Unity In Diversity

In a recent post, we looked at how diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. is necessary for an organization to achieve it purposes. If you have not read it yet, I would recommend doing that now. Today, I want to look at how diversity may not be enough. We also need unity.


All-Stars Without Diversity

In the other post, I described a hypothetical situation where the Atlanta Falcons signed five new all-star players for their roster. All five were quarterbacks. The leadership of the team knew they did not need five quarterbacks, but instead planned to play these all-stars in the offensive line positions.

I talked about how ridiculous this would be (if it were true) and how ineffective it would be to put quarterbacks on the offensive line. I don’t think anyone argued about this opinion.

Same True For Business

We then looked at the parallels between a football team and our businesses. Regardless the organization, we agreed that we needed among our members a diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. if we want the team to be effective.

While this is true, there is more to the picture.

What About Unity Of Purpose?

Think about this. Assume for a moment the Falcons did not sign five quarterbacks, but instead had all of the best skilled players in the league for each position and had them playing in the right positions. Sounds much better, right?

Well, now assume the quarterback had decided he was going to set a new record for the most rushing yards for a quarterback. The running back set his goal as the most receiving touchdowns in a season. The linemen determined they would seek the record for the fewest injuries in a season for an offensive line. The coach is convinced he can orchestrate the most come-from-behind wins in one season.

Do you get the idea? If each player has a different goal – even if it is a valid, challenging goal – then the team will self-destruct! Can you imagine what a game would look like for this team?

Unity In Business

The same principles apply in our businesses. If we hire the best people and put them in the right positions according to their skills or gifts, we are starting off on the right foot.

However, if we do not work just as hard to make sure they all have the exact same overall goals in mind, we are simply setting ourselves up for failure. There is no way for an organization to be successful in achieving the purposes for which it was created if the members of that organization have varied goals.

Take a look at your own organization. Does everyone have the same goals as you do? Are these goals communicated clearly and consistently? Do you make corrections to the goals of those on your team as it becomes evident they are different from those of the team?

What Does Scripture Say?

In case you are wondering what the Bible says about this principle of unity, I suggest we go there to find out. In fact, we can use part of the same passage of Scripture to illustrate this point on unity as we did for the point about diversity. Take a look:

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Note the following phrases:

    God has put the body together…
    there should be no division in the body…
    its parts should have equal concern for each other…
    if one part suffers, every part suffers…

I think it becomes clear that diversity is important, but it must be combined with unity if we are going to be effective. The right skills in the right positions, all with a common goal, can achieve amazing results!

Which is more of a problem for your team: unity or diversity?

What action step do you need to take to begin correcting this?

Is your team aware of the need for change?

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  • Absolute truth: God’s creation displays the unity of His diversity. We are called to do likewise in our daily world, whether at work, within our family, among our circle of friends, or out among our neighbors. There should be no safe haven for disunity.