The Diversity of Diversity
The Diversity of Diversity
The last 2 years have seen talk of diversity in organizations massively escalating. Recruiting with diversity in mind needs to be more than a decision about race, color, or gender. Diversity is also about thinking styles, action, and process orientation. Building your team right, means considering where your team is going in terms of company strategy, what behaviors are needed in the team, and how to include them in a balanced way.
Many businesses hire with a focus on experience, education, and knowledge. Diversity in terms of behavioral styles is seldom on the table. If we hire based on a person’s skills, and they end up fired, it is almost always for their poor behavior fit. This fact is one that hits home too commonly when used around managers and HR personnel. If behavioral styles are considered up front as part of the job and team fit, retention and engagement is improved, and the team member’s job satisfaction is too.
Why do we need behavioral diversity?
Teams are designed to be teams – on any sports team you need a balance of offensive and defensive behaviors to create a successful team. Each player has their own strengths. You have the diversity of those fast runners, high jumpers and someone who is uber agile. Each player brings a different talent to the team. When we have too many players with the same talent, the team becomes unbalanced and ineffective.
Similarly in a business setting, a team of strongly independent, detail-oriented people can create a highly competitive environment where ideas are not shared, detail is infinite, and delegation is few and far between. An environment that could quickly get toxic and cause frustrations within the team and for anyone else who is a stakeholder. Introducing diversity means balancing the team strengths and strategy to ensure that there aren’t too many players playing offense.
How do we build a team with diversity?
When building a team, first consider the core strategy and function of the team. For example, consider a team that prioritizes quality. It would make sense you look for those people who are systems driven, and detail focused to fill any voids on the team. First question is how do you identify those systems, detail-oriented thinkers? Next question is, if you have too many details focused people, who will get the work moving down the pipeline? They may end up too precision driven and get bogged down in the details and indecisiveness. Bringing in a proactive, results oriented person could be just the diversity the team needs.
Essentially many skills are trainable, so consider the individual’s natural behavioral traits in the hiring process. Identify the role the team unit has in driving business strategy and determine the key behaviors that align. Diagnose existing team members behaviors and look for any gaps that need filling. When a team is balanced, and individuals appreciate the behavior styles each person brings to the team, productivity, communication, and collaboration increase.
Building a diverse team based on behavioral strengths ensures the work gets done, tensions are soothed, decisions are made, and the business flows.
Predictive Index is a versatile tool that makes team diagnosis and predicting behaviors easy. At PI Midlantic, our consultants work with you to align your business strategy with the right people in the right roles, while adding enough diversity to create high performing teams.
Vivien Hudson, PI Midlantic Consultant