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Home : News : News
NEWS | March 3, 2022

In AFMC and AFIMSC: Our differences make us stronger

By Dr. Andrew Duffield AFIMSC Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

The Air Force Materiel Command Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office recently released a new slogan, “Our Differences Make Us Stronger,” to emphasize how recognizing and celebrating our differences can help us become the "AFMC We Need."

This idea of embracing our differences to the benefit of the team isn’t just a neat motto, it’s a truth that’s backed by research and real-world case studies.

The Society of Human Resource Management surveyed organizations and found diversity led to better decision-making because teams receive various perspectives on a topic. On the other hand, teams sharing the same perspective often think alike so they’re less able to see issues or problems because they’re susceptible to group think.

Group think can be dangerous for any organization, including ours. We need to invite different perspectives and dissenting opinions into every conversation so we can encourage teams to look at problems they might otherwise overlook. By embracing and leveraging our differences within AFIMSC, we ensure our decisions are stronger and more reliable.

It’s important to clarify that diversity is more than just demographics; it’s the sum of all differences. Two people of the same race, ethnicity and gender can have different backgrounds and ways of thinking. However, demographic differences often do come with differing backgrounds and perspectives. We want to ensure all differences come to the table in a way that strengthens the organization.

Research also shows inclusive workplace cultures increase retention, innovation and productivity. All three of these elements are key to AFIMSC’s ability to enhance lethality and readiness for America’s Air and Space Forces.

Without an inclusive culture, many minorities face micro-aggressions and unconscious bias in their everyday work lives. This can be extremely draining and cause talented employees to leave.

By actively creating an inclusive culture where differences are celebrated and unconscious bias is addressed, we are better able to retain all our high-performing teammates. When people, regardless of demographics, feel included in the conversation, they offer more creative ideas. This is especially important at AFIMSC where innovation is at the heart of everything we do.

Acknowledging differences and how they can strengthen our teams and our organization can increase overall productivity. When people feel welcome at work, they are more likely to be focused and present. By acknowledging our differences, we create a sense of connectedness and invite engagement from the entire team. When we embrace individualism, our teammates spend more time on the mission and less time worrying about whether or not they can be themselves at their job.

Growing and cultivating an inclusive and equitable workplace is important to today’s Air Force and I invite, encourage and challenge everyone to further engage in these conversations. You can also show your support for AFMC and AFIMSC diversity initiatives by adding the AFMC slogan or logo to your e-mail signature block.

Remember, “Our Differences Make Us Stronger.”