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Diversity is important because, thank the good Lord, people are all different. At the very basic level, each individual has different genetics and different scripting from differing life experiences. In managing this diversity to achieve cohesive organizational purpose, we need to respect differences, yet make those differences work to­gether through a deeply shared set of organizational val­ues. This all harks back to the eternal equation:
Freedom + Order = Justice (Purpose)

Leadership means the determination and application of the right number of degrees of freedom and the correct amount of order. Freedom cannot mean permissiveness; order cannot come down to autocratic dictatorship. Man­aging the diversity within humanity requires sufficient freedom for active, innovative behavior while simultaneously providing the proper amount of direction and control that ensures cohesive, cooperative, purposeful action.
Quite simply, that is the real challenge of the diversity issue.

The Workforce of 2001
The USA, a true melting pot over the centuries, is at the high end of the diversity continuum. In my judgement the USA made diversity a competitive weapon by wisely managing the issue up to World War I. Apprenticeship training, using the stream of immigration as a renewal factor, built-in work ethics, management styles, geo-eco-nomic growth, generally smooth integration of newcomers, and a host of other factors worked to soften many negatives that could easily have arisen from the influx of such significant diversity of cultures in addition to the usual differences among people.
Many of those factors are just no longer in place. And on top of this, the diversity issue is being exacerbated by an exploding change in the workforce composition. Consider the following picture of the U.S. workforce in the year 2001 as outlined in recent research for GE's Management Development Institute:

• The white male workforce will be decreasingly signifi­cantly:
— 9 percent of the job increase over the next 10 years will be filled by white males
— the rest will be filled by women, blacks, hispanics, Asian-Americans and immigrants
• Nonwhites will represent 16 percent of the workforce by 2001, up from 13 percent in 1985—this represents 25 million additional working minority individuals:
— the black labor force is expected to grow nearly twice as fast as the white workforce
— the number of hispanic workers could increase at more than four times the pace of whites

• Feminization of our workforce is also expected to continue:
— between now and 2001, women will represent three-fifths of new job entrants compared to 40 percent in 1980)
— forces underlying women's entry into the labor force (pursuit of higher
— educational opportunities, low fertility, careers and late marriages) will continue with no signifi­cant modification
— today, 56 percent of workforce are partners of dual working couples—by the year 2001, the figure will be about 65 to 70 percent

• As the baby boom generation ages, middle-aged work­ers will significantly increase, thus graying the workforce; an increase in workers aged 35-54 from 38 percent of the total workforce in 1985 to 51 percent in 2001 (almost 28 million additional middle-aged work­ers)
• Fewer younger workers will be available because of lower birthrates in the past 20 years
• The need to find new sources of workers will result in a dramatic surge of the disabled into the workforce
• Another scenario may involve either an outright in­crease in immigration or the importation of so-called guest workers, or both to fill the expected void

The conclusion is self-evident: diversity of our people is growing and at the same instance changing dramatically. The lesson is similarly clear—we need to do a better job by orders of magnitude in managing the growing challenge of these demographics.

To be Continued


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