How Diversity Makes Us Smarter
by Katherine W. Phillips, Scientific American magazine, 9/16/14.
It is reasonable to ask what good diversity does us. Diversity of expertise confers benefits that are obvious—you would not think of building a new car without engineers, designers and quality-control experts—but what about social diversity? What good comes from diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation? Research has shown that social diversity in a group can cause discomfort, rougher interactions, a lack of trust, greater perceived interpersonal conflict, lower communication, less cohesion, more concern about disrespect, and other problems. So what is the upside?
The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Even simply being exposed to diversity can change the way you think. This is not just wishful thinking: it is the conclusion I draw from decades of research from organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers.
- Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
- It seems obvious that a group of people with diverse individual expertise would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. It is less obvious that social diversity should work in the same way—yet the science shows that it does.
- This is not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.
Read more at … http://s.hbr.org/1DBXm9t
by Jon R. Katzenbach, Harvard Business Review, 2/22/15.
Read more at … https://hbr.org/2005/07/the-discipline-of-teams
Commentary from Dr. Whitesel: “We’ve all experienced them: a coworker who doesn’t show up for meetings and is rarely in the office. As frustrating as this is, it often a sign that the coworker is struggling. So how do you help them? This article gives helpful steps to helping and not criticizing or condemning. Here are some takeaway points from the article:
> Keep an open mind — your colleague might have unseen reasons for slacking.
> Address the issue with your colleague before talking to your boss.
> Use specific examples to show how the behavior is affecting everyone’s work…’
by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 1/11/15.
Research by the McKinsey Organization on 189,000 leaders in 81 diverse organizations4 around the world discovered there are four (4) reoccurring behaviors in effective leaders. These “four kinds of behavior account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.”
Over the years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to mentor and counsel some of the best leaders in America. And I can confirm the McKinsey Organization’s conclusions about these being the four recurring behaviors of effective leaders.
Below is a McKenzie research summary of each behavior, with a short application by myself regarding how each behavior may apply to ministry leaders.
Use these behaviors as a guide in hiring and leadership development.
(McKinsey Organization) Solving problems effectively. The process that precedes decision making is problem solving, when information is gathered, analyzed, and considered. This is deceptively difficult to get right, yet it is a key input into decision making for major issues (such as M&A) as well as daily ones (such as how to handle a team dispute).
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Problems solvers do not run away from problems or ignore them, but tackle them head-on in a unifying and teambuilding way. They are known in the organization as problem-solvers.
(McKinsey Organization) Operating with a strong results orientation. Leadership is about not only developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives but also following through to achieve results. Leaders with a strong results orientation tend to emphasize the importance of efficiency and productivity and to prioritize the highest-value work.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Skilled leaders care about results more than micromanaging the process. As Mike Breen says they ‘have high accountability, but low control.’ High accountability is the key – which means having specific results to which everyone agrees and that are realistic, attainable and celebrated when they are met.”
(McKinsey Organization) Seeking different perspectives. This trait is conspicuous in managers who monitor trends affecting organizations, grasp changes in the environment, encourage employees to contribute ideas that could improve performance, accurately differentiate between important and unimportant issues, and give the appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns. Leaders who do well on this dimension typically base their decisions on sound analysis and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Today’s skilled leader stays abreast of innovations and changes in ministry culture. They don’t go by gut instincts or what’s worked in the past but do their research before a change is made. They then know how to explain these changes in ways that motivate and unite the workers.”
(McKinsey Organization) Supporting others. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel. By showing authenticity and a sincere interest in those around them, they build trust and inspire and help colleagues to overcome challenges. They intervene in group work to promote organizational efficiency, allaying unwarranted fears about external threats and preventing the energy of employees from dissipating into.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Skilled leaders work hard to find out what motivates each employee. They do this not for their own success, but for the team’s success. Like a counselor they are sensitive to the hopes, aspirations and needs of those they lead. They create trust and confidence in their leadership because it is rooted in understanding those they lead.”
New research suggests that the secret to developing effective leaders is to encourage four types of behavior.
by Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan, McKinsey Research, 1/7/15.
Our most recent research, however, suggests that a small subset of leadership skills closely correlates with leadership success, particularly among frontline leaders. Using our own practical experience and searching the relevant academic literature, we came up with a comprehensive list of 20 distinct leadership traits. Next, we surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations4 around the world to assess how frequently certain kinds of leadership behavior are applied within their organizations. Finally, we divided the sample into organizations whose leadership performance was strong (the top quartile of leadership effectiveness as measured by McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index) and those that were weak (bottom quartile).
What we found was that leaders in organizations with high-quality leadership teams typically displayed 4 of the 20 possible types of behavior; these 4, indeed, explained 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness (exhibit).
Four kinds of behavior account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.
Here is a short 15 minute video introduction to my meta-concept of leadership called, STO Leadership Styles in Ministry: Strategic, Tactical & Operational Leaders … And Why You Need All 3.
After watching the video you can get more info and examples by reading Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (“Chapter Two: Why is Change So Difficult to Manage.” pp. 29-48). This book was Co-resource of the Year in Outreach Magazine. PLUS, on p. 47 is a questionnaire to discover your personal mixture of strategic, tactical and operational leadership. Though the publisher wants you to buy the whole book (and so do I 🙂 here is a downloadable copy of this chapter with the questionnaire. It is not for public distribution, so if it is helpful please purchase the book and support research on church growth and health: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CHANGE REACT Chpt.2 STO Leaders.
1) “Tie individual recognition to the overall success of the group…
2) Recognize results instead of activities.
3) Align your reward systems with the outcomes you want, not metrics like length of service or attendance that may not have a direct bearing on those outcomes.
4) And embrace risk-taking by recognizing team efforts even if something fails.
Read more at … http://hbr.org/tip/2014/10/16/give-credit-and-do-it-fairly
1) Keep meetings short, only 15 minutes and stop the two hour meetings searching for blame.
2) Keep teams small, five people or less. Then let them report to the bigger team their work. They will work faster and more efficiently.
More great insights by the author of a new, seminal book.”
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “From this Inc. Magazine article you will learn that great leaders take many small risks, instead of taking large risks. The three lessons are: 1) Cut expenses, not employees, 2) take small risks, not large risks that might sink the company (per Jim Collins in ‘Great by Choice,’ and 3) recruit a great team and delegate.”
Commentary by Dr Whitesel: “Consensus is different than getting input. This article points out that you always need to get input, but you shouldn’t think you have to get everyone in agreement before you move ahead with a new idea. Read the article below for more.”
You probably know from my book “Growth By Accident, Death by Planning” (2004, Abingdon Press, pp. 109-120) that because of God’s regenerating power, He can use anyone. Thus, we must not let appearances deter us. For example, answer the following three questions about the attached picture:
1. Can you take guess who the people are in the attached photograph (below)?
2. And, then tell me what you think your people would do if this group showed up on your ministry doorstep one day. Now, don’t just give a pat answer that “We would welcome them.” But rather be honest and tell how these people might really feel to your ministry leaders. Would they be looked at as experts? Or maybe your ministry leaders would feel then need some time to adjust and fit in before you utilized them. Then tell us why you think they would be treated this way, either accepted or ostracized. Then, share some steps you might undertake to build a team from them and from your existing ministry volunteers.
3. Finally, what might we potentially miss by failing to welcome in and build a ministry team from such unconventional and quirky folk?
I will give you some of the usual answers to chose from (in case you are stumped):
1.) The Doobie Brothers
2.) Lynard Skynard
3.) Parents of the Backstreet Boys
4.) Park Place Church of God Handbell Choir.
5.) Dr. Whitesel’s Eagle Scout Troop
6.) or ??
Now, one of my witty (and technologically talented) students sent me this attachment (below) which purports to show hidden meanings in the picture I attached above. I hope you enjoy his humor (I know I did 🙂
So, ask yourself. Will these people fit into your ministry culture? In many ministries they won’t. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to contribute. They do. And, while IBM dismissed these young people and thus missed catching the wave of the next revolution, you don’t want differences in culture to blind your ministry to building a team with people who are just culturally different.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “If you don’t have time to read the watershed book, ‘The future of work: attract new talent, build better leaders and create a competitive organization,” then check this review which depicts in an #InfoGraphic the difference between the old work environment and the new work environment. Then find out more how these two environments relate to the church in “ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church (Abingdon Press, 2012).
2. Use your influence to make things better. The true leaders at a company aren’t always the boss. Natural leaders set an example that people want to follow, so if that’s you, be a good one! …
3. Be open, transparent and fair. I have little patience for petty, backbiting office politics and social positioning, but it is inevitable that there will be people at a company who behave as if they’re still in high school. Let’s help them change. Let’s be open, transparent and fair, and people will reciprocate even if it takes them a while. …
4. Educate and train your boss. Dogs sometimes find it easy to train their owners . . . maybe we can train our bosses. I’m not saying we’re dogs, but you know what I mean. You’ll find a million supporting articles online to change culture. Check out the slideshares from Hubspot and Netflix, or the Valve Employee Handbook. …
5. Take measurements. I like measuring things, but measuring culture can be tough! This may just be a feeling you get when you walk into the office or when you know your coworkers are happy. Less whining or grumbling. …
6. Talk to HR. Give HR a shot. If anybody should know the mission and vision of the company, it’s HR. Go ask questions, find out what HR thinks about culture and how it’s communicated to employees. …
7. Be patient. Everyone loves an easy answer, but great culture requires great effort and time to get just right. And frankly it’s never perfect, but we should always be working on incremental improvement….
by ANNA BROWN, Pew Research, 10/8/14
Women may have made measurable progress in the workplace over the last few decades, yet old ways die hard. Women still lag when it comes to holding top managerial positions. And among those with a preference, both men and women say they prefer male bosses and co-workers.