When we develop and implement a diversity policy in the workplace, we are in effect nurturing growth towards change. The change that we are seeking is the upliftment of cultural intelligence. Ideally, we want people to grow personally through continuous learning and acquire knowledge of diverse cultures, their wisdom, and values. We need to start to think differently. In addition, we need to lift people’s capability to deal effectively with people from different backgrounds and orientations. We need to get people to behave differently.
In Chinese philosophy, we acquire the concept of Yin and Yang that applies to everything. It is useful to apply this thinking as well when we develop and implement a diversity policy. People are multifaceted and we need to ensure that any diversity and inclusion strategy incorporates all dimensions of those it will impact upon.
A strategy needs more male elements of action, control, planning, and goal orientation. All the concrete stuff that creates momentum. It also needs to include the softer female elements of reflection, yielding, flexibility, etc. The stuff that feeds the soul and creates sustainable motivation and excitement about possibilities. A diversity and inclusion strategy—more so than most—given the core human component needs balance. This spills into facilitating cultural intelligence that values both the passive and active complementary cycle of holistic change initiatives.
When we develop and implement a diversity policy, we need to be mindful that we are aiming to support the positive psychological well-being of individuals through the change process. We want people to continue to feel empowered and perform optimally throughout. Safeguarding emotional well-being must therefore be part of our strategic focus. This demands that the strategy has plans to deal with people’s internal world as well as their relationships with others. When we develop strategies with both Yin and Yang components in them, it becomes naturally more inclusive with the ability of most people to understand the driving forces behind the various strategic components.
The Yang aspects of the strategic thrusts will speak to the most rational, logical thinkers that are preoccupied with objectivity being interested in “hard” data in order to analyse complex situations. The Yin aspects of the strategy will appeal to those more interested in intuition, emotion, and subjectivity insights. So, when we attend to both the Yin and Yang demands of strategy design, we are more likely to achieve broader employee satisfaction and strategic acceptance.
In essence, when we develop and implement a diversity and inclusion strategy, we must not be tempted to become preoccupied only with the technical aspects of change. Dealing with quantifiable and predictable issues has its place and is essential in terms of getting to targeted milestones and verifying progress and achievement. However, the human dimension of change management must take centre stage as well.
The Yin and Yang must be introduced into the organisational psyche and both must be explored and embraced. The truth is that healing is part of any D&I strategy and this necessitates wholeness rather than the isolated treatment of symptoms. All strategies must take account of the complexity of human beings to continually uplift and sustain them. We want people to willingly adopt a diversity and inclusion strategy as if they were their own. With Yin and Yang considerations in its creation, this possibility is enhanced.
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