2018-01-29 Issue 32 Fundamental Behavior 5 Embrace Diversity
If, like me, you are a fan of the science shows you see on the Discovery Channel or PBS, then you have seen the ones about how the different ecosystems around the planet work. From the rainforest to the desert, diversity is critical to the sustainable health of that ecosystem. Each plant, animal, and bug in that ecosystem brings a special set of qualities and attributes necessary for the system to maintain a healthy balance. Lack of diversity opens the ecosystem to risks it cannot survive, like disease or invasive species.
Companies are complex and often act like living things. Companies can be ‘healthy’ and companies can be ‘sick.’ It is intuitively reasonable to think that principles that make for healthy ecosystems can apply to ensuring the health of companies. And a number of studies have proven the proposition that diversity makes companies perform better. One such recent study was done by the world’s top consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. It showed that companies ranking in the top 25% for gender diversity are 15% more likely to perform better than those companies in the bottom 25%. Further, companies in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform better than companies in the bottom 25% of that category. Sorry for the statistics, but it proves something we Discovery Channel fans already know – good teams require diverse skills, opinions, backgrounds, and points of view to operate effectively.
This Fundamental Behavior asks us all to not just accept the competitive advantage that diversity provides, but to embrace it. It also requires that we be inclusive. Diversity requires a team to be made of people of different ethnicities, races, genders, ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and religions. Inclusion requires that the voices of these diverse team members be heard and considered.
Please take a few moments this week to think about what this Fundamental Behavior is telling us and celebrate where we are embracing diversity effectively. Also, consider areas where we can do better, how you can help us do better, and how much healthier we will be when we do.
YKK Corporation of America