All Humans Have their Differences

Understanding Each Other

What is your organization doing to promote and enhance a healthier, supportive, and more unified work culture?  There seems to be more and more talk about the differences among us, instead of all the things we have in common.  Obviously, there will always be differences from one person to another.  That is true, but if we are trying to build employees into more of a team – uniting us, shouldn’t we first discuss what we have in common?

When you look at your co-workers, you might first notice that he is taller, and she is shorter, etc.  Or both may like hot coffee, though he takes cream in his coffee, but she just likes a little sugar.  Maybe this might be a way to begin to get to know each other.  For instance, make a list of a dozen or more things in general that you eat, drink, enjoy, dislike, wear, smell, etc. and have others to note which of these they use, like, eat, etc.  Then compare your lists.  Next ask 2 or 3 others to mark the general list, and compare with you and the other associate.

Next, you can expand on the list, adding a) where each of you are originally from, b) did you live in a house, apartment, a farm, etc., as well as c) how many were in your family, etc.  As you add more co-workers to this project, and expand your list of items to compare, take time after these additions and expansions to see how many items you have in common, as well as how many people realize that they have more than half a list of items in common?

Once you have included 20 or 25 people in this exercise, start discussing how many ways each of you are different.  Another observation you can make is from how many co-workers have you learned something new?  Once you have included all co-workers and discussed the items you have in common and how many items you have different from each other, what can you conclude?

Clearly, we have a lot of diversity all around us.  In fact, there are dozens and dozens of differences just between one person and the next.  Differences can be in the look of a person, the capabilities of each person, preferences from one another, and so on.  Furthermore, there are differences among a dozen Hispanic persons, or Asian persons, or Black persons, and so on.  In addition to the differences are the many things that are similar among people.

When discussing diversities, it is so important to go beyond the obvious or “superficial” aspects.  To better understand diversities, persons should make the effort to really get to know the other person.  That includes their families, their heritage, family history, etc.  Another good project is to have a department or group matched in sets of two employees (who don’t know each other) and give them a day to interview and get to know each other.  Have them draft a report or share as a presentation with the group about their findings.  Such a project may be a good foundation for a better work culture.

The world is full of likes and differences, but too often people are quick to judge or make assumptions that are incorrect.  Encourage your workforces to get to know their co-workers.  Compass Career Management Solutions also provides “Workforce Behavior Forumsl” to become more sensitive to each other.  Visit: www.compasscareer.com; 704-849-2500.