The old days are gone. Middle-aged Caucasian men (like me!) cannot be simply granted – or assume – the role of leading business, politics, or organisations of any type. If we want success in the marketplace, we have to see that it is not made up of simply ‘us’. It is made up of ‘all of us’. So too should our teams be at every level of the organisation. Leadership roles are not ‘granted’. They are increasingly based on vision, market awareness, innovation, and (as always) performance.
It‘s extraordinarily likely that your success depends on many different kinds of people to collaboratively design, deliver and serve – together – reflecting those who consume your product or service.
We live in a diverse world.
Then there is generational diversity. The ability of students at the graduate, collegiate, indeed, high school to tap into and understand technology and the future demands of the marketplace is nothing less than stunning. Have you been to an incubator/accelerator lately? Even more impressive, to a teenage business plan competition?
At the same time, millennials are coming into their own, middle-agers are assuming power, and the baby-boomers are staying or returning to work in ever greater numbers. Many generations working together. One team…
Diversity in the workplace equals innovation. Creativity and thinking outside-the-box are stimulated when people from different backgrounds and cultures bounce ideas off of one another. It’s not difficult to understand why – Each culture and generation has a unique way of viewing the world, approaching challenges, and evaluating solutions.
Forbes research on the benefits of aligned diversity in business, notes that groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform high-ability problem solvers. The author also points out that companies with diverse executive boards “enjoy significantly higher earnings and returns on equity.” (You can read the entire article in Forbes online by clicking on the link below.)
Your customers are likely very diverse. Your teams need to reflect that.
How do you connect to customers through culturally unaware or insensitive ideas? You cannot. The best companies have diverse teams that generate innovative ideas and practices, driven by the wide-ranging contributions of employees who, although they share a common goal, differ greatly in their approach.
Diversity is a great recruiting tool. Top talent is attracted to employers who treat their workforce fairly, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. Quality people are also more likely to stay with a company with a diverse employee makeup.
When working towards building a more diverse team, you need to start with a look at the community (or communities) in which your company is based. Is it different from your market community? Here are some things to keep in mind when working on improving diversity, according to the Wall Street Journal (see link below for full article):
Bringing together a diverse team benefits everyone: employees, customers, and the business itself. The best scenario starts at the very beginning, by building a diverse organisation from the start. Building a diverse team after the fact can still be successful as long as it’s authentic.
Originally posted here.