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Diversity is much more than a buzzword

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by Pedro Tavares, Delivery Manager at Blip

My latest podcast obsession is Cautionary Tales by the acclaimed Tim Harford. The Seventh Cautionary Tale Tim Harford tells us about how moving away from our comfort zone – either by an unexpected event or by actually stepping away from it – fuels our creativity.

This episode is full of great examples, each of one can teach us something about how we should embrace what apparently seems like unfortunate events: from the virtuoso pianist that founds out the piano where he is about to give his biggest concert is completely out of tune and beyond repair, to the common Londoner that suddenly finds new optimized routes on the Tube during a long strike.

But the example I want to focus on is Diversity and how bringing diversity to a team that is too uniform should be the main focus of managers.

Tim mentions extensive research that clearly indicates that a diverse group of people is more likely to find better solutions than a group full of lookalikes. But what triggered my attention was when he says:

“When pulling together a team our instinct is to go for quality, the best people we can find, but perhaps instead we should be going for variety.”

Being in the process of hiring new members for my team this hit hard on me. Not that I’m not sensitive to issues about diversity, but I always put quality, or should I rephrase that as the people with the best technical knowledge should always be hired (albeit always considering the values as well). The analogy Tim formulates is perfect:

“One analogy is that different perspectives, skills and experiences are like different tools in a toolbox. A well stock toolbox is more useful than a case full of hammers even ion they are really good hammers.”

I guess what I just realized now, is that the best person for the job is not always the person with the most technical knowledge but can sometimes be a person that thinks differently than the rest of the group.

Pedro Tavares | Delivery Manager

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