Diversity and Cultural Awareness Cartoon
Effort to become more aware about the diversity of people around you, or the cultural breadth that prevails in your team or your organization as a whole, is built upon an open-minded attitude and a willingness to accept that the journey towards greater enlightenment is valuable and worthwhile in the first place. This typically means that individuals need to reflect upon where their prevailing attitudes may be closed-minded or limited and what needs to be done to change this (and to bring about a climate that is welcoming and trusting of diversity of belief, opinion and action).
Awareness is typically heightened, and the general organizational climate is typically changed by actively talking about diversity and by focusing people’s minds on the strengths and the benefits that it can bring. At the same time, effort needs to be committed to drawing attention to fear, trepidation, bias, discrimination and prejudice in relation to looking or acting differently or having views and beliefs that are at odds with the ‘majority’ position – this means driving an “attitudinal” change.
Changing people’s attitudes is rarely a short-term proposition and usually needs a lot of careful planning and commitment. Of course, we need to remember that we cannot change a person’s attitude – only he or she can do that. However, we can “reshape” behavior (through both rewards and even punishment) which may lead them to change. This means that the journey starts by looking to progressively raise individual awareness about diversity and culture in general, in the hope that individuals will start to (perhaps slowly) change their attitudes.