Let’s start with this first edition of TRANSFER magazine in 2018 by briefly looking back at the focus topics last year. The four leading topics in 2017 were: Always on the Go; Achieve More through the Network; Thinking Laterally: Thinking against the Flow; Brave New World of Work!? These topics underscored the traditional competences offered by Steinbeis: innovation, technology, and change. Also, as is typical for Steinbeis, these competences were made tangible by linking them directly to the projects that were implemented with companies. The second big topic of this edition is “A Society Undergoing Change” and this is a direct reference to the picture of things changing continuously. Nonetheless, it does come after the main topic: diversity. So what’s the link?
On the surface, diversity means nothing more than lots of variety. When you look at its societal impact, diversity is currently also heard in the context of refugees. What was until several years ago mainly considered a negative thing in conversation is now coming under an increasingly positive spotlight. The economic and political framework is changing rapidly and this is unveiling more and more opportunities for a society and world of work shaped by variety. Of course, as is often the case, a lot here depends on a positive attitude toward change and diversity. I for one am convinced that diversity is already a crucial driver of creativity and innovation for companies right now, and in the future this will be even more the case.
Diversity within companies or teams is reflected in a multitude of ways: women, men, older people, younger people, people experienced in an industry, people coming in from outside an industry, locals, people who moved to the area, people with different behavioral patterns, from different cultures, or with different political values, and also with different emotions. The fact that this diversity exists can, to use a metaphor, be considered an undiscovered treasure trove. Sometimes opening up this treasure trove or encouraging people to use it will throw a spanner in the works and some people will get emotional, which is probably not surprising. So in times of change and diversity, it’s all the more important to have a solid foundation of trust, communication that is credible and genuine, and clear guidelines when it comes to dealing with conflict. This is because it is only when managers and their co-workers understand one another – despite their differences – and fully trust one another, that they can learn from one another, work together on goals, and be inspired to bring about something new. And the gold of diversity is extracted. Be inspired by the following articles from our colleagues at Steinbeis and have the courage to enter the gold mine of diversity. Use diversity and change as an opportunity to innovate. I wish you success!
With kind regards,
Wolfram Dreier is the director of the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Human Resources Management and Corporate Communications. After many years’ experience as the managing director of municipal economic development bodies and the board member of a medium- sized mechanical engineering company, Dreier studied in his spare time outside work to earn an M.A. in Mediation and Conflict Management. His role as a business mediator involves supporting companies and organizations during periods of conflict and helping them with difficult decisions. Dreier is a member of a mediator pool at the competence center for nature conservation and energy transition (KNE), which is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment. He also provides support to local authorities and investors during citizen participation processes.
To contact Wolfram Dreier, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org