Leverage Diversity for Greater Success

From http://thefutureleadershipinitiative.wordpress.com

As Adam Vaccaro points out, diverse workplace might ultimately create better results, as some new studies suggest.

“The study, detailed by NPR, looks at the work of scientific researchers and finds that papers written by multicultural teams were cited in other research more often than those written by homogenous groups. In the world of research, citations are seen as a metric of quality.

Ethnic diversity wasn’t the only harbinger of success. The same study also found that groups with members from geographic areas-perhaps three cities in the same country-also created better papers than those with members from the same place.

“It’s a matter of looking at individual teams and making sure they’re different perspectives, different points of view, different backgrounds,” NPR’s David Greene says.

The principle isn’t an entirely new one. The idea that different perspectives result in better work has been explored from a more macro-economic perspective, as research shows that diverse cities experience more economic growth. The idea is also at play in research showing that companies with females on their boards financially outperform those that don’t (have females on their boards).

From http://www.meritor.com

People tend to think of diversity as simply demographic, a matter of color, gender, or age. However, groups can be disparate in many ways. Diversity is also based on informational differences, reflecting a person’s education and experience, as well as on values or goals that can influence what one perceives to be the mission of something as small as a single meeting or as large as a whole company.

Diversity among employees can create better performance when it comes to out-of-the-ordinary creative tasks such as product development or cracking new markets… The researchers found that informational diversity stirred constructive conflict, or debate, around the task at hand. That is, people deliberate about the best course of action.

Diversity is the crucial element for group creativity. Innovation teams tasked with creating new products or technologies or iterating existing ones need tension to produce breakthroughs, and tension comes from diverse points of view. This is the opposite of groupthink, the creativity-killing phenomenon of too much agreement and too similar perspectives that often paralyzes otherwise great teams.

From http://www.nissan-global.com

 According to McKinsey Quarterly, between 2008 and 2010, companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers. That’s probably no coincidence. There are many reasons companies with more diverse executive teams should outperform their peers: fielding a team of top executives with varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can broaden a company’s strategic perspective, for example. And relentless competition for the best people should reward organizations that cast their nets beyond traditional talent pools for leadership.

Leverage Diversity for Greater Success

😉

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Clock this: One can do good in any field of endeavor

“One can do good in any field of endeavor.”

( from ‘A writer’s Diary’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1876 )

Trevor Baylis OBE - Supporter of The Climate Change Challenge
From http://www.climatechangechallenge.org/

Clock this: My life as an inventor
by Trevor Baylis

(excerpts)

“Our factory in Cape Town opened in 1995… The words BayGeb Power Manufacturing blared out from a white board in bright-blue lettering three feet high. BayGen is short for Baylis Generators and it was the first time I’d had my name emblazoned on anything…

I had been party to all the plans and knew we were setting up a multi-racial factory employing people of different abilities. But none of our discussions had prepared me for the emotion of seeing our grand plan in action. On the same production line were people of all colours and talents. It was a totally integrated workplace – black, white, brown, male, female, English, Afrikaans, Xhosa… The limbless working next to the blind, deaf people in partnership with the able-bodied, wheelchairs and crutches among the benches, the feeble co-operating with the strong…

It was very humbling. The girl smiling at me there is blind. The bloke sitting at the bench – deaf. Those two guys pushing the heavy trolley have only got two legs between them…

All of them worked with rhythmic precision, chatting and laughing. A few singing along to a Freeplay radio (the name we gave to clockwork radio)…

The factory is partly owned by Disability Employment Concerns, an agency sponsored by the Liberty Life Foundation. They are responsible for training the 35% of the workforce who have handicaps. All the workers – able-bodied and disabled – earn the same and their rates compare well with other factories…

As I walked along the line and chatted to the people making the radios I was overwhelmed by their warmth towards me. “This is the first job I’ve had since I lost my arm,” said one young man clasping my hand in his. “I can go one better,” said the blind girl sitting next to him. “This is the first time anyone ever employed me”…

Walking around the plant was like a tonic. People in Africa have a wonderful capacity for laughter and enjoyment, whatever they are doing. In Britain, we may be better off, but our lives seem harsher and more embittered by comparison. There was more undistilled delight there that morning than I’d met in a long time, and for me it was a reawakening.”

From http://ashleaturner.blogspot.co.nz/

The Clockwork Radio
created by Trevor Baylis

This extremely clever ‘wind-up radio’ was developed by the British inventor ‘Trevor Baylis’ for Third World countries where affordable energy is scarce or non-exsistent. This radio uses no batteries and does not need any electricity to run it. It is powered by an internal clockwork generator, which when fully wound up provides enough electricity for long periods.

The clockwork product is not a new invention. The Victorians used this mechanical system quite extensively. Their clockwork toys incorporated this mechanism. What is innovative is the way in which ‘Baylis’ has used this simple but effective means of creating electricity to both help the people of the Third World and to develop a product which is selling extensively in Western Europe.

The radio has been personally endorsed by Nelson Mandella.

Photo courtesy of Freeplay FoundationFrom http://cuso-vso.netfirms.com

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The power of constructive disagreement

Untitled-1
From Saving Your Team with Constructive Dissension

Disagreement is a precious resource in learning, judgment and decision-making. Often people avoid openly expressing disagreement in a fear of offending others or as the result of the peer or team pressure. That neglect of disagreement results in the failure to benefit from the constructive forces of disagreement, including:

1. Improved communication:

  • Clarification and greater understanding of ideas
  • Increased retention of relevant information
  • Increased use of critical thinking skills

From http://howtobeaspeaker.com

2. More productive teamwork:

  • Stimulation of interest and involvement
  • Stronger working relationships and cooperation
  • Increased interest and motivation for problem solving
  • Increased understanding of self and others
  • Increased group interaction, trust and cohesiveness
  • Enhanced awareness of problems in group functioning
  • Changes can be made before the group is impaired
  • Decreased tension, frustration
  • Higher levels of morale and satisfaction
  • Decreased likelihood of acting out negative feelings indirectly

From http://www.ummaland.com

3. Better Quality decisions and problem solutions:

  • More creative ideas
  • More decision alternatives
  • More time spent thinking through decisions

From http://leadershipforlearning.wordpress.com

Conflict is often the first step for getting rid of outdated procedures, revising regulations, changing organisational culture, fostering innovation and creativity. Addressing rather than suppressing conflict opens the lines of communication, gets people talking to each other (instead of about each other)  and makes people feel like they’re part of a team that cares. As a result, people learn how to work harmoniously, come up with creative solutions and reach outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

From http://www.joegerstandt.com

However many of us are programmed to avoid conflict or do not know how to handle disagreement in a constructive way. So we have quiet, reserved, polite workplaces, but there is a whole bunch of “stuff” simmering below the surface. We cannot be honest and disagree with each other. We sit around the conference table and nod our heads up and down, and then after the meeting we tell the truth to a smaller group of peers with whom we actually feel comfortable being honest.

From http://www.fundable.com

Below are some ideas to help your team learn to voice dissenting opinions and resolve disagreements in a constructive way:

  1. Raise awareness: Let members know that disagreement can be healthy and that the team encourages constructive tension. This will help set the stage and encourage more “voices” to come forward.
  2. Value listening: Draft listening as a core value of the team. Ultimately, we cannot learn from dissension if our hearts and minds are not really open to the conversation.
  3. Respect always rules: Constructive dissension boils down to team members offering respect to their colleagues. When this principle is ignored, any level of disagreement can quickly become unhealthy. If you have any sense of being on shaky ground after engaging in an intellectual battle with someone, patch that rift with kind words, support and willingness to listen. You may have to retreat for a while until things cool down, but you must let the other person know that you still respect and admire them.
  4. Encourage dissenting opinions: Teach team members how to disagree diplomatically. Many individuals may want to disagree, yet are not sure how to avoid “causing trouble”. Offer ways to speak up by suggesting healthy “templates” or a “scripts” to do so.
  5. Pose alternatives: If they find fault with an idea or strategy — be sure that team members attempt to offer an improved version or alternative solution. Constructive criticism is always preferred.
  6. Deal with dyad issues: If two members seem to be experiencing personal conflict, ensure this does not play out during team meetings. Encourage a dialogue to resolve core issues outside of the team and contain “toxic spills” rooted in personal issues.
  7. Focus on solutions, not the “win”: Ultimately, one single idea does not have to “win” — and this can help take the pressure out of collaboration. Masters of innovation such as Pixar, combine the ideas of many contributors to formulate solutions. In this way being honest and open, won’t take sway from another team member’s work.

 
From http://www.madofficehero.com

The same rules apply to handling disagreement within the family: never stop caring and listening no matter how angry you are.

Love is caring for each other even when you're angryFrom Pinterest

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Resources:

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Are You a Genius or a Genius Maker?

From http://naomisimson.com

 We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drain intelligence, energy, and capability from the ones around them and always need to be the smartest ones in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment.

On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads, ideas flow, and problems get resolved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers.

 


From http://multipliersbooks.com

Multipliers are genius makers. Everyone around them gets smarter and more capable. People may not become geniuses in a traditional sense, but Multipliers invoke each person’s unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius – innovation, productive effort, and collective, viral intelligence.

Diminishers on the other hand are absorbed in their own intelligence, stifle others, and deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.

Accidental_Diminisher_Chart_Twitter_Version
From http://multipliersbooks.com

The mind of Multiplier

Multipliers and Diminishers tend to hold radically different assumptions about the intelligence of the people they work with. These assumptions appear to explain much of the difference in how Diminishers and Multipliers operate.

The Diminisher’s view of intelligence is based on elitism and scarcity. Diminishers appear to believe that really intelligent people are a rare breed and I am one of the few really smart people. They then conclude, other people will never figure things out without me.

Multipliers on the other hand have a rich view of the intelligence of the people around them. They see intelligence as continually developing. Therefore their key assumption: people are smart. They will figure this out and will get even smarter in the process.

From http://kellysopeningworld.wordpress.com/

In analysing data from more than 150 leaders, Wiseman and McKeown have identified five key disciplines that distinguish Multipliers from Diminishers:

  1. The Talent Magnet: Attract and optimize talent
  2. The Liberator: Create intensity that requires best thinking
  3. The Challenger: Extend challenges
  4. The Debate Maker: Debate decisions
  5. The Investor: Instill ownership and accountability

Multiplier
From http://www.monkeymagic.net/2013/07/

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1

The Talent Magnet


From http://izquotes.com

Talent Magnets get access to the best talent because people flock to work for them knowing they will be fully utilized and developed to be ready for the next stage. Talent Magnets:

  • Appreciate all types of genius: genius comes in many forms. Some minds excel at quantitative analysis or verbal reasoning – capabilities measured through IQ and other tests of traditional cognitive intelligence. Other minds offer creative genius, innovating through fresh thinking and bold ideas. Some minds are critical, spotting every problem or landmine lurking within a plan; the genius of some others is to find a way to tunnel around these landmines.
  • Ignore boundaries: Talent Magnets live in a world without walls and without hierarchical or lateral restrictions. Instead, they see talent networks.
  • Find people’s native genius: A native genius is something that people do, not only exceptionally well, but absolutely naturally. They do it easily (without extra effort) and freely (without condition). It is something that gives them inherent satisfaction, and they offer their capability voluntarily, even ardently. Native genius can be so instinctive for people that they may not even understand their own capability, like the fish that discovers the water last. By telling people what you see, Talent Magents can raise their awareness and confidence, allowing them to provide their capability more fully.
  • Utilize people to their fullest by connecting people with opportunities that allow them to be used at their highest point of contribution.

From http://www.chopcow.com

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2

The Liberator

From http://wwwawesomequotes.blogspot.co.nz/

Liberators create an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work. As a result, people offer their best and boldest thinking and give their best effort.

Liberators:

  • Release others by restraining themselves: it is a small victory to create space for others to contribute. But it is a huge victory to maintain that space and resist the temptation to jump back in and consume it yourself.
  • Shift the ratio of listening to talking: liberators are ferocious listeners who listen to feed their hunger for knowledge.
  • Operate consistently: The consistency in the liberator’s actions establishes a predictable pattern of behaviour. This allows others to know when it is their turn and where there is space for them to contribute. It also creates safety with all people knowing what to expect.
  • Level the playing field: in any formal organization, the playing field is rarely level, and certain voices are inherently advantaged. These include senior executives. Unless managed, other voices that are perhaps closest to the real issues can become muffled.
  • Demand best work: Asking whether people are giving their best gives them the opportunity to push themselves beyond their previous limits.
  • Distinguish best work from outcomes: people feel positive pressure when they are held to their best work, however it is important to avoid creating stress by holding people accountable for outcomes beyond their control.
  • Generate rapid learning cycles by admitting and sharing mistakes and insisting on learning from mistakes.


From http://www.mindwerx.com

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3

The Challenger

From http://ieet.org

Challengers define opportunities that challenge people to go beyond what they know how to do. As a result they get an organisation that understands the challenge and has the focus and energy to take it on.

The Challengers:

  • Seed the opportunity by allowing people to discover it, challenging the assumptions, re-framing the problems into opportunities, and providing the starting point.
  • Lay down a challenge by asking the hard questions and letting others to fill in the blanks.
  • Generate belief in what is possible by laying out a path, co-creating the plan and beginning with small early wins.

From http://www.notable-quotes.com

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4

The Debate Maker

From http://www.savemarinwood.org

Debate Makers engage people in debating the issues up front, which leads to sound decisions that people understand and can execute efficiently.

Debate Makers:

  • Frame the issue by defining the question that unearths and challenges the assumptions entrenched in the organization, forming the team, and assembling the required data.
  • Spark the debate by creating safe environment for best thinking and demanding rigor.
  • Drive sound decision making.

From http://www.freshbooks.com

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5

The Investor

From http://quotespictures.net

Multipliers operate as Investors. They invest by infusing others with the resources and ownership they need to produce results independent of the leader.

The Investors:

  • Define ownership by naming the lead, giving ownership for the end goal and stretching the role
  • Invest resources by providing mentoring, coaching and backup
  • Hold people accountable

 
From http://www.nwlink.com/

Multipliers also tend to have a great sense of humor. They aren’t necessarily comedians, but they don’t take themselves or situations too seriously. They can laugh at themselves and see comedy in error and in life’s foibles. Their sense of humor liberates others. Multipliers use humor to create comfort and to spark a natural energy and intelligence in others.

 From “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown

 From http://izquotes.com/

The concept of Diminishers and Multipliers however is not limited to business leadership only. It can be easily applied to any relationship, including marriage, family, parenting, friendship etc.


From https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com

Are you a Diminisher or a Multiplier, a Genius or a Genius Maker?

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You are a Genius!

Genious
From QuotesWave

According to a 1968 study by George Land and Beth Jarman, published in their book Breakpoint and Beyond, preschoolers are geniuses in divergent thinking. Land and Jarman administered a divergent thinking test to 1600 people; divergent thinking being the capacity for creativity, the ability to determine multiple solutions to a problem. This is the type of test administered by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists. The results in the sample group were astounding – 98% of the participants scored at the genius level for divergent thinking. The sample group? Five-year-olds.

In this longitudinal study, only 32% of 10-year-olds, and 12% of 15-year-olds reached the same level of creative thinking. Of 280 000 adults tested, only 2% reached genius level. Robinson used an example of divergent thinking in his video provided below: that divergent thinkers would be able to come up with 200 uses for a paper clip, whereas most of us could only come up with 10-15. A divergent thinker would think outside the box. Does the paper clip have to be in the form we know it? If there are no limitations, why not a 200-foot paper clip made of foam?

We are all genius in our own unique way, no matter how deep our genius got buried over the years. Rediscover your genius and fill up your life with laughter and joy. You are amazing!

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Taming paradoxical creativity for business success


Creative_mind__by_Uribaani
From DeviantArt

Creativity is the common theme that drives both entrepreneurs and artists alike. But creative people are often also paradoxical and full of contradictions.

Eminent psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that creative people ‘contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.’

Mihaly describes ten traits often contradictory in nature, that are frequently present in creative people. In Creativity, Mihaly outlines these:

 1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.
 They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

 2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.
“It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.”

 3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, and perseverance.

“Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. Vasari wrote in 1550 that when Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello was working out the laws of visual perspective, he would walk back and forth all night, muttering to himself: “What a beautiful thing is this perspective!” while his wife called him back to bed with no success.”

4.Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.
Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted.
We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.
It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.
When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.
It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

9.Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.
Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility.

10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.
It’s impossible to be creative without having a deep understanding of an area of culture, but a creative person has to be rebellious and iconoclastic to break away from the safety of tradition and make something different.

Although a creative person’s contradictions are perplexing and frustrating to others, they are the source of their creativity. They can see the world in all its complexity. There is pressure in our culture to be clear what you stand for, make a decision and stick to it. It’s practically a criminal offence to change your mind. The result is rigid thinking. The creative mind has to contain multiple perspectives simultaneously. Contradicting yourself is a sign that you are thinking creatively.

CreativityFrom Creativity at Work

What is Creativity in Business?

Creativity is a crucial part of the innovation equation. Creativity requires whole-brain thinking; roght-brain imagination, artistry and intuition, plus left-brain logic and planning.

Creativity is a core competency for leaders and managers and one of the best ways to set a company apart from the competition.

Corporate Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Generating fresh solutions to problems, and the ability to create new products, processes or services for a changing market, are part of the intellectual capital that give a company its competitive edge.

EmployeesFrom 6 Ways to Cultivate Creativity in Your Company

Are you looking to hire creative employees at your company?

As Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner points out, “if you want to find and hire exceptionally creative people, you need to find people with diversity in their backgrounds. This is not only a sign of creativity, but it also indicates a potential employee with more diversity of experience, knowledge and thought than a person who has followed a clearly defined career path.” He suggests to look for the following:

  1. Diversity and International Experience
    “The most important thing you should look for is international living experience. Not international travel, but living and working (or studying) experience. Research has demonstrated that living overseas permanently boosts an individual’s creativity. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, it is the only proven way to boost permanently creativity. So, look for foreigners living in your country as well as nationals who have lived and worked overseas. Presumably, though it has not been tested, doing multiple international stints and living in very different cultures further enhance creativity.The second best characteristic to international experience is diversity of experience. Rather than look for people who have followed a very narrow career path, look for people who have had more varied experience. Look for people who have done work significantly different from that of the position you are seeking to fulfill. If you want an IT manager, someone who has spent two years selling furniture or a year teaching skiing and has additional IT experience is likely to be more creative than someone who has only had IT experience. Moreover, she will bring diversity of thought to the IT department — and that boosts collaborative creativity.Aside from work experience, look for evidence of diversity and unusual points in education, hobbies and elsewhere. A marketing manager who has a degree in philosophy followed up by an MBA will probably be more creative than the marketing manager who has a business administration degree and an MBA. She will certainly bring new perspectives to the marketing department.”
  2. Humour
    “Having an original sense of humour — that is, being able to make jokes or be funny on your own, rather than repeating well known jokes — is an indicator of creativity. Humour is about seeing things in unusual ways that are unexpected. To be able to do that requires creativity. This does not mean that every creative person has a sense of humour. Many do not. But anyone with an original sense of humour is almost certainly very creative.Having a sense of humour will probably not be apparent in an applicant’s CV and most people believe they have a sense of humour. But if the applicant keeps a blog, is active on Twitter or participates publicly in other social media where she demonstrates an original sense of humour, she is probably more creative than most.”
  3. Rebelliousness
    “Highly creative people tend to be rebellious. They think differently from averagely creative people, they tend to do things in unconventional ways and they are not afraid to provoke others, including senior management. This is not usually because they choose to be rebellious. Rather, highly creative people think differently and make decisions differently than do averagely creative people. Often, highly creative people are blind to the relevant conventions. They are likely to believe their ideas are better than more conventional ideas.”

“That pretty much sums up highly creative people: they are different. They will have different backgrounds from averagely creative people — and that background may very well include international living and working experience. They will behave differently from averagely creative people and they will offer different results: creative results. If you keep this in mind, it will not be hard to find and hire creative people. The challenge will be challenging them sufficiently to keep them!”

Employee
From Forbes

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