Leaders in higher education today are facing many challenges. Some of them include: changing demographics, reduced state and federal funding, increased competition for students, and disruptive innovation in technology and learning delivery. These challenges cannot be solved by the same approaches we have used in the past. They can only be solved with new breakthrough solutions that are generated through diversity of thought and action.
With this in mind, encouraging diversity of thought and seeking diverse perspectives becomes an imperative in our workplaces. But how do we begin cultivating this skill in ourselves and others? How do we stay curious and ask the right questions?
As I was looking for a resource to help leaders seek diverse perspectives, I found a useful link at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing: http://www.csh.umn.edu/wsh/Leadership/diverseperspectives/index.htm
Additionally, here are some helpful questions designed by Wendy Morris, Founder of the Creative Leadership Studio. I encourage you to use these questions with a group of your peers or with those whom you lead. I certainly plan on it!
1) Think of a group you are (or have been) part of that has some diversity. Consider who speaks in the group. Who has the most “air-time?” Is everyone heard? If not, what might you do to change it? How could you start to do this right away?
2) How do you respond when someone comes to you with a diverse perspective that differs from your own? How would you like to respond?
3) Have you ever been surprised by a perspective you hadn’t thought of that helped you see things in a new way?
What methods have you employed to seek diverse perspectives?