By: Brian V Moore
There are variety of diversity training programmes that claim to improve team performance and relationships in the workplace, but what do these programmes really teach? Research shows that effective training programmes require that team members teach one another through team work, competition and celebration.
Traditional diversity training is often divisive and can be misleading. It can be seen as a boring, time-wasting "punishment.' Often, and not surprisingly, team members run for cover when they hear that they are going on a "diversity training" course.
There?s no mystery in understanding why people are so scared of these training courses, as so many of us have been programmed to be wary of differences in others. We have been separated from other human beings, through our daily lives, the media, our friends and family.
There are a range of diversity training programmes which claim to suture the automatic divisions that occur in teams or groups. These include:
Traditional Diversity Training
These are programmes of facilitated knowledge sharing, traditionally in a lecture environment - sometimes through controlled interactive and contrived board or physical games. This is done with the sole intention of developing a new intellectual understanding of "others.'
These lessons are often based in the understanding of the "lecturer', or the books that are used in the development of the training. In these environments the facilitator shares while delegates "learn.'
This traditional "diversity training', can add to our separations and is made more scary by a multitude of internet-based reports which list delegate complaints of "mind programming" or of people being "forced " to learn about other cultures.
In most instances attendance is compulsory even though there is seldom any desire to attend such courses.
Often managers attend diversity training so that they can learn more about their people. This can have wonderful effects, on their understanding of their team members. It can also create a prejudiced "Them and us' effect.
"They' behave like this and "we' behave like that. Therefore I must do "this' when dealing with "them.'
These managers may have learnt far more by simply interacting and communicating directly with their team members, thereby developing wonderful, practical understanding of diversity through their team.
When things go pear-shaped in the workplace, when there is conflict at work or with a client - the "offenders' are sent for traditional diversity training. They are seen to have offended and brought the organisation into "disrepute.'
This is almost seen as a rehabilitation of the people concerned. They will often perceive it as a punishment, and that they have failed to fit in.
They will be condemned by their action, and no amount of diversity training, or behavior change, will remove the labels attached to them.
A new and innovative approach
Many years of experience in sharing human uniqueness, has led us to create the Celebrating Humanity© series of programmes.
Celebrating Humanity offers fun programmes that promote participation, communication and skills development and lead to problem-solving techniques that result in respectful, co-operative teams.
Celebrating Humanity programmes deal with workplace diversity management, diversity sensitisation, cross-cultural sensitisation and team conflict resolution.
Team members teach each other through team work, competition and celebration.
After a few sessions, other team members ask, beg or demand to attend. Respect, teamwork and communication open up in the workplace and in the family lives of delegates.
Corporate and government teams, and even members of the public are lining up to get onto our Celebrating Humanity© programmes.
The exhilarating learning methodology, content and facilitators celebrate individuals and their uniqueness, thus uniting people and their teams. Whilst at the same time developing a practical, experiential knowledge of diversity and opening up communication and further learning.