The More Diverse, The Better
"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together."
— Malcolm Forbes, entrepreneur and publisher
Modern organizations, whether multinational corporations or small businesses, government agencies or nonprofits, require constant innovation and creative input from their people—leaders and employees, partners and customers, to truly succeed. But how do you maximize that innovation and creativity?
There are many ways to get from here to there, but diversity is one crucial factor that is often overlooked. You want your organization or business to get out of its comfort zone? You need people who aren't like you, and who aren't like each other. Instead of a feedback loop of the same information and ideas over and over again, when you foster a diverse team, you'll end up with myriad ideas and opinions, leading to more creative solutions.
As people, as social groups, as teams, as businesses, as communities—we all do better when we open ourselves to alternate views and welcome diverse people and opinions.
There's even research to back it up. McKinsey research found that companies that embrace diversity tend to be more successful. McKinsey analyzed 366 public companies and found that those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.
So, if you want to succeed, start by building a diverse team and encourage input. To take things one step further, incorporate incentives, rewards and recognition into the mix.
Here again, you should bear in mind the diversity of your team. Even people who are vastly similar will not necessarily be motivated in the same way. People vary. When designing your incentives, rewards and recognition programs, you need to keep this in mind. As always, one of the keys to incentive program success is this: Know your audience.
Take, for example, recreation and sporting goods, which we cover in this issue on page 28. Recreation and sporting goods are an excellent choice for incentives and rewards, because they give your audience an opportunity to use their award in the activities they enjoy the most. That's a great way to reinforce the good feelings associated with the reward. But the activities we enjoy the most vary a great deal from one person to another. One person's pleasure is another's pain. Some of us love biking and hiking, while others might prefer some one-on-one basketball or a day tailgating before a big game.
Diverse audiences need diverse rewards. And when it comes to your team, and your rewards, the more diverse, the better.