Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity – part 6 representational systems

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

This is the sixth in a series of articles on frameworks for understanding and managing diversity. Part 1 looked at different developmental stages. Part 2 looked at the huge issue of cultural diversity. Part 3 looked at the sensitive question of religious differences,  part 4 looked at the role of different values and part 5 looked at the role of personality differences.  This article looks briefly at representational systems.

For those who have studied a little about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) one of the first things you learn is about our different representational systems.

For each of us, our experience of the reality “out there” (as opposed to “inside our heads”) is filtered through our five senses – Visual, Auditory (sound), Kinesthetic (touch), Olfactory (smell) and Gustatory (taste). (more…)

Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity part 5. Personality differences

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Personality typesThis is the fifth in a series of articles on frameworks for understanding and managing diversity. Part 1 looked at different developmental stages. Part 2 looked at the huge issue of cultural diversity. Part 3 looked at the sensitive question of religious differences, and part 4 looked at the role of different values. This article builds on the previous articles and looks at personality differences and some of the tools available for assessing personality.

The concept of different personality types has been studied for thousands of years . Many of the modern personality profiling systems have their roots in the Four Temperaments, as described by Hippocrates about 2400 years ago. These four temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic, remained commonly used categorisations of personalities right up to the present time. The Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung used them as a basis for his own theories of personality which were then, in turn, picked up by others. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the DISC assessment both have their roots in Jung’s work on the psychology of personality. Both MBTI and DISC are often used in the business sector to help managers better understand the teams they are managing. (more…)

Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity part 4. Values differences

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

scales of valuesThis is the fourth in a series of articles on frameworks for understanding and managing diversity. Part 1 looked at different developmental stages. Part 2 looked at the huge issue of cultural diversity. Part 3 looked at the sensitive question of religious differences. This article builds on the previous articles and looks at values differences.

Each person has a unique hierarchy of values which determine their actions and filter the information they take in. If a person eats lots of unhealthy fast food, it is because they place a higher value on eating than on their health. If a person neglects their spouse to work 80 hours a week in their job, it is because they place a higher value on their work (or what their work gives them) than on spending time with their spouse. Someone for whom sports is a high-ranking value will read the newspapers differently to another person who values being informed about politics or foreign affairs. They might watch the same TV news and remember quite different things from it. (more…)

Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity part 3. Religious differences

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Symbols of religionThis is the third in a series of articles on frameworks for understanding and managing diversity. Part 1 looked at different developmental stages. Part 2 looked at the huge issue of cultural diversity. This article aims to give an appreciation of the role that religion plays.

There is much overlap between religion and culture. In most traditional societies they are practically inseperable whereas in other societies, particularly European cultures, they are much more separate. It may be possible to be a non-religious Italian, but for most Africans before colonisation (and even in many cases today) it would be inconceivable to belong to a culture without religion.

So what is religion? Like culture, it is a set of values, codes of behaviour and relationships which are expressed through story, arts and rituals. It may also include metaphysical ideas about supernatural phenomena – God or spirits. Religion gives its adherents a sense of meaning and purpose for their lives, a set of ethics and practices to help navigate the trials and temptations of life, and a community to belong to for mutual support. (more…)

Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity part 2. Cultural differences.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Cultural differencesWhat is culture? How does it shape us?

These are not easy questions to answer. We are as immersed in culture as a fish in water. We take it for granted, like the air we breathe, to the point where it is invisible to us.  Often the time when our culture becomes more visible is when we spend an extended time living in another culture, and then return home. The well-known phenomenon of “reverse culture shock” is the opening of our eyes to things in our own culture that we are seeing, as if for the first time.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines culture as:

a : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time <popular culture> <southern culture> c : the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture focused on the bottom line> d : the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic. (more…)

Some frameworks for understanding and managing diversity

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Diversity is a huge topic. Trying to get our heads around the idea that each of the 7 billion people is unique is just impossible. We may understand it at an abstract level, but not in a way that really helps us practically. To be useful we need to have some understanding of the different ways that people are different, in order to be effective at managing diversity. (more…)

Diversity in the workplace – why it matters.

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace matters. It matters a lot. A short while ago, the population of the world reached 7 billion. Yet the world isn’t getting any bigger…. If anything, it seems to be getting smaller. Oil, gas and coal resources are diminishing, along with many other natural resources. Even food is becoming an issue, because the amount of land available for agriculture is being reduced (due to desertification) by an area three times the size of Switzerland each year

In an overcrowded and nuclear armed world, we have to find a way to get along with each other. (more…)