This engaging dialogue between Bill Shackelford and Dr. Sondra Thiederman addresses the need to focus, not only on how we differ, but also on what we have in common.
Much has been written about the value of diverse personalities, thinking styles, and demographic groups in the workplace. Less attention has been paid to the benefits that accrue when those diverse people work to identify and focus on what they have in common. Teams that are aware of what they share are, quite simply, more successful.
This strategy of identifying what we share also works to reduce bias because, the more we have in common, the more time we spend together and the more we get to know people as individuals – not just as members of a group.
Things we can do in the workplace to emphasize what we have in common include establishing employee resource groups, promoting volunteer efforts/clubs and creating social opportunities to bring people of different backgrounds together.
Research continues to show that the more we identify what we share, the more we are able to achieve together due to increased levels of trust and a focus on shared goals and values.