There are three persuasive conclusions from the most recent research on diversity.
Firstly that increasing diversity in companies and organisations comes from designing out bias by changing processes and ways of doing things, not from awareness or training. Secondly that the diversity dividend is reaped through creating teams of difference, not aggregations of ‘superstars’ but teams and groups of people with complimentary and different skills, backgrounds and attributes. And lastly that managing these diverse teams well – which is more difficult than managing homogenous ones – is crucial to success.
So how do you manage a team to function at the highest level? The most persuasive research on this was done by Anita Williams Woolley (Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business) and her team and published in Science in October 2010: ‘Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups’
They discovered that teams that best have three attributes: (i) they know about each other as individuals; (ii) they contribute to the discussions and work equally – no one dominates – and (iii) they are diverse. (Google recently ran Project Aristotle in 2012-13 to examine 180 of their teams to discover which performed best and reached exactly the same conclusions).
In order to realize the diversity dividend, first you have to recruit diverse teams and secondly you have to learn how to bring out the best in them. “The talent to do phenomenal work together lies within us, naturally always, inherent. What we need to do is to build the structures and processes, the habits and relationships that draw it out and make it grow”. Margaret Heffernan, ‘The Bigger Prize’ 2014
We bring extensive experience to work with managers to understand:
- how teams of difference and diversity can create better results;
- how to put them together – recognize difference, value it and learn how to deploy it;
- how to be an impresario of talent and recognize that the best arises from collaboration;
- how to listen and ask open questions;
- how to resolve conflict and embrace it as a most powerful force;
- how to use an Affirmative Enquiry to see where diversity difference works in your organisation and build positively on it rather then seeing it negatively as a problem to be overcome;
- how to create positive role models
For diversity to work to your company’s, and your, best advantage you will enjoy working with us to enhance your ability to manage and lead your team well.