Diversity of Mind

In this episode, Wendy Kane, Director of Sales Leadership Development at Ricoh Americas Corporation, explores diversity’s influence on leadership training.

Episode Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Leadership Quick Takes from The Center for Leadership Studies. In this episode, Wendy Kane, Director of Sales Leadership Development at Rico Americas Corporation, explores diversity’s influence on leadership training. For The Center for Leadership Studies, here’s your host, Sam Shriver.

Sam Shriver

How is leadership training influenced by diversity?

Wendy Kane

I think at the end of the day, people are people, and I think that everybody is an individual. To a large extent, you have to treat them like an individual regardless of what the diversity is for this person. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. It doesn’t really matter what your ethnic background is. What matters is who you are personally. So there’s going to be women who like X, men who like X, women who like Y, men who like, so there’s going to be a whole range. Learners are different, and they’re different for a lot of reasons that are not necessarily easily pegged to the bucket, the category or the protected class that I could drop you into. For me, leadership is about diversity of mind, more so than it is any of the other things that you could tag to.

So, we talk about disk profiles, right? We talk about things that are different styles. Myers, Briggs Inventory, it doesn’t matter which style map you choose, but those styles bring very different pictures, different viewpoints, different approaches, different communication styles, and different engagement needs. So, what I look for in building a team is diversity of mind. And by default, a lot of the other diversity comes along with it. The challenge I see from a leadership standpoint and where it fits into leadership programs is we don’t do enough of really understanding and embracing different people, and it doesn’t matter again what those differences are. The reality is that if I look for the strength and I look at what’s positive about this person, and I leverage that for the betterment of my team and for my company, we’re winning.

If I try and hire in my own image or if I try and make everybody do the same thing in exactly the same way, I miss innovation. And innovation is one of the most critical things I’m seeing as a gap, as a shortfall, when you start looking at somebody willing to listen, somebody willing to be open-minded and somebody willing to lean into a different idea. Maybe something I never thought of. Well, how many things in the world today would never have been created if somebody weren’t willing to think outside of how we’ve always done it? Diversity of mind is more important than any other kind of diversity, but you’ll kind of lean into all of that by just accepting that people are different and there’s nothing bad or wrong about that difference.

What I want to know is how do I tap that and leverage it?

Conclusion

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