GRIN Together – Manage Diversity

If you are responsible for a nation, a company, a team, a family, or even just for one other person, then you face the question, “Am I letting other people be themselves, or does the environment I create discriminate against them?” Diversity management is an unavoidable aspect of leadership, and often involves special best practices, policies, strategies, or diversity training.

Office building

Mitch Kapor described evaluativism (i.e. the leading form of discrimination) like this: “Every new employee who is hired has to be integrated into the organization. There are certain values, styles of behavior, and practices which are characteristic of the entity. Until a new employee learns to operate within those norms, he or she is like a foreign body introduced into an organism. The body system recognizes an alien invader and mobilizes its immune system to neutralize it. Newcomers are rendered impotent and, worse, start counterproductive efforts (infections) which have to be extinguished.

What Mitch said about workplaces is also true of nations, religious groups, clubs, and homes. Supporting diversity is difficult. We have gotten so good at manipulating others into exhibiting our own values that we do it unintentionally. Discrimination is disguised as moral education, moral reform, or accommodation for a “moral handicap,” as though our own GRIN-nature were superior to those of everyone else. We have seen the same attitude in the histories of race, gender, and nobility.

Various tools for managing evaluative diversity have GRIN natures themselves. The traditional institutional tool is the Teachings. In contrast, relational management of evaluative diversity involves dialogues in which we reveal our differences to one another. Tools to seed such discussions can include:

To manage evaluative diversity as a negotiator would require tools for monitoring it (much as carbon-dioxide monitors are used to manage biodiversity). To participate in the development of such monitoring tools, please contact us.