Breath of Clarity

Comment #1: Aligning Different Backgrounds

Original Post by Caleb Kiser:

Aligning people of different backgrounds and diversity is a process to create and maintain a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued. Diversity means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our differences, whether race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or other ideologies. Diversity involves not only how people perceive themselves but also how they perceive others. These perceptions determine how they interact with one another (Patrick and Kumar 2012, 1). A positive interaction between cultural diversities increases problem-solving, ability, creativity, and innovation. As Julian Bourrelle stated in his TED talk, boards with culturally diverse backgrounds are 35% better performing than boards of one culture (Bourrelle N.D.).Organizations with diverse employees are better suited to serve diverse external customers in an increasingly global market (Patrick and Kumar 2012, 14).

One strategy I would use to bring individuals together would be promoting the building of relationships with diverse others. The first thing I would do if my company did not do it already would be to require my employees to take training on cross-cultural differences. I then would require my team to break into small, diverse groups to achieve mutual goals. I would encourage open discussion between the groups on their personal opinions, feelings, and reactions (Patrick and Kumar 2012, 7). I acknowledge that this is not an easy task, and conflict may arise. However, controlled disagreements and conflict are not necessarily bad things and can even be beneficial and healthy. Ultimately, this practice would allow individuals to recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences. It would also allow me to see what social style each team member falls into, whether it be driver, analytical, amiable, or expressive. Knowing this information will allow me to communicate and interact with each team member in a manner that will benefit both of us and ultimately keep them on track and productive.


Bourrelle, Julien S. Year (n.d.). “How Culture Drives Behaviours.” TEDxTrondheim. YouTube. July 10, 2015. Video, 12:07.

Patrick, Harold A. and Vincent R. Kumar. 2012. “Managing Workplace Diversity: Issues and Challenges.” Sage open 2, no.2: 1-15

My Comment:

Hi Caleb,

Excellent, thorough definition of diversity.

The way Julian Bourelle explained how culture is learned stuck with me. Even though he came from the French speaking part of Canada, he grew accustomed to Norway’s social norms from living in the country for a while. Since Norway’s socialization typically takes place in a much more framed and organized context, he stopped a stranger to question why the person was even engaging with him. It is interesting that he responded in this way considering that, in the French speaking part of Canada, the stranger’s behavior is normal. So, mental programming can change and the brain can be re-wired.

He emphasized that when you get into a new setting, you can confront, complain, or conform with the new culture. Confronting would be believing that your behaviors are the right ones. Complaining would entail isolating yourself and living in segregation with society. Conforming involves adapting your way of behaving to truly benefit from diversity. Bourelle emphasized the importance of observing, learning and understanding the behaviors of others and adapting your own accordingly. It goes to show how much each leader and employee has the potential to adjust their perceptions to have empathy for those who are different from them. It is not about what they see. It is about what they perceive.

Your post has great recommendations about how to combat the challenge of having people be able to communicate well together by explaining cultural differences. Bourelle emphasized that we cannot expect that someone will behave the way they’re expected to in a culture that is foreign to their own. It’s necessary that we take small steps to help the world truly benefit from diversity.


Bourrelle, Julien S. Year (n.d.). “How Culture Drives Behaviours.” TEDxTrondheim. YouTube. July 10, 2015. Video, 12:07.