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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Overcoming Biases Key to Building A Great, Diverse Team

Diversity in any organization is essential -- it is more than a moral imperative, writes Raj Gupta, retired Chairman/CEO of Fortune 300 company Rohm and Haasan, and currently serving on the boards of several companies including Hewlett-Packard.

Diversity is a business imperative based on increasing evidence that companies with diverse boards and leaders outperform their peers over time, according to him. In an article on the Harvard Business Review, he shares the following lessons with regards to building "exceptionally diverse, teams." Based on his personal experiences, he learned how to overcome "my own biases about diversity—and then using these hard-won insights to build one of the most diverse leadership teams and board of directors in the world:"
Your organization must strongly believe that diversity is critical for long-term success. - In order for a company to access the best possible talent they must access the broadest possible talent pool.
Understand that it takes two to tango and mere tokenism does not work. - Companies must assure an even playing field for every employee to realize their potential and contribute towards the success of the organization.
Expand the traditional notion of mentoring. -  The best mentoring comes from successful individuals who are perceived as mainstream in the organization. For example, a successful white male in a U.S. or a European company, a top Korean manager in a Korean company—they can assist a person of diverse background help gain insight into the culture of the organization and serve as a wise counsel.
Finally, building workforce diversity is a process; it is a journey the results of which "are not achieved instantaneously but require ongoing efforts including making a few bold decisions along the way."

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