Happy Thoughtful Thursday! Let’s talk about diversity helps us survive.
From an evolutionary perspective, species that are genetically diverse are healthier. Diversity allows them to adapt to their environment, evolve, and reproduce more successfully. Species who are more homogenous, or similar genetically, tend to have more diseases passed down to their progeny. They run the risk of not being able to reproduce at all through genetic damage or sterility, leading to their eventual extinction.
From a business perspective, diversity means your organization is more healthy. Diversity can provide you a better perspective of your customers, more opportunity for your teams to learn from each other and grow, and creates a culture of inclusion.
Diversity and effectiveness
Harvard Business Review says it’s not enough to increase diversity, businesses need to harness diversity effectively. Companies need to stop giving lip service to the business case for building a diverse culture. Instead, companies should reshape their power structure to take full advantage of everything a diverse workforce has to offer. It’s not a panacea for increased profits but rather another tool in your toolbox toward increasing your bottom line. Diversity will elicit higher-quality work, better decision making, employee satisfaction, and equality through a foundational culture that creates psychological safety, trust, and cultural understanding.
Even if you’re a company of one, you can still harness the power of diversity by crowdsourcing ideas. Tap into your relationships with your friends, family, or followers on social media. If you’re very lucky to have all three at your disposal, then more power to you!
Seeking the perspective of others is a great way to learn and grow. After all, business is about relationships. You build relationships with your customers by establishing trust in your brand and THAT is how you make money. Building a positive relationship should always be first priority, the money will come along naturally.
Different is good
One of the more compelling reasons for a diverse team that I read about recently was in an article about why it’s important to welcome neurodivergent talent to an engineering team. The article pointed out one of the pitfalls of a homogenous team was the tendency for them to be susceptible to groupthink.
Groupthink can be dangerous for a team whose major function is to solve problems. It reduces their efficiency to brainstorm and solve problems as a group. Solving problems as a group is where the magic happens! Everyone brings their own collective thoughts and experiences to the table. People that just agree and go along with what the boss is saying you have a dictatorship, not a team.
That’s not to minimize the benefits garnered from including traditional diverse groups. Different genders, sexual preferences, ethnicity, or backgrounds–all of these are important for a well-rounded team. I do feel that sometimes the neurodivergent–ADHD, autism spectrum, dyslexics–get left out of the diversity equation.
If we remember to include ALL types of diversity we build a much richer experience for everyone. Build a team of diverse thinkers who play to their strengths, support inclusion, and encourage others to do the same. This way we can all win.