"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together." ~Malcolm Forbes

“None of us are as smart as all of us.” Japanese Proverb

Having people with the same background, experience, and talent is a recipe for eventual failure. Yes, you need the ability to do the job, but one of the magic ingredients to any organization or department is diversity. If you have diversity, you have the ability to share yourselves and your experiences with the whole operation to lift everyone and everything up. It is like having your own in house consultants that can advise you on best practices:

  • “When this happened at my last job, we did ______, and it worked great”
  • “Every month, we did ______, and it reduced expenses/improved revenue 10%”
  • “What you need is a report we used to call _______, that would do the trick”

The other thing diversity of background can do is mitigate the squabbling between departments. If you have someone who worked in that department (Marketing, Sales, Accounting, Legal, etc) they can provide valuable perspective that can cut down negativity before it even starts. You don’t know what the other guy is going through until you’ve been there yourself.

Now I’m not saying promotion or hiring from within is at all a bad thing, what I’m saying is that the diversity of your workforce may be a strategic advantage. There may be a hidden jewel of knowledge just waiting to be uncovered by the right situation.

What I recommend you do is the following:

  • Ask your staff to submit the one best tool/skill that they have seen put into use in their prior work history.
  • Find out what your staff (or even peer’s) backgrounds are.

Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find, and discover the path to an even stronger and more successful organization.

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