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The Benefits of Diversity of Thought
As we look back on this past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken front and center of what has happened in the world but has certainly not occupied all of the headlines. We have also seen a lot of events and discussions around the idea of diversity and inclusion.
When our CEO, Chuck Alvarez, speaks with our client companies, they often talk about the importance of diversity in the workplace. In fact, we are seeing more of our client companies asking about how our candidates work
with and embrace diversity and inclusion during interviews? Why?
Well, when we think of diversity, most of us immediately go to thoughts of gender, race, ethnicity, or other category, but diversity can and does extend beyond those categories. Companies view diversity as a competitive advantage – creating an organization with different perspectives, backgrounds, ideas, etc. to help solve issues in their markets, bring value to customers, etc. If an organization can comprise itself of those with different backgrounds and perspectives, it naturally creates opportunities for healthy discourse, eliminates groupthink, challenge ideas, and ultimately arrive at the best solutions. This allows for greater diversity of thought.
Companies view it as important and strategic to embrace the traditional views of diversity but also the nonconventional definition toward this diversity of thought. Specifically, our client companies value team members who embrace different ways of solving problems, managing projects and leading people.
So, when Chuck is speaking with the companies about hiring JMOs (a non-traditional leadership hire for Corporate America), he presents and discusses the notion that military officers bring this diversity of thought to Corporate America. After all, the United States military might be one of, if not the most, diverse workplaces in the world.
As a JMO you work with all ethnicities, age, religion, gender, race, socioeconomic backgrounds, and from all corners of the country and worldwide. This is a distinct and unique advantage that JMOs bring to Corporate America. You have all led and collaborated with a wide array of people with many different backgrounds and experiences. As the concept of diversity and inclusion becomes even more relevant, we’re seeing it come up more and more in the interview process.
Questions around diversity and inclusion may seem challenging at first. However, I think if you spend some time giving thought to how this concept has helped in your military career, it will become less daunting. To help with this, think of:
- The vast array of different backgrounds you have led and worked with;
- The number of times you have changed roles and had to quickly earn the trust and respect of your new teammates and assimilate into your new organization;
- Deployments and missions working with foreign military, people speaking different languages with different belief systems, all to accomplish a common goal;
- The rules & regulations (EEO, SHARP, etc.) that are in place to ensure diversity, equality and inclusion; etc.
Again, while everyone wears the same uniform and serves the same mission in the military, it is about as diverse an organization as it gets. Give it some thought and I bet you will be able to generate several ways in which you have embraced diversity, especially in the context of diversity of thought.