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Diversity is important to successful organizations

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. W. Chris Buschur
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Operations Group
How many folks get excited to talk about diversity? How many articles or headlines have we seen recently talking about "diversity" in a positive light? From the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, to Congress' constant struggle for immigration reform, and what seems like endless affirmative action lawsuits, we are barraged by the challenges facing our society and how to "fix" the problems.

I would like to offer a few quick tips on just how important diversity is, not just for national headlines, but to your unit and your organization.

I am a big sports fan, so for me, diversity couldn't be more apparent than when playing or watching a team sport. How many think a team of Peyton Manning's or Tom Brady's could compete in the NFL? Or how about a team of nothing but Derek Jeter's in baseball (sorry Red Sox fans)? Can you imagine how well those teams would compete at the professional level?

While sports provide some easy and obvious examples, diversity is a key input into all teams and in all organizations across the world. To be the most effective unit, you must possess all the skill required to complete the mission. Where you can, specialize on individual strengths, and your unit may gain in morale and production.

Diversity, in its most basic form, is all about having the variety of skills available to accomplish a given task. According to our AFI 1-1, "Diversity provides our Total Force an aggregation of strengths, perspectives, and capabilities that transcends individual contributions."

Much as sports team recognize that different positions require different skill sets or attributes, the same is true for our organization here at Team Scott. Our ability to capitalize on the strengths and expansive skill sets of our team is what makes us Showcase.

Some supervisors and leaders are trained in identifying the positive attributes of others and we would all benefit from spending additional time learning about our peers and subordinates. Development of these skills can not only make the unit better, but also dramatically increase the morale of team members. Education on how to identify and use strengths is primarily available through our professional development programs, but can be found in many books.

I ask you to refocus the "diversity" mantra many have adopted by way of national press and attention and refocus it on how important a part it plays in our organization. Appreciate the different backgrounds and attributes each person brings to support our diverse mission and learn how we can improve by matching those skills to an already great organization.