Diverse Teams Make Smarter Teams - 405 Magazine

Diverse Teams Make Smarter Teams

Cultivating diversity in leadership pushes businesses towards innovation.

Cultivating diversity in leadership pushes businesses towards innovation. Don’t know where to start inside your business? Be willing, seek input and don’t wait – start making changes now.

Simply put, diverse teams are better: Better for our businesses and better for our communities. In order to effectively build more diverse teams, we must be intentional.

Here’s proof:

  • Your business is 35 percent more likely to have above average financial returns with diversity in management positions.*
  • Companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market over a two-year period.**
  • Organizations with at least one female board member yielded higher returns on equity and higher net income growth than those that did not have any women on the board.***
  • Businesses run by culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products than those with homogenous leadership.*
  • Diverse teams are more likely to constantly reexamine facts and remain objective.*
* according to 2016 Harvard Business Review article.
** according to statistical models in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice.
***according to a Credit Suisse global analysis of 2,400 companies.

Here are a few ideas I believe can help us shift our thinking when it comes to building better teams – teams with more diversity in race/ethnicity, gender and age, but also different backgrounds, thoughts, perspectives and ideas:

Take inventory.

The best place to start is assessing your organization – what are you doing well? What could use improvement and what opportunities exist to better serve your current team and attract prospective talent?

  • Evaluate current policies, job descriptions, procedures and handbooks to ensure they are inclusive. This could be a number of things from paid time off to paid parental leave.
  • Revisit your purpose, vision, mission and values to ensure they align with diversity, equity and inclusion best practices.
  • Identify and acknowledge the perspectives missing from your team.
  • Review your brand and marketing messages and images and make adjustments.

Be willing to change.

It can seem counterintuitive to surround ourselves with outside, differing or varying opinions, but it’s where the best and most innovative ideas thrive.

  • Start training initiatives to educate your team on diversity, equity and inclusion terms and efforts your organization is taking. Share milestones.
  • Get key leaders on board. The C-suite has to buy in for meaningful, lasting change to take effect.

Don’t wait. Start now.

You don’t have to have all the answers. So, begin by asking: What can we start doing now to make our organization more attractive and welcoming to a broader, more diverse audience?

  • Seek input from various age groups, genders and ethnicities to better understand needs.
  • Connect with your community, and support Black-owned and minority-owned businesses.
  • Begin observing national holidays and notable dates important to others – even before these individuals join your team.
  • Set goals and measure progress.
  • Lastly, don’t burden diverse teammates with educating you on best practices. Help welcome them into a well-informed and inclusive environment.

We all want our teams to be better. As business leaders, we must take diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplaces seriously. When we do, we become more accurate, better informed, more understanding, better equipped, more innovative, and more relevant – making our businesses and communities better.

Matt Stansberry is the founder, CEO and partner at Nominee, a branding consultancy.