I recently saw a TED talk by Rosalinde Torres, managing director at the Boston Consulting Group. She spoke about what it takes to be a great leader in the global interconnected world of the 21st century. One of the practices Rosalinde highlighted is the capacity to develop relationships with people who are very different from oneself. The differences could for example be political, socioeconomic, or cultural. Having a diverse network allows for novel solutions to come from those who have different perspectives, yet are still able to connect and trust one another to achieve a shared goal.
Listening to and appreciating diverse points of view are a fundamental aspect of successful collaborations. Many businesses today are looking for growth opportunities that require going well outside traditional networks and ways of doing business. Diversity can generate conflict and challenge assumptions, which are often the very things that fuel creative solutions for growth and change.