The society today upholds diversity as an absolute virtue. Diversity across educational backgrounds, race, ethnic group, gender, age is something we all pursue vigorously. It seems almost trivial to choose diversity over conformity or homogeneity in any discussion.
However, to put things into perspective, nature having evolved through millions, if not billions of years, may provide a slightly different view to this pro-diversity world. The balance and the timing of convergence and divergence play important roles in reaching the global optimum in any search space. The selection pressure from the environment acting as a converging force, offset by mutation from perturbation balancing as a diverging force are what make organisms so durable and adaptable to the ever-changing world we’re living in.
Having a set of strong company values and a mission statement act as the selection pressure for hiring, promoting, demoting, and firing of people within the organization. However, if the values are set to allow only homogeneity to thrive, the organization is subject to premature convergence of its culture, hindering the full growth potential of the company, or even worse, shifting towards the state of absolute stability, which in nature is called “death.”
By setting the company values to embrace the right amount of diversity for the organization – hiring new blood from different backgrounds, adopting new ideas, foreign technologies, and best practices from outside the company – are exactly the things that nurtures favorable mutation towards global optimum, which the economists like to call “innovation.”
Contrary to what the public believes to be of absolute truth, having high diversity can also cause complex systems, such as companies to collapse. This is why it’s important to have a consistent framework, such as company values, applied during the hiring process to ensure the right amount of pressure is put on the convergence.
As the management of an organization, leaders need to make sure the company finds the right balance between the order and chaos of its culture and people, which is crucial for the sustainable long-term growth of the company.