Check the roster of any of your favorite sports teams and you’re likely to find a diverse line-up of talent. How far would any soccer team get by filling their roster with only goalies? How many championships would a basketball team win if they only focused on their point guards? Both positions are valuable to the team, but they’re not the only players. It seems we understand this concept well when it comes to sports, while we find difficulty in embracing the same logic when hiring colleagues for the work we do.
What’s your strategy when it comes to talent diversity on your team?
Too often, we choose people like us because we understand our own talent, but have not taken the time to understand others’. Because our team of point guards might inevitably score a few baskets, we fail to recognize and calculate the cost of ignoring the importance of recruiting those players whose strengths lie in other positions. In other words, how many MORE points might we have scored with the right mixture of players in place? The same is true for the workplace.
People often find themselves trying to make the case for the importance of diversity. When the potential loss is not pronounced or blatant, this can prove difficult. When a team doesn’t directly experience the true gain that comes with the strength of every position, they often don’t know what they’re missing. Unfortunately, this leads to the research suggesting the high correlation between success and having a diverse team remains theoretical.
It’s up to us to take the theoretical to the practical. Don’t wait for others and don’t make this idea exclusive to the workplace. Take measures to test this in your personal life. Consider the areas in your life where you get to invite others in. Maybe it’s just a cookout. Try inviting others that you have not usually included. Expect to discover something good. The experience will undoubtedly deliver, and you can build from there. The key is to start.
Our theme song is “Let’s Start the Dance” by Hamilton Bohannon.