Why Cultural Harmony?
For the past 40 years, organisations like SACBW, have been evolving and continue to at a steady pace. A defining moment happens when an organisation decides to do business beyond its boundaries and start embracing and engaging people of different cultures. This brave move is seldom without resistance from some current members and a surprise from the new other groups.
However, it is debatable to ask if cultural harmony is possible and if it can yield any positive results?
Culture is defined as the way people do things; the ideas, customs and social behaviour of particular people or society. Meaning different groups may have different cultures, as it is in our beloved Mzansi.
dictionary.com, on the other hand, describes harmony as the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce a pleasing effect. I’m not a musician, but I realise that for the pleasing effect to happen the musical notes have to be different; different cultures, characteristics, backgrounds, skills, experiences, etc. The pleasing effect that can be realised would be:
- Variety of different perspectives. When people who have different characteristics backgrounds, experiences, skills, and talent come together; there is a high likelihood of great results when it comes to planning and executing strategies.
- Increased creativity. The beauty of multiplicity in business is that when people look at the same thing differently a pot of fresh new ideas is bound to be born. This will increase the creativity of the business, new ways to deliver service, product development, selling techniques, etc.
- Quicker problem solving. People from different backgrounds, who have various experiences and perspectives, can come up with different solutions quicker. This quickens the process of choosing the best solution.
- Increased profits. Instead of doing business with or selling to the same group, there is a wider market. With a variety of people come from different locations, needs which the business can tap into.
- Social cohesion is when members of society cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper, through fighting exclusion and marginalisation, creating a sense of belonging, promoting trust and offering all members opportunity for upward Cultural harmony in business environment can help speed up the process of South Africa becoming a socially cohesive country.
Surely there are many more benefits of cultural harmony that can be listed. A few Ts & Cs though are needed for this pleasing effect to happen; there have to be intent. Just as a song is created, the composer is intentional about the harmony they seek to produce.
We also have to be intentional about creating cultural harmony, it cannot happen haphazardly. Processes and environment has to be created to allow and encourage harmony, if not it becomes a dream never to be realised. It has to happen organically, meaning it cannot be forced on anyone. It can however be encouraged through educating and learning from each other.