A well-functioning team culture is key to organizational success. But what makes a good team culture?
Based on GLLG research and experience, and on multiple third-party industry studies, organizations with cultures that welcome and value new ideas outperform those without this cultural attribute.
New ideas are the result when you embrace diversity of thought. So, how do you create and foster a team culture that welcomes diversity of thought? Read on for tips.
What is Diversity of Thought?
Diversity of thought is an organizational or team culture that welcomes and invites new ideas, no matter the title or credential of the people sharing those ideas. It’s a state of active curiosity, without putting limits on who is “qualified” to have ideas worth considering. It’s easy to say and hard to do.
All companies are more like-minded than they think. Organizations must embrace diversity of thought to truly discover new ways of doing things and successfully lead through change.
This is why it's important that you let your employees challenge the way things have always been done, and try new ideas out on them before deciding what works best for everyone involved. Diversity of thought teaches you how to welcome change in order to evolve.
Why Is Diversity of Thought One of the Best Team Culture Characteristics?
Because when there’s evidence that it’s okay to have new thoughts and different ideas, people are set free. They can take risks knowing that they won’t be punished or ridiculed for failure or for an idea that doesn’t pan out.
Diversity of thought is essential for a healthy team culture. It helps teams to identify and solve problems more effectively. It also promotes creativity and innovation.
Diversity of thought should be our single most powerful competitive advantage in our workgroups and organizational teams.
How Can You Improve Your Team Management Skills to Ensure Diversity of Thought?
Diversity of thought requires a team culture that embraces both vulnerability and discomfort.
We’re too quick to shut people down because we’re afraid of losing our own relevance if someone else has an idea that surpasses ours, or we’re afraid of the discomfort that might occur if people disagree with each other. We’re more comfortable in like-mindedness and conformity of thought.
This is why when I’m working with clients and they start moving down a path of likeminded-ness I often purposely create tension in the room and move them away from what makes them most comfortable and consider uncomfortable truths.
Whatever their people are considering—from competitive threats to global sales strategies—I want to see how the people in the room respond when there is genuine discomfort. That’s because when people get inspired too quickly, that inspiration has the power to promote like-mindedness and create a culture that wants everybody to act the same. When we get excited too quickly, everyone begins to see the same opportunity. They miss the opportunity that is less obvious because they’ve stopped looking.
This is why leaders need to counterbalance the enthusiasm. It’s not about pushing people away from being inspired. Rather, present a perspective that stretches their thinking and allows the group to see things they didn’t see before. They further open their minds and become even more vulnerable to see the truth.
Diversity of thought is one of the most important team culture characteristics because it allows for different perspectives to be heard and considered. This can lead to better decision-making and a more innovative team.
Improving your team management skills will help ensure that everyone on your team feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, resulting in a greater diversity of thought.
Think you are embracing diversity of thought? Take this free diversity of thought leadership assessment and find out.