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What are 13 of the most common words that keep companies from realising their full performance potential? (Hint: They are 13 words that are very difficult to argue with.)
Those words are: “Hey, our goal is simply to put the best person in the job.” Can’t argue with that, can you? Who can be against putting the best person in the job??
Research has shown that the best performing teams are diverse teams. The power of diverse perspectives is such that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams….and they outperform even more capable teams.
But humans are human. When left to our own devices, many of us prefer to spend time with like-minded individuals. I’ll admit it: I often do. Frankly, it’s just easier. And it’s also easier for me to picture how somebody who looks like me and sounds like me will get the job done; this is particularly true if it’s a difficult job or a stretch assignment, because I can imagine how I would do it.
So let’s take this to its logical conclusion….with a basketball example. In any random group of UNC basketball players from the past it could well be that Phil Ford, Jimmy Black, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kendall Marshall would be the best players. But would they be a national championship team? No way. And that’s because they’re all point guards. While arguably possessing the most valuable skill set on a team, they will almost certainly be beaten by teams that have more diverse player skills.
When I have built business teams in the past, I’ve tried to round out the group by including a visionary, a doer, a sceptic, a client advocate and an “historian” as part of the team, to name a few. And I have also worked to include diverse backgrounds, whether acquired (time spent abroad, time spent at competitors) or innate (gender, ethnicity).
If we can change our mindset from “Hey, our goal is simply to put the best person in the job” to “Hey, our goal is simply to put the best team in place,” we will have accomplished a great deal on improving company performance. And we will have accomplished a great deal on increasing opportunity and diversity.