Why is creating a diverse team important? Do you know how to create diverse teams? As the Vulcan’s say, “Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” Diverse groups of individuals bring diverse ideas and experiences, diverse ideas and experiences contribute to increased sharing of thoughts and ideas, development of new solutions, and increased innovation. All this contributes to maximizing people –> performance –> profit™.
The workforce is changing – rapidly. Fifty years ago, offices were fairly homogenous and roles were often clearly established based on gender and race; watch early seasons of Mad Men, or the movie 9-5 and you’ll get the picture. Although there we’re exceptions, it was pretty much a given that in order to truly succeed and grow in the workplace, you needed to be white and male…or a tough as nails women!
“This is the last straw! Look, I’ve got a gun out there in my purse. Up until now I’ve been forgivin’ and forgettin’ because of the way I was brought up, but I’ll tell you one thing. If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!” –Dolly Parton (Doralee)
Now that strategy may have worked once upon a time – not anymore – it hasn’t worked in years. Now more than ever, with increasing demographic shifts and globalization, embracing diversity is an imperative to achieving success and long term sustainability. The face of the population is changing. The workforce is coming to reflect that.
So why is workplace diversity often such a challenge?
It would seem as though nowadays most people in the workplace understand that presenting a diverse (yet strategically aligned) set of ideas, services and solutions is beneficial. Presenting customers with a homogenous view of a dozen middle-aged white guys isn’t necessarily a good thing. In most cases your customers themselves are made of diverse groups of individuals. You should be presenting them with a diverse set of ideas and solutions reflecting such.
Workplace diversity doesn’t just refer to gender and race anymore either. As the VP of Supplier Diversity at a global Fortune 500 company recently told me, “…our database of vendors and suppliers, like our workforce, is so diverse that we ran out of boxes on our supplier registration form. We’ve recently switched to a new online portal that allows for multiple combinations of self identification. ” Businesses must account for diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture and various combinations of all of the above. Generational diversity has also become equally important; with aging baby boomers and incoming Millennials. The opportunities for embracing diversity are greater than ever.
Having a diverse team can lead to growth as an organization in many ways.
So yes, the idea of encouraging and embracing diversity in the workforce is extremely important. In the end, companies that are able to adapt to changing demographics, embrace diversity of the individual and diversity of thought, are likely the companies that will thrive in this ever changing competitive world of business.
About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions – an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing people –> performance –> profit™, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.
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