The Power Of Attention Diversity At Work

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The Power Of Attention Diversity At Work

May 14, 2019

The great risk organizations face is that they create cultures that simply cannot see what they most need to see in order to avoid ruin and losses.
The solution is attention diversity.
This is why the attention of women and minorities in leadership have been such necessary and critical disruptors, as leadership teams have begun to reflect the entry of more diverse viewpoints. The most successful companies embrace this evolution in attention diversity – not to check a box to diversify, but to authentically reflect and construct a model of focused attention that wisely sees in all directions.
Attention diversity is how different people see totally different things in the same situation or moment. When looking at a mountain, the rock climber sees something different than the painter, and both perspectives are different than that of the ecologist.

Note how “attention diversity” differs from traditional conversations about plain “diversity”. On that topic, most organizations end up focused on “fit.” As in, “we need someone with different colour of skin, sexual orientation, etc.—but they must be in all other ways similar to us.” That’s tokenizing diversity, where fit is the true, central focus.
The only way to cultivate focus is to have an alignment of what does and doesn’t deserve attention. Shared attention is both the cause and result of a cohesive community—and the reason why it’s true that “culture eats strategy for lunch.”
If a company truly wants to disrupt and adapt, it will create space for more perspectives. That will eventually create conflict—not regarding what the company must achieve, but only on the method to achieve it. We’ve seen that this conflict can strengthen the overall endeavour. True diversity always leads to, at least, the perception of conflict. Leaders are wise to remember that their role is not to end conflict, but instead to cultivate a culture in which diverse perspectives lead to a more thorough approach.

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