In many Western countries, the policy of diversity and inclusion has become not only the ethical standard of art but also a tool for the financial success of the business.
What business opportunities does diversity offer?
By themselves, any global social changes for business are stressful, and most often it is much easier to work without them. And yet the world is changing. And the business is changing along with the people who create brands and become their customers. The pain that businesses experience from new ethical requirements is the usual pain of a growing organism. In my opinion, the representation of different social groups expands the opportunities for business development. I’ll try to explain why.
Different people may see different ways of solving problems.
The innovation of a diverse team is enhanced by a diverse personal and professional background. People in such a company see how to solve existing problems with new tools. They can find unresolved issues and see non-obvious growth points that will bring additional value to the business.
For example, at Google, a team of Indians, Romanians, and Russians realized that it was necessary to develop mobile YouTube, which had previously been of no interest to anyone. They were able to understand this because they knew that in their countries, unlike the states, for many, the phone was the only tool for accessing the network.
The success of this idea, which came to Google thanks to the diversity of the product team, cannot be overestimated: today, more than 70% of YouTube time is spent on mobile devices.
Diversity makes the corporate structure more sustainable.
The second profit that a company receives for representing different social groups at all levels of the corporate hierarchy is an increase in the stability of the system as a whole.
When different people have access to influence on key decisions, this causes anxiety among managers. What if it outweighs the unexpected opinion? But if the “voice” remains with all team members and any influence is subject to a system of checks and balances, then there will be no reason for a situation of unexpected, dangerous turning point.
When one person has absolute power to make a decision, the likelihood of error and its cost are greatly increased. A person immersed in his part of business processes does not have a lot of observations and data.
Now imagine that the decision turns out to be wrong. The authoritarian leader does not have a base that will allow him to quickly develop a new approach: there are no other opinions because the rest cannot speak freely. This is a dangerous position for the entire enterprise – all decisions in such a business must be flawless, there is no room for testing hypotheses and a calm analytical reaction to failures.
The opportunity to discuss decisions in a team provides an invaluable basis for developing optimal hypotheses and planning different scenarios for the development of a situation. To do this, people in the company must understand that their opinion matters. In teamwork, the win-win position is more important than anywhere else: all participants in the discussion stand on the same side and move towards a common goal.