How discomforting is diversity!
Feb 2024

In 1914, Ortega y Gasset, in his book 'Meditations of Quixote,' highlighted the distinction between being and possessing. Today, over a century later, that disparity has continued to escalate. We exist in a world where the emphasis is on possessing rather than being. Materialism holds more weight than the essential. Appearance is prioritized over authenticity. And I ponder: which of the two is more sustainable?

In the contemporary corporate landscape, the discourse on the significance of diversity has never been more pronounced. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that richness lies in diversity, particularly in a world where solutions to problems are increasingly intricate. Diversity harbors the solution to the most challenging questions. Yet, let's engage in a bit of critical thinking: where does the focus lie regarding this diversity issue—on being diverse or having diversity? Although they might seem synonymous, they denote distinctly different concepts. The former addresses the essence, while the latter pertains to appearance.

As always, incentives dictate organizational actions. When quotas are enforced, and 'diverse' requirements are stipulated, it leads to a focus on possession. Conversely, when companies grapple with complex issues and seek diversity as a solution, it embodies the essence of being. I do not critique the regulatory role concerning diversity; it is a role meant to chart a course. However, the regulator must be acutely aware of the potential side effects of these regulations. After all, as we know, makeup loses its efficacy over time.

In today's world, more heterogeneous than ever, I believe we are increasingly realizing that we must either embrace diversity and learn to manage it or face a daunting aging process. With a corporate landscape where four generations coexist, the global demographic bomb triggers, and will continue to trigger, migratory movements that will paint a more multicolored world. Technology compels us to be more human and less bound by processes and procedures. Global financial tensions sketch an uncertain scenario, where coverages become intricate and necessitate an unprecedented flexibility. In this world, either we embrace diversity, or we are destined to sink irreversibly. However, this concept of diversity looks appealing on paper, doesn't it? Everyone claims to be diverse and open-minded until the responsibility falls on us to broaden our perspectives.

Let's be honest: being diverse is incredibly demanding. How convenient it is to interact with individuals similar to ourselves. Disputes are nonexistent, everything flows seamlessly, agreements manifest almost instantly, resistance to change is absent, acquiescence defines the playing field, and the illusion that everything is progressing well shapes the landscape. This mirrors the downfall of great empires—an enchanting blindness that initially exudes simplicity but eventually transforms into an irremediable reality.

Diversity is draining. Diversity is a contact sport, reserved exclusively for the courageous. For individuals ready to relinquish the need to be right, to yield to others, to dismiss their ego and status, and to surround themselves with brilliant minds far superior to their own. Are we genuinely fostering such an environment in our corporations? Only those organizations that comprehend diversity as an intrinsic quality will possess the requisite tools to confront an increasingly diverse and uncertain world. Just as today, every company gravitates towards digitization because, in the future, a company that isn't digital will cease to exist; a similar fate awaits those that overlook diversity: a company that lacks diversity will cease to thrive.