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Diversity is crucial for business success

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Diversity can help make you more successful, so more businesses should adopt it. Besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do anyway.

It gives them a competitive edge, as long as their company culture is set up for it.

I would love more diversity in the workplace. Would you like to know why?

In the featured image of this Learning Ninja post, you are looking at my friends and me.

7 people – 7 nationalities, 3 continents

Yes, 7 people, 7 nationalities and 3 continents. I’d say our mix is a pure coincidence but maybe we met because we are likeminded people.

The age gap between the youngest and the oldest is 19 years. This means, our oldest friend is almost 50. But he’s a super cool guy with a more adventurous life than most of us, often backpacking all over the globe.

Age really is just a number. You can be stuck up at 20 or 75 and awesome.

I love spending time with my friends. It’s always fun, interesting and relaxed. We enjoy each other’s company very much.

There are no issues or misunderstandings whatsoever, although we each have a different background.

I mean, of course, there can be misunderstandings, but that’s kind of a given, so it doesn’t turn into a fight when it happens. No one’s thinking” But I said this, how could you possibly understand that?”.

And we adapt a bit to each other.
It’s not just a myth that ze Germans are punctual and the Spanish are at least 15 minutes late by default.

So, I adapted and take my time now, too – it’s no use to show up 15 minutes “early” by being on time.

We can learn from each other

Having friends from different countries (or communities) is great for our personal life. People are people, and we can learn so much from each other. Same is lame.

I mean, who would have guessed that in Mexico, people actually pay to get electric shocks for fun?

Apparently, there are guys with a portable machine who go to bars looking for people who want to get shocked. Crazy…

And you can’t trust the Indian who brought a sort of baby version of their dish for you that is “not spicy at all”.

Just kidding, I know that they really tried. I just die anyway, because I’m such a spice baby. Can’t eat hot food.

Another Indian friend of a former co-worker said that she has to cry at least once a day because the food is so hot.

If she doesn’t cry, it doesn’t count as eating… Isn’t that great?

Diversity for business success

Diversity contributes to growth and broadens our horizons. It gives teams and companies a competitive edge.
Cultural differences and fresh perspectives also lead to new discoveries and ways of thinking.

The Boston Consulting Group did a study on the positive impact of diversity, which you can read here.

It clearly shows the benefits of having team members with different perspectives, even though they are confronted with the same problem or situation.

There are many other studies as well, since it’s a fascinating topic, especially with globalization being everywhere.

Ze Germans are known for their obsession with following the rules. If you cross the street at a red light (on foot, of course), even if there are no cars or kids around, some stranger who saw you do it, will yell at you.

The rules are the rules, are the rules.

It might be difficult for the Germans, or maybe even impossible, to come up with an idea where you can’t do everything by the book. “Out of the box”-thinking probably isn’t their strength.

On the other hand, they are great at finding compromises though. Being very direct (and often getting shamed for it) also has its advantages.

Everybody knows what’s what, and then you can think about a real solution. That’s much more complicated with other cultures who can’t be blunt or pragmatic.

Germans usually are efficient. Unfortunately, they don’t get points for their charm.

The BCG-study found that companies with above-average diversity rates are better at innovation and also show a better overall financial performance.

The most important factors were the nationality of management, range of industry backgrounds, gender balance, and career paths.
Age and formal education were less significant.

Which companies succeed?

In order to reap the benefits of diverse teams, the company culture needs to be positive, of course.

It’s crucial to provide an open-minded environment, where diversity is a strategic priority.
Top management has to embrace it, otherwise, it cannot work.

Teams need to have free and open discussions, so everyone can share their thoughts, different views have to be valued and equal pay and anti-discrimination policies are also important.

Not even 40% of the respondents in the study could confirm that their company provided this kind of environment. So there is still a lot of progress to be made.

Hopefully, more and more people will see the benefits of diversity. Until then, at least I have my friends.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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