The human condition predisposes all of us to blind spots. Blind spots, by definition, are things we cannot comprehend alone. By having another person involved, you can become more aware of your blind spots and thereby improve your knowledge, awareness, and performance. This is not only true for individuals; it is true for organizations.
Alice P. Gast is the president of Lehigh University. She wrote recently in the Forum section of Scientific American on the power of diversity within the scientific disciplines (Boundary Conditions May 2012, p. 14). Gast explains diversitys power in that context:
Few realize how much science is energized when team members have different cultural approaches to problem solving. International diversity is just as important as diversity of discipline. . . . The power of this diversity of thought comes alive in international conferences where there is opportunity to listen, ask questions, think about problems, confer with and critique one another, and continue the dialogue after the meeting is over. (p. 14)
The more I have lived and grown, both professionally and personally, the more amazed I have become at the power of diversity. Diversity does not automatically mean another persons viewpoint is intrinsically right or wrong. It does however mean we can raise our awareness to appreciate the plethora of viewpoints that come to the table. And in the best of cases, diversity means we can incorporate insights that lead us to a superior solution.
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