Embracing Diversity

Published: 16th December, 2019

Defining Diversity

From the dictionary:

.. encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

This struck me as at odds with my own take on diversity where it’s the opportunity for the individual to express their own story from their own perspective. Much less focus on physical attributes and an opportunity to provide the employee with the following which were all words provided by attendees of the webinar:

Acceptance – Individual  – Respect – Honesty – Recognition – Opportunity – Uniqueness – Agreement – Difference – Open-minded  – Individuality

My take-away is that putting aside kind of the physical attributes and the beliefs for now how I found working with Big Picture helps me in terms of working with diversity and embracing it and those three words that I use, individual, opportunity and open-minded, so that is seeing the individual as an opportunity for maybe creating an innovation and being open minded.

“I think in life, you meet lots of different people. And as you know, I’m a nurse by background. So meet lots of different met lots of different people from different and the actual race, ethnicity, gender, all those kind of things were not the issue in terms of whether they’re diverse. It was much more more about their culture that changed the way that they did things and what I could glean from that in helping to care for them.” – June, Dec 2019

“Sometimes wonder if it becomes a preoccupation that distracts from some of the other things that organisations should be aspiring to as well and can get in the way of things like for instance, efficiency, professionalism and being customer focus, for instance, things things organisation. organisations pretend to do and often don’t do very well. ” – Martin, Dec 2019

“I think as a professional in whatever discipline, you should be able to manage the kind of diverse situations and the diverse people that you meet with. And that I think I went through a lot of diversity training but I actually thought, Well, I think this is what I should be doing anyway, just as a human being and professional.” – June, Dec 2019

“Somehow looking too closely at diversity can be distracting in that it starts to put you make you think about people in terms of categories. And, and in many ways, what we’re trying to do is ignore those categories and just treat everybody the same. So I can understand that thinking about it too much and can be distracting.” – Lisa, Dec 2019

A Practical Demonstration

On this recent webinar, we worked through the key points above and more. As a practical demonstration of the human need Big Picture provides us with the straightforward and practical prop with which to satisfy our need to make and do wherever we are:

Making sense of the same information differently

With Big Picture in the work I do I realise is by giving people the opportunity and a framework to work within and the symbols and the board, and they may not have had this previously, I’m giving them the ability to whatever irrespective of their background, their knowledge, their beliefs, their education, any of that, I’m giving them a chance to express themselves and give them from a point of perspective. You can’t always tell where this will take you so  I like to work with organisations that are people-first, values-based, and more importantly, the third of three is organisations that are willing to act on what their employees say and think. Sometimes with surveys and question and answers, you don’t get that chance. And I was kind of challenging myself about how I encounter and deal with diversity and it is through seeing that people look at things differently and actually giving them that chance to express themselves.

A practical exercise to embrace Diversity

An ice breaker we use demonstrates this really well and we practiced it in the webinar. By comparing the relative importance of the Big Picture symbols we can see that points of difference are interesting, rather than seen as right or wrong. Unfortunately without a smart framework and approach in place it is often not scalable in a business because it takes a lot of investment. As a result employees are limited in their opportunity to to express themselves and further investment is required to work out what to do with it. We do this via the Challenges and Opportunities at the end of the Big Picture path.

Carrying on the theme this can be extended to speculate how employees can take the same message within the business and respond in different ways. An example of this would be the Customer Care team and their systems being down for a period and what means for the business.

Engaging Differently

You may have seen my series  on the collaborative shapes including the ‘Comet’ Not only two people potentially see things differently, they also engage differently. There are people at the front and they’re engaging differently to these guys at the back, who are probably just stepping back and reflecting on the work that is getting done.

I can see that I’m probably more the sort of person that is in the thick of things. And where I’ve struggled in terms of management of a team is to look at a team and think that there are members there who are less comfortable about speaking out and and how you get the best out of them, because it’s true that even though they might not be saying a lot, they’ve still got equally if not more valuable contribution, and it’s quite often those who are in the background, being more thoughtful about it, who actually have the most value to add. And the difficulty as a team manager is working out how to get it out of them in a way that’s still comfortable for them.” – Lisa, Dec 2019


I only see it working well, and this was touched upon in the webinar, where the corporate kind of philosophy that the senior management, the company practices, allocate some time and invest some time in allowing people to have that space to be able to develop their own view and work in the way that they want.

Watch the full Webinar here!

You can watch the whole Webcast here. Sign up for the next one at YourBigPic.com.

Why the bother?

When the team start talking, they have a chance to share what they really think, and so:

– They are more likely to be productive in their time with the company.

– The business will enjoy a ready supply of new opportunities each and every time you get to the truth- the challenge is working out what to do with them all! Boss Bill gets the most of her team and is able to translate that up to the board.

– Employees are likely to stay with the company for longer and that means avoiding the costs of rehiring- worse case 6-9 months of an the employee’s salary to locate and train a replacement and 2 years to become fully productive. Not to mention the toll on existing employee productivity and morale.

What we can help you with

Big Picture naturally generates extremely high engagement levels as you provide your people with the tools they require to share useful truths about the business. With light-touch delivery it means you can involve large group sizes, of up-to 20, with no drop off in engagement levels. This results in the highest Engagement levels we have ever seen for People and Business Development.

If you like this you might also like …

The stuff we care about is all over our YouTube channel @YourBigPic. You can have a go yourself by printing and writing on the one-pager here for a business YOU care about. I would love to take you through a taster of Big Picture in a Discovery Webinar you can sign-up for here.

And thanks for reading!