I bought a new piece of art for my office recently. Something about the colors in the canvas caught my eye and I liked how it looked against the black accent wall where I hung it. I snapped a photo and sent it to my best friend Andrea, a professional organizer and the owner of Smartly Organized, LLC. Needless to say, she has a great eye, so I especially value her feedback. Her reply: “No wonder you like this so much, Kel. The oars are like your employees—pointed in the same direction, but each one unique.”
Wow–what a cool perspective. And it’s true. I have a small team of individual contributors with diverse backgrounds, and that diversity helps us to create terrific work for our clients. Each member of the team makes a unique contribution, using her skills and experiences to help deliver on a common goal. Without a doubt, if we all had the exact same educational backgrounds and career paths, it would be much more difficult to bring different perspectives to a creative or strategy session. However, with a teacher, a production expert, a copywriter, a salesperson, a marketer, a creative director, and project manager around the table, we’re able to build on each other’s ideas and fuel innovative discussions in a more productive way.
The power of diversity doesn’t end with the team. We also strive to understand the diversity of those on the receiving end of the internal communications we develop. Rarely are the organizations we work for homogeneous; they too are diverse in their roles, experience and demographics.
For instance, we were recently challenged with creating a strategic engagement plan for a large team that includes employees from multiple vendors and partners. Team members have varied tenure and come from many different company cultures. Complicating things further is the fact that co-employment arrangements, parent organizations, and regulations prevent certain kinds of information from being shared with everyone.
Building an inclusive set of communications for this group was certainly a tall order. But we started by focusing on each person’s unique perspective and the ways in which they help the team to achieve its shared objectives. The more we learned, the easier it was to create compelling messaging and engagements to connect them to one other and their shared goals. As well, we were able to design communications that helped other parts of the organization to understand what this larger team did and how they contributed to the overall goals of the company. We were able to show that team members were, “pointed in the same direction, but each one unique.” You can bet that I’ll be looking up at my new canvas a lot as we help this client.How do you do to tap into the diversity of your employees?