Facilitating Diversity Drives Change

April 01, 2013
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

Principle Two of The Eden Alternative tells us that the creation of a Human Habitat is the most effective cure for the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.  By definition, a Human Habitat is “an environment where different species live in supportive and empowering ways, eager and able to thrive, not just survive.” A rich Human Habitat involves an array of close and continuing relationships and spontaneity and variety as the spice of daily life.  Diversity, then, clearly lies at the core of a healthy Human Habitat and the life worth living that it supports.

While this may come across as a no-brainer, diversity awareness is often dismissed as politically correct mumbo jumbo or something that an in-service or two can cover. Successful change agents, however, know that a deep and ongoing commitment to celebrating diversity is the cornerstone of building meaningful relationships and creating an inclusive team environment, where each voice is heard and honored for its unique contribution.

Let’s face it.  Care that is genuinely person-directed can’t exist without a dedication to diversity awareness.  How can we truly know people well, if we aren’t digging more deeply and taking the time to develop a more complete understanding of their cultural heritage and how it influences their preferences and choices?  When diversity awareness becomes a vital part of the organizational culture, culturally-specific communication barriers dissolve, new relationships are forged, and opportunities to grow and learn from each other expand exponentially.

This said, facilitating an appreciation for diversity in your organization is a multi-layered endeavor that requires thoughtful attention, creativity, and finesse.  On April 10th from 3 to 4 pm ET, two inspiring leaders, Sandra Place and Arif Padamshi, will share how promoting diversity awareness has deepened and strengthened their culture change journeys.  As a part of the Facilitative Leadership Webinar Series, “Facilitating an Appreciation of Diversity” will focus on how the creation of effective teams requires an organizational culture that respects, honors, and appreciates the unique differences, qualities, and values of each member of the care partner team.  Click here to register.

To explore this issue in your teams, consider the following Learning Circle questions:

  • How are we doing when it comes to building diversity awareness?
  • What are the current barriers to deepening awareness of our cultural differences?
  • What access do we have to educational resources to build our skills around this issue?
  • What are some creative ways that we can promote learning and growing between different care partners on the team?

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