Monday, June 15, 2009

Diversity's Missing Ingredient

Pat Lencioni has a great new article discussing why diversity does not automatically lead to better decisions. He rightfully points out that taking advantage of diversity requires the proper management of conflict. Simply having people with diverse backgrounds in an organization does not automatically lead to higher performance. Those diverse ideas must be brought together in a vigorous dialogue and debate. Unfortunately, sometimes people with diverse backgrounds engage in conflict that becomes personal and highly counterproductive, in part because they don't understand each other well.

1 comment:

cv said...

Michael, i wish I could put my fingers on the citations, but there is actually some small group experimental soc psych that demonstrates this point clearly and irrefutably. Heterogenous groups that are trained to use differences (i.e., manage conflict) do better on tasks that either heterogenous groups w/out training or homogenous groups w/out training. Begging the question-- what about homogenous groups with training? Better on execution, not as good on idea generation, as hetero groups w. training.
Given this, it's a wonder why so few diversity programs and group process trainings actually teach us how to deal effectively with real differences.....