Giving a S**t about Diversity is Hard! But it is Worth it.

Somehow there is a perception that diversity is a lovely thing that we should all joyously embrace. The reality is that it is damn hard to get right, and it generally makes us feel like rubbish.

A study at MIT found that when set a difficult task, homogonous

teams felt great during the process, whereas diverse teams felt miserable and uncomfortable.

“It’s not autopilot. The autopilot is to hang out with people who think like you and look like you,” says Kristin Hayden, Chief Partnership Officer at IGNITE.

The reality is that for most people it is hard to work with people that are different to us.

So if it is so tough why bother?

Teams with similar people do have higher social cohesion: people get on with each other and feel comfortable. But the interesting twist, observes Dr Sara Ellison, an MIT economist, is that social capital is not enough – teams of similar people perform less well.


The results show that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams time and time again.


From McKinsey to Harvard, I’ve lost count of the number of articles and studies I’ve found that show that diversity really does create better results. Better profits, increased innovation, better decisions, faster decisions … the list goes on…


And of course, this makes sense, because diversity means diversity of minds, ideas, and approaches. Solutions that consider multiple angles to a problem are stronger and more well-rounded. From graduate level, up to leadership teams; studies have shown that to thrive in a highly competitive environment requires creative thinking. 


Diverse teams are undoubtedly better at this.

But how to do it right?

So we’ve established that diversity is beneficial but that still doesn’t get past the fact that in reality it is hard to achieve and it makes people feel uncomfortable.


Whether it is conscious or unconscious, in a busy workplace we all naturally resist diversity. We tend to promote and hire people who we feel comfortable with, which is often people who look and think like us. We don’t naturally look for difference, we look for similarity and compatibility. It’s human nature to be biased.


The good news is that there are innovative ways that help remove bias from the selection process and help diverse teams work effectively together.

Step one – reducing bias in the selection process

The crucial first steps are hiring and promotion processes that select people based on their true skills and potential. That is where Cognisess comes in – a complete solution that assesses people on cognition, personality and skills. All the genuine markers of success that lead to workforces with diversity of thought.

Step two – helping diverse teams work well together

So you’ve got a diverse team, but getting people who think and act very differently to work well together is a challenge. This is where Cognisess can help. By fully understanding peoples’ psychology and behavioral preferences we can help leaders successfully manage difference and pre-empt potential clashes. We can help your diverse teams deliver the results that will set you apart from all the competition.

Together we can lead the frontier in delivering success through genuine diversity of thought.

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© Cognisess Limited, 2021