Wednesday, April 26, 2006


In the U.S., it is not a lack of divisions which keeps us “united”, it is a multitude of them. But we see many of them as part of our diversity and individuality. We are not trying to be the same all the time. We do not generally feel threatened by differences in the way some other cultures do (there are, of course, many exceptions to this, but hey – we need SOME challenges to work on, right?).

We have such a variety of experiences and people in our lives that we are much more comfortable living among differences, and we have learned to see past them when it comes to what’s most important.

So we in the U.S. have so much diversity that we are more tolerant, in general, of differences than many of the more troubled areas of the globe.

Large countries often allow for more diversity (at least non-communist ones!) than smaller countries because they are more complex and stable, less vulnerable to the silly whims of individual human beings (our current administration not withstanding).

Which brings us to organizations. Now, a family is an organization. So is a government. And a country.

As an organization reflects the individuals that comprise it, a diverse group of people working for a common cause will often be more stable, more flexible, than one composed of very similar people. That diversity of experience, perspectives, and preferences gives the organization a much more valuable set of resources to draw from. If it can harness the creativity and enthusiasm to a common cause and focus, the potential is tremendous.

And here’s another thing: a diverse, complex and stable organization can interact more efficiently and effectively with other individuals and organizations. So the diversity that goes into the organization makes that organization more suitable to interaction with others.

A case in point: The Gaza Strip.

Many of the violent, militant political organizations there tend to be made up of people trying to think and act the same way. They are formed as a reaction to a perceived enemy. They consist of people who’s common cause is that they are against someone or something (this is true of many “resistance” organizations all over the world, of course).

The glue that holds many of these groups together is infused with hatred. That hatred can dissipate if the organization moves in other directions and develops more constructive goals. But such flexibility often requires diversity of thought, something many of these organizations lack.

This is as much a reflection of the troubled and divisive societies in which they are formed as it is anything else.

If these groups, and the societies in which they are formed, could develop an appreciation for diversity of thought and perception, they could become far more flexible, far more dynamic. And they could interact more efficiently and effectively with other organizations, both within their society and around the world.

Diversity is therefore a necessary ingredient, and one that is unfortunately scorned and avoided in many of the places around the world in which it is needed most.


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