I know people like you, people who think they’re fair, right-minded, who believe in equality. That’s you, right?
Well here’s the bad news; try as you might you can’t be fair. There I’ve said it, it’s in the open, maybe you disagree, you don’t like it, but hey, it’s still true.
If you want teams to be smarter you need more balance, fairness, equality. I aint telling you what I think, I’m telling you the truth, what robust, tested, scientific, reviewed and peer-reviewed again research actually says, demonstrates, proves.
I could tell you what I think, so try this:
I think you should pay attention, take notice, stop and think, realise this is the way, the only way, the best way. Its gonna make your team tick, make it hum, make it perform like it’s never performed before. What I’m about to say will improve your team’s performance! You’re gonna make more money! All you have to do is open your mind.
Improving the gender balance works, it matters. It’s not about doing the right thing, it’s about doing the smart thing (which happens to be the right thing).
Teams solve problems yeah? Well no actually. Teams of like minded people run along smoothly, supporting each other, being nice and harmonious. You have to upset the balance, bring in a minority proposal; then watch them work together, then they solve problems, in fact they’ll find more problems and solve them as well! Having more than one approach is good, in fact its great. The team will be richer for the disruption, they’ll be more creative, innovative and probably better articulated, they’ll have to be to get their point across in the new team of competing memebers.
The evidence is out there:
Team IQ is not the sum of the individual team members IQ, its something else. In tests diverse teams; those with mixed gender out-performed those without gender diversity. Every Time! Equality = Quality, Every Time!
Now consider this: in studies where those who were hiring people were told to value quality, value diversity, value meritocracy to get the best person for the job the discrimination got worse! That’s right more men were hired and promoted than would have been before in the instructions given. So you’ve convinced yourself that diversity is good, good for your team, your business, your company how do you go about making sure you get the quality, the best?
Quota’s. Yes that’s right affirmative action! Yes you read that right, you don’t like it, in fact you hate it. Women hate it, its discrimination. Well maybe, but don’t forget discrimination got us here in the first place. Saying the right thing, setting the right standards, asking for quality judgements gets discrimination. Quota’s raise the quality of the applicant pool. That’s right, they raise it! In fact you don’t actually have to apply the quota, just say you might and guess what? More equality.
The evidence is simple, women work alone if allowed to choose, even if the reward is smaller. So what you might say? Well women compete and they compete for themselves, all you’ve got to do is harness this competitiveness. Suggest that you’re going to use affirmative action and those women with the higher skills will compete, they take the chance and they beat the men. Attracting more women to your team is smart. You’re gonna get creativity, innovation and higher, much higher team intelligence.
Its hard, I know it is. We’re hard-wired to discriminate, birds of a feather stay together…
So we have to be proactive, stop resisting, the evidence is compelling. Making your workplace better for women actually makes it better for everyone.