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Your Team’s Secret Weapon

Solving problems can be challenging, that is after all why they are called problems. It gets harder though if it is something completely out of left field, something that is completely new to you and just leaves you stumped. It can be stressful at times, especially if you have a bunch of people all depending on your decision.

Thankfully, you are part of a team and you are all going to pull your weight and going to do your bit. Every member of the team brings past experience and a different set of skills to the team and so solving the range of problems and crafting a solution and a way forward that is the right one should be achievable except for one thing…. Everyone is thinking the same way, saying the same things, and agreeing with everything that is being said, especially if that is being said by the CEO. When I see this, I think just one thing, you guys are in deep deep trouble.

Bias 

Bias can be both intentional and unintentional, when it comes to your team unintentional or unconscious bias is the big problem and is a tricky thing to see in yourself so there's tend to need to point it out, and that takes courage and a level of psychological safety that may well not exist.

When it comes to building a team looking for 'like minded people' or 'another Dave' because lets be honest Dave is a star sounds like a great idea but actually it's a terrible idea. That bias that says that you need to have people that as similar to yourself or someone else in your team results in a team that is essentially one person or may as well be. You all think the same way, agree to the same things and work through the same processes and you are all nice to each other because why wouldn't you be nice to yourself?

The problem here is when those problems hit, you are essentially back to trying to solve the problem with one group mind, with one person and not a bunch of people. That results in a very limited pool of ideas and very little debate about the right way forward, and why would you debate, there is really only the one solution that you can all see anyway.

Drive Diversity 

Great organisation drive diversity into their organisational teams. They look for people with differing backgrounds, different ethnicities, different viewpoints, they make sure there is a great mix of humanity in that team from every walk of life. Once they assemble that team they make sure they know the rules argue out the merits of the points of the discussion, push hard, demand answers and facts to allow you to really argue properly. Be open to being challenged, expect to have to defend your viewpoint, expect that there will be times your viewpoint is different from everyone else but remember that does not mean it's wrong.

By driving that diversity, the level of thinking that is possible is amazing, it is truly a sight to behold. Where once there was a clear it has to be answer A becomes a range of options that can be explored by the group to settle on the best or perhaps they debate their way to yet another solution that presents itself during the discussion. In short, diverse groups make better decisions.

That sort of magic is only possible with diversity in your team, of avoiding group think or the dead-end routes.

Research has shown, for example, that organisations with female board members outperform organisation without them. Leadership teams with higher levels of diversity both in terms of ethnicity and gender again outperform those who don't (and not by a small amount), the McKinsey & Company report Delivering through Diversity showed a 33% likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin from those less diverse leadership teams, that sounds pretty good to me. Moreover, if you want to have a diverse workforce and improved culture then you can only do that with a diverse leadership team. Diversity in short is you teams secret weapon, use it wisely.

To Sum up 

I really wanted a better summation for this article than just drive diversity and everything gets better so I can't think of a better way of summing it up than a quote from this man, Ernest Rutherford, the famous kiwi who split the atom and won the Nobel Prize for chemistry :

"a group of individuals of varied mental outlook, is able to achieve results which far transcend the imagination alone of the greatest philosopher"

by Ernest Rutherford

Sounds like great chemistry to me


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Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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