In December South Africa was struck by a wave of racist incidents. We need not regurgitate the stories here, but is does raise the question (yet again) of how we as individuals, and as a nation, view diversity.
At its core, the concept of diversity encompasses acceptance, the recognition of our individual differences, respect and the genuine appreciation that each individual is unique. In the concept’s ideal manifestation, the differences between us – on a multiplicity of dimensions such as race, ethnicity, gender identification, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and other ideologies – are not merely tolerated, they are celebrated!
Understanding one another, or at the very least trying to, with open heart and mind and embracing the rich dimensions diversity brings to bear in our everyday personal and professional lives is surely a worthwhile pursuit of our time.
As managers and leaders, in both our personal and professional lives, it falls to us to create the freedom for those around us to explore these differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment so as to give rise to a better world.
Diversity is essential – Director of the Regenesys School of Public Management, William Vivian pictured at the Step Up To A Start Up Awards ceremony in November 2015 shaking the hand of Gavin Watson, the CEO of BOSASA Group.
At Regenesys we recognise and value diversity. “Through our facilitation methodologies, we consciously strive to embrace differences and provide the space for students to express their ideas.”
From a strategic point of view, there is little doubt that diversity is good for business as “there is a greater level of creativity when many different people are together,” Director of the Regenesys School of Public Management, William Vivian said.
“People who share the same language, background and culture tend to be insular and the result is we don’t push boundaries and don’t tap into differences and experiences. Valuing differences can lead to greater levels of innovation.”
We believe that the appreciation of diversity is central to healing South Africa – personally and professionally.