Dyanne Williamson, one of the principals of Forward Vision, recently saw a post about the new LinkedIn LGBTQ logo, and inspired by it, asked me to write a blog about diversity.
So, in the middle of a pandemic with a mortality rate higher among elderly, Black, and Latino people, and in the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement, I reflect…
I don’t have to wonder why Dyanne asked me to write on this topic. I’m a Latina born in a tiny country with 10% of the population white and the rest divided between Mestizos, Indians, and Blacks. I was once married to a Turkish man, and I have a DNA report longer than a roll of toilet paper. I’m the picture of diversity, but ironically, I rarely think in those terms. I guess it’s because I’ve always lived in a world of inclusion.
You see, I’ve worked in marketing for 30 years, and have been fortunate enough to travel around the world working with people of every race, age, and sexual preference. I speak multiple languages and have been successful in working with people of all colors, creeds, and backgrounds. I currently work with Forward Vision, a company owned by women that employs a workforce consisting equally of men and women from different nations and of all ages. Diversity is not only about culture or race, it’s also about gender, disability, sexual orientation, and age.
I see our company competing in a global market. The reality of modern mobility and the connectivity of populations means interacting positively with people from different cultures and races. Managing diversity in a positive and constructive way is not only consistent with the current business reality; it is also a powerful strategy for greater success.
Diversity Fuels Creativity and Innovation
The different ways we all understand and see the world, together with our varied life experiences, add value to our “creative juices.” Human diversity brings differentiation and uniqueness, which helps fuel innovation.
According to Forbes, when members of a group have a lot in common with similar points of view and shared biases, it’s more likely that unconventional ideas will be disregarded or not even surface. But a team made up of people with widely different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can consider a problem from many angles. Further, when leadership values dissimilarity, team members tend to feel more empowered to explore approaches they otherwise wouldn’t consider. Numerous studies have come to this same conclusion.
Many Points of View Increase Productivity
Distinctive experiences help foster innovative solutions through different problem-solving approaches. This leads to improved competencies, and ultimately, increased productivity. According to Microsoft, inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments. Organizations with more women than average serving on their board financially outperform their associates in the long term.
Multiple points of view improve decision-making because they generate more and better alternatives. They create more possibilities for growth and greater acceptance by a diversified workforce and client base, resulting in the best decisions for a company as a whole.
Diversity Improves Financial Returns
McKinsey’s Diversity Matters Study reports that companies with better gender diversity are 15% more likely to show financial returns above industry medians. Firms with better ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to financially outperform industry medians.
An MIT paper states that revenue increased by 41% when teams were split evenly between male and female members.
Finally, inclusion goes well beyond the borders of a company. It helps create new revenue opportunities since diversity more easily opens access to new markets that were previously unreachable.
It’s clear that fostering respect and inclusion makes great business sense. Diversity expands market share and increases productivity. But perhaps even more importantly, diversity enriches our lives and our work experiences as we grow and learn from each another.