Come sviluppare integrazione e cooperazione in azienda?

It’s a riddle or, as the singer Bersani would say, a heartbreak. Diversity and differences have always nurtured our evolution and, at the same time, they have always been the object of our relentless attempts to smooth them out.
Individuals are manifold, they encompass many – at times contradicting – characteristics and behaviors: this makes us fertile, it distinguishes us. Building a dialogue across differences and diversities within a company almost always leads to a rich array of solutions while entailing the possibility to count on everyone’s best assets to implement them.

Why is building dialogue across differences and diversities complex?

In business and in life, we know that diversity is attractive (like opposites in love) but it also entails commitment and effort:

  • It requires patience to listen, compare and question points of view, approaches, and ways of doing things;
  • It involves a greater investment of time to understand, to be understood, to agree;
  • Furthermore, in order not to agree on dumbing down, it is sometimes necessary to be willing to disagree, oppose and conflict;
  • Both generative dissent and agreement are rooted on the difficult terrain of awareness and influence;
  • We have been taught us that standardization generates efficiency, simplifies control processes, minimizes the risk of errors and deviations
  • The temptation to “pretend” and then simply go on as we always did on our own is strong

Building a dialogue across differences is therefore a challenge but at the same time it is also an opportunity that generates innovation and fertility

Obstacles to the integration of diversity in companies

Nature and context stimulate us according to often contradictory logics. The need for protection and reassurance make children (and then adults) adapt to feel safe and in the “right” place by belonging to a larger group and identity. On the other hand, the equally strong drive to differentiate, to express one’s personality, to leave an imprint, to obtain well-being and joy drives us, from an early age, to oppose, to compete, to conflict.
Even in organizations these opposites coexist, at times creating frictions and disorientation.
With a view to efficiency and managerial fluidity:

  • Organizational structures tend to compartmentalize work and objectives;
  • Processes are defined and reported to achieve standardization and optimization as much as possible

  • Incentive systems struggle to measure and value individual contributions in the face of the team or the organization’s outcomes;
  • Beyond the manifest culture, disseminated with the best evolutionary intentions, more instinctual, underground logics of competition and protection (material and emotional) are at play and they are extremely difficult to eradicate;

People, with their richness and complexity, are the key to achieving a stable and sustainable integration over time.

Self-empowerment: a turning point

It is common knowledge that dialogue and integration require openness and listening skills.
The risk is of perceiving, and therefore putting into practice, these two capacities as “passive”: but what is one supposed to do with whatever they “let in”? In other words, what difference does one bring to the world?
An active approach requires:

  • Being self-aware (resources, limits, blocks, emotions, intentions, needs and desires, beliefs, values, prejudices)
  • Showing authentic interest and attention to the people and events around us
  • Being willing to contradict and be contradicted, question, challenge oneself, the others, the solutions, decisions, and plans. When appropriate. Or stand still and carry on, possibly providing ground for one’s reasons. When and to the point it is useful
  • Knowing the usefulness of downshifting when the ground requires it, to regain some power thanks to the time needed to identify different options and put them to test
  • Knowing how to experience (our own and other people’s) mistakes that may affect our evaluation and action, conceiving them as occurrences from which to learn, responsibly (and with consequent regret, anger and strain) yet not turning them into “identity marks”.

Development and self-empowerment train these basic skills, which translate into clarity of mind and effective coopetition, which, in turn, are useful for the efficacy and well-being of individuals, teams and organizations, not only in the short but also in the medium and long term.

Building dialogue across diversities and differences in companies: micro and macro

To fully express the potential that individuals, teams and organizations have to integrate and exploit differences and diversity, a development project works, ideally, on several levels:

  • Activating, in the individual, a personal and professional quality leap that improves attention and active listening skills along with the capability of discussing one’s ideas, being incisive, understating and managing the self and others
  • in parallel, even in the case of individual interventions, acting within and for the context also by directly or indirectly including other stakeholders.

A project aiming at the inclusion and integration of diversity is successful when it is supported by multiple corporate souls, willing to devote themselves, not only in words, to consolidate it.

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OUR BLOG

It collects the common thread of our thoughts and experiences. It also gives a narrative voice to the instruments we offer and the meetings we hold in the companies we work with.

I due "io" di Federico Vagni

These is us. And you, who are you?

Empowering Nerd

Una persona tiene la luna al laccio come se fosse un palloncino

Human Resources Development in companies (People Development)

From skills to potential: self-development at ST

Instruments, concepts and exercises to start experimenting and deepen the concepts of self-empowerment as applied to the development of integration and cooperation.

A as in Authenticity

The ability to keep everything in mind within ourselves: values, qualities, faults, experiences

Torreluna empowerment alphabet Nudita

N as in Nudity

Dismantling the fear of our masking being uncovered gives us energy

S as in Stepping up in class

In its broadest sense that involves our ability to put ourselves in the game

T as in Team

A space in which to develop quality and exchange pacts, provocation and mutual support

A COLLECTION OF REAL CASES

Applied in challenging situations to experience the implementation of our action first-hand

Busti romani a rappresentare la crescita professionale

Professional growth: A company decides to develop young talents to prepare them for important roles

A rapidly expanding company in the utilities sector contacts us with an urgent need to plan an action for young talents and guarantee generational turnover of value.

Go to the project
Empowerment di comunità in azienda

People Development: An empowerment path dedicated to the technical community of a company

A company with a very high technological profile wants to implement a technical career path, allowing its internal “gurus” to gain influence and authority to contribute and influence business decisions.

Go to the project

I’D PREFER NOT TO KNOW, Federico Vagni’s podcast

Are millennials human?

Diversity has always existed and categories are one of many instruments to simplify – not always appropriately! – our approach to reality. No doubt the acceleration we are experiencing in all the fields of our existence is also causing a proliferation of categories (in terms of sexual choices, aging ranges, our relationship with technologies, …). But if we talk about dialogue and integration, are categories actually useful? The example on millenials calls for a reflection that highlights the risks rather than the advantages of thinking in clusters when referring to people.

What to do with the ignorance of others?

We are well aware that the variety of ideas and characters at the basis of evolution and generativity entails labor. It also leads to dissent. We also said that dissent can be very constructive, it can raise the bar. But in the constellation of possible outcomes, there is often also judgment, which can, at times, bear little respect to the different points of view and filters each of us inevitably uses in interpreting and looking at reality. This is why we propose suspension of judgment and humility as pre-requisites to building a dialogue that is truly integrative.

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