how to benefit from cultural diversity
Today we are celebrating the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue & Development. “CulturalDiversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature.” UNESCO.
Cultural Diversity enriches our personal and professional life in many ways. On a professional level, a culturally diverse team usually has different ways of thinking and can thus analyze a business issue from a variety of perspectives. This is usually difficult to achieve when team members belonging to the same culture are asked to analyze the same issue.
However, to get the best out of our cultural diversity experience, we need to be aware of our unconscious bias and how to overcome it. Research indicates that human beings innately perceive anyone different from us as a threat because our brain has an evolutionary requirement to do so. Furthermore, in recent years, neuro-psychology has been able to demonstrate that the neuron pathways we use when we think of ourselves and the neuron pathways that we use when we think of our in-group are the same causing us to be much more empathetic and much more sympathetic to people in our in-group. While we use different pathways for people in the out-group, causing us to be indifferent to their success or failure. What might that say about equitable treatment and fairness?
“CulturalDiversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature.” UNESCO.
Why it is important to be aware of our unconscious biases?
Neuroscience tells us that only 5% of our decisions are made consciously and 95% of them are being made unconsciously. So 95% of the time, we act, react, and make decisions from our unconscious mind. And can we really be inclusive if our blind spots are getting in our way?
It all starts by being aware of our unconscious biases and be more mindful of how they show up and then consciously take actions and make decisions.
How aware are you?
About the Author
As Executive Director of Resilience & Co FZE, Nada El Marji is responsible for setting the company’s overall strategic direction, including planning and defining the strategy, development, and evolution of R&CO’s portfolio of services and programs.
She has more than 20 years of global experience in various industries and technologies.
Given her life and professional experience, she’s particularly passionate about building the resilience of individuals, organizations and communities, enabling them to thrive and not just to survive during VUCA times.
Ms El Marji holds an MBA degree from Leicester University in the UK, she's also a Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Systemic Team Coach and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coach Federation (ICF).