Enabling Diversity of Opinion in Your Organization

This is an excerpt from our recent ebook collaboration with BambooHR entitled How to Turn Diversity Into a Major Asset for Your Organization. Download the full ebook here.

Opinion is a lot harder than diversity of time, tenure or industry to monitor and measure — it’s actually really difficult — but it’s essential that we understand how diversity of opinion can prevent organizational stalls, insulate against risk to a certain degree and lead to better, more innovative ideas.

Much like building your organizational systems to incorporate diverse levels of experience, you want to make sure your teams include people who have differing opinions — but who are able to communicate, empathize and work together. This is critical in designing a well-balanced organization.

Voicing Differences of Opinion

Take note: This can be a bit of a Pandora’s Box situation, and if you don’t have good communication skills that reflect a variety of communication styles built up as an organizational competency, start there. But every team — especially executive teams, product teams and really any team that makes big decisions — is healthier if it involves people who are not only likely to have different opinions, but who are also willing to voice those opinions and can do so diplomatically and effectively. When you recognize these people within your organizations, know that these are the folks who should be put into leadership development tracks, success planning programs and the like.

Decision Paralysis

A common concern around designing your organization for so many opinions is that the company or team will suffer from “decision paralysis.” But here’s the thing: In organizational settings, it’s usually the absence of enough opinions that creates uncertainty, and results in hesitation to move forward. Of course, like most things, this varies by company.

Here’s an example you might relate to, though: Say you have a decision maker who tends to be a little rash — someone who moves forward without much due diligence. In this case, if you put a person on the decision maker’s team who is able to act as a check and balance, that can be really healthy. Not only because it’ll ensure that additional options, ideas and perspectives are considered, but also because that person, automatically, just by nature of being himself or herself, acts as a constraint to slow down hasty decisions.

Diversity of opinion — though certainly more difficult to enable than some of the other types of diversity — is another tool HR can use to build teams that deliver positive outcomes to the organization.

Interested in a further deep-dive on diversity? There’s a lot more info in the ebook—grab a copy today!

Tell Us What You Think

Does your organization aim for diversity of opinion while building teams? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.