By Declan Noone
As an advocate of positive and mindful leadership, I see with 100% clarity the importance of building a diverse team and organisation from a creative, innovative, productive and performance perspective. In fact, in a piece I wrote called ‘A positive leader is a pragmatic leader’, two of the three things you should be doing to drive exceptional personal and organisational performance are: create the conditions to enable performance; and ask yourself, what demotivates my people? These fit neatly into the context of creating an environment which embraces diversity, maximises the benefits it brings, and encourages people to be true to themselves.
Research continues to support the benefits of diversity in organisations, such as the fact that ‘non homogenous teams are simply smarter’ and that scientists think ‘that diverse teams may outperform homogenous ones in decision making because they process information more carefully’. The data is clear for all to see, and decades of research into social diverse groups support the facts that ‘Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working’.
From a commercial and business viewpoint, a Credit Suisse Research Institute report titled Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance, which was a global analysis of 2,400 companies, found that organisations with at least one female board member yielded a higher return on equity and better average net income growth than those with no female board representation. It stated that some of the key reasons why greater gender diversity could be correlated with stronger corporate performance were:
- A clear signal of a better company;
- A better mix of leadership skills;
- A better reflection of consumer decision makers; and
- Improved corporate governance.
So, when you follow those findings, further evidence is provided by the 2015 McKinsey Report Why diversity matters, which analysed 366 companies across a broadly geographically dispersed and industry range and found the following:
The case for a strong diversity and inclusion policy within your company is obvious.
PAPER, POLICY, PRACTICE
So, what approaches are being adopted to embed D & I?