We all know diversity is a great thing. It brings together a range of opinions, ideas and perspectives that drive progress. As your organization continues to find new ways to innovate and engage its members, it should also be focusing on understanding its own diversity, both at the Board level and the members at-large.
At the Board level – too often I have seen boards view diversity as simply a tactic to level the field in regards to race and gender rather than as the tool for driving successful ideas that it can be. Boards who understand their diversity go further. Boards who have made the effort to know each other and explore the diversity amongst them can appreciate how those diverse backgrounds and perspectives can be the driver of innovation for their organization. It is also important that the board represent the diversity of it’s members.
At an organizational level – understanding the uniqueness and diversity of your membership can provide the pathway to organizational success. Your organization is not X amount of members from region A or X amount of members who are between 30-35 years old. Building your community and gaining more insight in to the diversity of your members is key to engaging them and providing the type of community they come to you for. Just as important is considering diversity throughout your hiring and contracting process.
At the end of the day it takes making and understanding diversity, a priority, not just in the Board room but in the office as well. If your team understands the importance of diversity, the organization will continue to see a positive shift in its understanding of the unique needs of the Board and its members.
What is your organizations diversity story? Is your organization doing enough to understand it’s own diversity and how to harness it?