Unleashing the Power of Diversity provides a clear tool to create a common language across teams and organisations that reinforces positive identity, builds trust towards people and processes, supports innovation and helps make diversity sustainable.
The complex problems that many organisations and teams now face are global in scope, including cultural, social and environmental issues. Challenges such as climate change, mass migration and human rights do not respect national borders or sociodemographic groups. In order to solve these complex problems, we need the skills to be able to communicate effectively across the differences that may otherwise divide us.
In this ground-breaking book, award-winning consultant and author, Bjørn Z. Ekelund, presents a clear step-by-step approach to communicate with people who have different mindsets, perspectives and cultural backgrounds. It is relevant and applicable across various contexts – within the workplace, inter-professional, across different industries and cultures, and between corporate, governmental and NGO groups.
The programme developed in the book, called the Diversity Icebreaker, has been successfully applied across 70 countries and with 250,000 participants. It shows how to break down these barriers and provides a new way to conceptualise diversity across various boundaries, allowing for trust and unity to form and creating a pathway for improving communication.
Table of Contents
2. How to Manage Diversity
4. Three types of diversity
5. BLUE: How to Create Better Results
6. GREEN: How to Innovate and Create New Knowledge
7. RED: How to Create Collective Identification and Trust
8. How to Promote Dignity and Personal Development
9. Addressing Global Challenges through Managing Diversity.
10. About work organisations and their potential contribution to promote dignity, personal development and "Bildung".
Bjørn Z. Ekelund is Senior Consultant and Chairman of the Board at Human Factors AS, Norway, and Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Workforce Strategy, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
"It is our pleasure to endorse Bjørn Ekelund and his new book and it comes with our best recommendation. In RETHNK we design and facilitate strategic change and we create spectacular transformative workshops. We use the Diversity Icebreaker concept to improve communication and understanding between participants during a workshop. Advanced workshop facilitation brings people through three stages in our accelerated workshop: Learn, Integrate and Transform, which is also represented as a Green, Red and Blue process. The feedback we get from our customers is great because the Diversity Icebreaker helps them communicate in a simple way about complex problems."
Jesper Sonne and Carsten Arnfjord Thomsen, RETHNK, Denmark
"I have been using the Diversity Icebreaker for over 10 years with executives, graduate students and undergraduates. The class sizes have ranged from 11 to 60 participants. It has become an important tool in my courses for understanding diversity in patterns of interpersonal behavior, communication styles and work preferences. Although there is substantial statistical data for its reliability and validity, I find its face validity, simple (but not simplistic) categorization scheme and ease of use to be critical characteristics. I am not trying to make my students pop psychologists but rather provide a tool to help them to become more effective. Participants clearly recognize the three styles in their organizations and find that it usually identifies their style accurately. In addition to learning, they really enjoy the exercise."
Dr. Henry Lane, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
"One of the main difficulties working in collaborative processes where mutual respect and equality among participants are core values is the lack of a common language. Especially in welfare programs where so-called clients or other end-users of public service are invited into processes where empowerment and governance are explicit goals. Even with such aims, the dialogue often seems to move into forms and meaning that support one side, and that is seldom the most vulnerable ones. The Diversity Icebreaker does not take into account who has most prestige or which prior position the participant has in front of a DI working session. A DI session is instead coloured in a playful atmosphere where the participants gather around new concepts; Red, Green and Blue with a dialogue spinning out of those concepts with very few predefined influences from any given positions."
Lars Ueland Kobro, CEO/Senior researcher, Norwegian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation – SESAM, University of South-Eastern Norway
"Self-understanding, understanding the Other, acknowledgement, belonging, inclusiveness, trust, common language, team work and … fun. So many leitmotifs that run through the book and reflect our experience of using the Diversity Icebreaker with all the staff and students at our school for the last five years. Through the hundreds of sessions we have run with staff and students from over 100 countries, we have come to rely on the Diversity Icebreaker as one of the basic tools in our intercultural communication toolbox."
Grant Douglas, Track Coordinator, Intercultural Communication, IESEG School of Management, Lille, France
"I have been fortunate to work with Bjørn Z. Ekelund and the Diversity Icebreaker for more than 10 years. I have found him and the use of Diversity Icebreaker to be under constant development. Bjørn is engaging and a true knowledge sharer, making the research-based tool, the Diversity Icebreaker, easy to use for mentoring large groups of up to 150 participants. The Diversity Icebreaker is always highly appreciated and has received excellent feedback from leaders and employees around the world."
Annika Dybwad, Owner and senior consultant, FlexAbility Consulting AS, Norway
"I have had the pleasure of using the Diversity Icebreaker in diverse learning settings, including courses in Design Thinking and Action Research. In these courses, the Diversity Icebreaker created a powerful vehicle for deep learning at multiple levels. This includes learning about self in relation to others in the context of collaborative projects that value multiple perspectives, fostering systemic understanding in working with wicked problems."
Frederick Steier, Ph.D., Professor, Fielding Graduate University, School of Leadership Studies, and Department of Communication, University of South Florida