Why you want to diversify your network

diversify your network

During the pandemic, I have been more connected to my college friends than I have been in years. It occurred to me that my best friends from undergrad represent many different areas that have been impacted by all that has happened. My group of 7 friends from B5, my freshman hall, is diverse in many ways. The geographies covered are Texas, Greece, California, Maryland, New Jersey, and Florida. The jobs sectors include teacher, doctor, non-profit, entrepreneur, and nursing home therapist. We represent different religions, ethnicity, and political views.

We have had a continuous chat chain for the past several months, and our different views on how things should be handled is evident. School openings, hybrid education, travel, masks, nothing is off-limits. There have been many differences of opinion – and isn’t that a gift!

The Law of Similarity states, “People like people like them.” True. But it is also a trap. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people reinforces our thinking and doesn’t challenge it. We can all like and embrace those that are different. Remember, even when there are differences, there are also similarities – you just may need to look for them.

You see, having a diverse set of people in your life gives you perspective and broadens your thinking. It enables you to stay open and accepting of other people’s points of view, even though you may not necessarily see eye-to-eye. I’m sure we can all agree that a little more acceptance and understanding is what the world needs right now – but perhaps that is too lofty a goal.

Instead, let’s make it about you. Think about it, the diversity of your connections and the quality and quantity of those relationships all contribute to your personal innovation and impact. Applying that idea to the office, cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster than teams of similarly thinking people. It’s that diversity that fosters a more creative and innovative workplace.

Diverse teams and organizations make better decisions. Diverse networks give you access to different viewpoints, varied information, and extended connections.

I always believe in expanding our network and community. For example, I have loved the tight-knit group on this email list that responds, comments, and lets me know the impact of my weekly newsletter. The familiarity of the same names popping up makes me feel like I know them. In this time of COVID-19, perhaps we haven’t been able to make a lot of new connections, or maybe we just haven’t deepened them with everything being virtual. So here is one way to both broaden and deepen – in every email it says, “if you like this forward to a friend.” Have you ever? Who do you think would benefit or enjoy this content?

I am so grateful to have the B5 girls and all of you to keep me grounded, open, challenged, and connected. Who does that for you? I challenge you to forward this to a friend, and if they like it have them send me a note telling me who sent them. I’d love to see how the connections circle back.

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