Diversity is the Key to Effective Problem Solving

To me, humanistic management is about recognizing each individual - as an individual.  The good news is that doing this, is good for business and for society in general.

I was speaking with a friend the other day about science and humanism. Humanism encourages us to use science to better solve our problems and the science keeps validating taking a Humanist approach.

Diversity is a case in point. Problem solving is difficult. To do it well, we need diverse opinions. Because when we don't have the full range of options available, we end up choosing the best of bad options. 

The Atlantic Magazine had a short article about this - titled: How to Sway a Baboon Despot, which is about democratic decision making in the animal kingdom. And yes - lots of animals make democratic decisions, including ones ruled by despots - like baboons.  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/05/how-to-sway-a-baboon-despot/556892/

The 2 big take aways from the the article are this:

1) Lack of diverse options leads to bad decisions and bad outcomes for the group, and 
2) "Group decisions need not come easy—in fact, clashing perspectives may lead to superior outcomes. ...As long as animals share the same broader goal, a diversity of viewpoints does not tear their society apart but strengthens it, leading to better results for all."

When democratic decision making goes wrong, it's because there was a lack of diversity in proposed solutions. The article uses bees deciding where to make a nest as the main example, but it's clear - this is true in all species. 

The lesson? We need diversity and democratic decision making to get good results. And the key to making diversity work - is having shared goals and objectives.   Sounds A LOT like Humanism to me.

It isn't just animals who make better decisions with diverse democracy. It's Humans too. 

The same day I read the impact of democratic decision making and diversity on animal decision making outcomes. I also read an article about why democracies seem to be unable to deal effectively with income inequality.  

This is an opinion piece in the NY Times and it is well worth reading the entire thing because, it ultimately has to do with democratic decision making and the impact lack of diversity has on outcomes, which is what we are talking about here.  It is long - but worth the read. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/opinion/democracy-inequality-thomas-piketty.html

As a Humanist, I desire a society where everyone has the ability to thrive. This is not about equal outcomes, but about equal opportunity, which in turn requires a stable foundation on support. 

There has been a lot written about the negative impacts income inequality have on our society and on our economies. I'm not going to go back into that here and will instead, just provide a link to a couple of my articles on the subject. 

The point is - we, as a society, need to be less unequal in order for our society, economy and individuals to thrive.  How we do that - is a problem that requires solving.  We have not only not solved it, our attempts to solve it - have made it worse. 

What are we doing wrong and how can we fix it? 

The article does a good job of discussing this from a variety of scientific and sociological perspectives. The consensus is though, that poor and marginalized people aren't having their voices heard. 

I want to point out that this is not a partisan problem. It's not one party vs the other party. There are a variety of reasons why this is happening and there is not one single fix to the problem. This is what is called a "wicked problem." There are a lot of dimensions to why diverse viewpoints are not being taken into account in our democratic deliberations. There is the fact that money amplifies voices.Racism and bigotry. Propaganda and false information. Partisan/tribal thinking and more. The point is - this lack of diversity is causing bad problem solving on a wide variety of topics on a societal level.

The solution, is to make sure we not only make space for more diverse viewpoints, but that we demand that diversity. Because the lack of diversity - is hurting everyone, which is why everyone is upset. 

Taking a Humanistic approach - is not only scientifically validated, it's also a moral and pragmatic necessity. Take diversity seriously.

Because creating diverse work teams is difficult, we also need to take a scientific approach to dealing with the barriers to creating a diverse workforce - where everyone is respected. To that end - check out my training on how to use behavioral science to help with conflicts, harassment and more.

And yes - I do do group trainings.

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