Here is why Performance is the Key to Diversity
A lot of studies have been conducted to gauge the significance of diversity at the workplace. It has emerged that organizations that have significant number of women in strategic positions, tend to do better. Of course, the corollary could also be true where some cynics would imply that this trend is because organizations that are doing well, tend to involve women in senior positions in order to appear favourable. There are organizations which are focused on singular items in unitary markets, while there are others with a nationwide or even international footprint. In the former, not much of diversity is required, while obviously much more is desired in the latter kind of organizations. Thus companies must look at talent recruitment and its further management as data driven towards company goals, rather than patterns that appear nice. Imposition of diversity for the sake of it will not bring company benefits, but once the organization realizes its bigger role, diversity will be a natural by-product.
Why Diverse Teams are more Creative
While hard work and discipline are extremely important in order to bring business innovations to market, it is the moments of inspiration or ‘aha’ moments without which none of the efforts will be of any use. Thus processes need to be put in place by organizations and economies at large to generate such creativity. Such creative forces can either be developed deliberately or through spontaneous eureka moments. It has often been believed that creativity is better fostered in multicultural environments. This hypothesis was put to the test by a team led by a professor from renowned MBA institute INSEAD. It was realized that merely traveling to foreign countries for short gigs or tourism purpose does not bring any major benefits. Instead it is living abroad and immersing in the local culture that does. That is why several creative geniuses such as Picasso, Hemingway and Stravinsky have developed their masterpieces while living abroad. A professor in Israel’s Tel Aviv University has also confirmed that the concept of integrative complexity gets boosted by taking in multiple perspectives or view points. A professor in Singapore meanwhile confirmed that even in the art of cooking, best results came out when several cuisines such as Asian and American were fused together. This is why decisions such as Brexit or the anti-immigration rhetoric among several political parties in Europe and North America are dangerous for generating innovations in business.
Want an Innovative Culture? Be kind to your Creative Thinkers
In order to excel at business innovation, it is well known that creative thinkers need to be at the forefront. In order to recruit and retain such people, it is essential to have proactive talent management practices at the firm. This includes a variety of methods such as involving them in decision making, flexible work schedules, health and retirement benefits, safety protocols and diversity in the workforce. Economists have long cited the granting of patents as proof of innovative business practices. It is pointed out that Google developed applications such as Earth or Gmail thanks to the initiative which allowed workers to delve into creative aspects for certain part of their overall time logged. However, patents alone without any tangible business benefits does not prove that such practices yield practical benefits. Thus the KLD Socrates database was tracked and it was found out that within few days of new patents being granted, the stock market invariably showed a rise in value for the concerned firms clearly stating that it provides unbiased, tangible benefits to those organizations.
Leaders can turn Creativity into a Competitive Advantage
Legendary management thinker Peter Drucker in the 1980s envisaged a world where the loss of manufacturing jobs from the USA and other developed economies would offset by the emergence of micro-level entrepreneurship. While that has been realized to quite an extent, the entire vision has not been fulfilled. One of the reasons for that is that management practices have changed enormously so older models such as Toyota’s Production System which promotes efficiency above all else is no longer as relevant as it was. Secondly, the rate of change has been enormous, far exceeding the level of innovation. However, the best of leaders have been able to leverage creativity to be a competitive edge. Three major approaches have been identified. First of them is the explorer who leads from the front but instead of ordering subordinates, asks relevant questions so that a conducive environment is created for business innovation to flourish. The next approach is gardener which is leadership from behind the scenes so that the right system and tools are provided for the employees to nurture their own creativity though collaboration. Lastly, there is the player- coach approach the leader works alongside the team at all stages to be constantly there to support their endeavours.