The importance of diversity and inclusion cannot be overestimated. Diverse and inclusive organizations are more innovative, have higher revenues, and stronger talent acquisition opportunities. In a 2018 McKinsey study, it was reported that gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to outperform the industry average compared to companies in the bottom quartile. That number jumps to 33% for ethnically diverse companies.
While gender and ethnic diversity are important, there is more to diversity than just gender, race, and ethnicity. It can be tempting for leaders to measure diversity solely on the scale of age, gender, race, and ethnicity. As leaders, we will miss the point if our diversity drive is solely focused on differences in physical traits.
Beyond the physical traits, leaders need to embrace and actively promote diversity of thought, opinion, and experience. You can look like someone, have the same gender, age, color, be a native of the same hometown, and still have a difference in opinion on a subject. This should not be the exception; it should rather be the norm. There is vigor in variety.
A great leader does not surround themselves with people who are agreeable, they encourage their teams to challenge the status quo. When scheduling your next meeting, do not invite people who will just rubberstamp your ideas – reward diverse opinions, seek for variations, and encourage the team to challenge your perspectives. Always seek to answer the question “Will my team pass the diverse-opinion test?”
Please share how you actively seek for diverse opinions.