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Importance of Making a Step from Diversity to Inclusion

Monday August 17, 2020

Diversity matters for the success of your business. As McKinsey has shown in their research, diversity correlates with better financial performance:

The concept of “mutual information and knowledge” is central to understanding the positive impact of diversity. Sinan Aral (NYU Stern School of Business & MIT), Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Marshall Van Alstyne (Boston University & MIT) explain this well:

  • While teams who share significant amounts of mutual information and knowledge may be more harmonious and better able to communicate and coordinate effectively, knowledge homogeneity can reduce learning, creative problem solving and performance
  • In contrast, more diverse teams can apply broader, more novel expertise, making it possible for “diversity to trump ability“. Teams with less expertise but more diversity can outperform teams with more expertise but less diversity.

HBR notes that diversity advantage isn’t automatic. The uncomfortable truth is that diverse teams can underperform homogenous teams if they’re not managed actively for differences among members. But if you create conditions that allow team members to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the table, you can create an unbeatable advantage.

What are the implications for teams?

Diverse teams need inclusive environment to realize their full potential. Team leaders should ask themselves: “Am I maximizing the effects of diversity on our outcomes? Are my team members comfortable being authentic and sharing their unique points of view? Are differences in opinions perceived as a positive attribute of our team?” Leaders have an opportunity to leverage virtual experiences to help team members deeply connect with each other and learn the value of novel perspectives.

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3 more experiences to help with inclusion

What if we became more purposeful about the space we create? What learning could your team take from a brewery?

Metier Brewing is an award-winning craft brewery in Seattle. They have mixed purpose and principle to create both a line of beers and taprooms that make people feel seen and welcomed.

Receive an elegant kit...

Why can some sports teams perform together in ways that exceed potential? Why do other sports teams fail to play cohesively?

Four-time Olympic medalist Summer Sanders joins you live. She will discuss three norms of high-performing athletic teams – willingness to be vulnerable, accountability for action, and shared mindset – and help your team apply...

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