In Walter E. William’s piece “Diversity, equity and inclusion nonsense” (Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, Sept. 9), he argues that no manager of a basketball team, particle accelerator research group or fighter pilot platoon would hire for diversity over excellence. However, most of the problems with which we deal in the wider world don’t have a technical fix, but require us to manage a balance between competing polarities over time.
In business, that might be safety versus profitability; in public life, that might be security versus freedom of movement. For such problems no unidimensional set of skills defines excellence, or the “best.” Instead, we need teams that have the widest variety of life experiences, metaphors and models, lateral and linear thinking, types of intelligences, et cetera.
Most CEO’s and board directors know that diversity is not only an important way for their company to address the educational and equity of opportunity gaps in our society, but that diversity also creates teams that are more effective at managing through dilemmas. Both diversity and excellence should be our shared aspiration.