The amount of women in US orchestras only went up form 5% to 50% after auditions were done behind curtains. Judges were all convinced they only judged the music, not the musician. We think we are open to people who think and act differently than we do. Only to find out that in reality we do make a distinction between in-groups (similar to us) and out-groups (those who are different).
Diversity is so much more than just one of the values companies print on their websites. Corporate policies – designed with the best of intentions – are meaningless if behavior at the work floor is different. Are you really open to hire the candidate who is so much different than you are? Are you ready to be challenged by a young and inexperienced colleague, who takes a fresh look at things?
Diversity can be promoted with simple work agreements. These agreements involve open and honest communication, about uncomfortable things. Discussing the undiscussable. Practical communication routines in teams and departments enforce openness about differences of opinion. Differences of mindset. Differences of behavior. Because there is Strength in Diversity.