas and keep their mouths shut. Be sure to actively invite input from all sides and give every idea a fair shake.
Share the Credit When You Succeed
Diversity leads to innovation, and it’s important for your employees to see the connection. One way to do this is to give credit when it’s due to everyone who contributed to a successful idea. By acknowledging where each element came from, you underscore the value of the unique perspectives on your team. This can encourage others to share their thoughts, which could lead to a freer exchange of ideas the next time they collaborate.
Don’t Dismiss New Ideas Out of Hand
One of the most important ways in which diversity creates innovation is by allowing unexpected and novel ideas to enter the conversation. However, many managers and leaders stifle this effect by being too quick to shoot down anything they see as ineffective or outlandish.
It’s true that not every idea is going to be a winner, certainly, but what you see as conventional wisdom or common sense may be nothing more than an unacknowledged prejudice against that particular line of thinking. Rather than dismiss your team’s notions immediately, give them some time to germinate. Many times, all that’s needed for a seemingly unfeasible idea to grow into something innovative is for it to be batted around by the group for a while.
The link between diversity and innovation is easy to see once you understand the importance and necessity of different points of view in your organization. As one of the leading firms coaching executives and corporations how to recognize the value of a diverse workforce, CoachDiversity Institute can show how to become the type of enterprise that is thinking ahead and leading the industry.
To learn more about our services and everything we can do for you, get in touch with us today.