What's the Difference?
This post is part of a series of blog posts where I consider each component of the Thinking Environment individually, in order to better understand the relationship between the Thinking Environment and psychological safety. In this post, I focus on the component of Difference.
Difference: Championing our inherent diversity of identity and thought
What is diversity anyway? We talk about it a lot. Diversity of race, gender, experience, and personality.
In the context of creating an environment within which we think independently, as and for ourselves, I think Diversity simply means feeling safe to bring our whole selves with all of our inherent difference, unapologetically into the room.
And to me, our “whole selves” means all the diverse knowledge, perspectives, feelings and ideas, that come from whatever our individual lives have equipped us with. And those individual lives are a culmination of all that our backgrounds, personalities, perspectives and experiences have equipped us with.
When we listen to ignite the Thinking of others, as we do within a Thinking Environment, then we don’t need to be threatened or challenged by diverse opinions, ideas, or views. Instead, we can hear them as information. And we can use that to inform our own thoughts, broaden our perspectives, and imbue our own Thinking with greater diversity.
When we do listen in that way, we can be genuinely fascinated with the Thinking of the other, no matter how their thinking interacts with our own background and established beliefs. And the person we are listening to can feel safe to bring their whole self into the room.
I think this might be what I see as the ultimate potential of the Thinking Environment. The possibility that in our terribly divided and divisive world, perhaps this way of listening could open our hearts and minds to the wonderful diversity that exists. Perhaps it gives us the tool that we need to really work together as one single species, custodians of our beautiful planet.
Just imagine the potential if everyone in the world felt that safe to think as themselves.
Click below for links to other blogs in this series