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Blog - What the World Cup can teach us about Diversity!

What the World Cup can teach us about Diversity!

Posted by Stella Chandler 04/07/18

FootballImagine you could create your World Cup Fantasy Football Team... you have the pick of the world's very best players, all there for you to choose from.  

Would you choose all the best strikers? or defenders? Of course not.  

You'd look to balance the team; goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and strikers. They would come from all sorts of backgrounds and all sorts of countries... because you would want to give yourself and your team the best chance of success. 

Picture credit ‘wonker’ under licence from Creative Commons

So why don’t we always do that in our teams at work? Why do we so often fall into the trap of picking the people who “play” like us? And why do we not challenge our clients who are doing the same?  

Diversity of background, experience, thought, personality and skill makes for better performance. And this is not just intuition… it is backed up by research.

McKinsey's latest report Diversity Matters shows 

  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. 
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. 
  • Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set (that is, bottom-quartile companies are lagging rather than merely not leading).

A mix of skill, experience and approach leads to more creative thought, better decision making and bottom line performance… just what the 32 Team managers in Russia will be wanting!  

So how do we measure up in our own businesses, when it comes to hiring new team members?

Some practical steps to consider are to 

  • Be clear what we mean by “team fit” - it is a well-worn phrase and unless we are clear what we are looking for in terms of behaviours and approach, it can lead to simply recruiting in the same mould time and again
  • Help your team to understand more about unconscious bias and how it may be playing out in your hiring processes - awareness can help us to make changes that open up our candidate pool, rather than close it down - and ensure we tap into all the talent that is out there
  • Look at what you can do to support change at a grass roots level in the sector you are in. How can we reach wider audiences at an earlier stage? 

Each of these points is happening in sport; the managers will bring their players together so they can learn how to fit together, be “aware” of each other and use their scouts to spot the talent before others do.  

Bobby Moore was a great role model for an inclusive approach with great results; his awareness of others, his openness to learn from others, his challenge to other players to be their best and his willingness to nurture others to succeed. Players today still aspire to that and his lessons apply to our Teams today.  

So… who did you pick in your Fantasy Team…? 

For more information on how we can help you build a truly inclusive workplace call us on 01903 732 782 or email us or contact us. 

Stella Chandler
Stella Chandler

I thrive on seeing people do things they didn’t think they could do! I draw on my management and leadership experience from working in senior positions in the Metropolitan Police Service, running Focal Point since 2002 and working across all three sectors in the widest variety of environments. I am a fellow of the CIPD and when I am not working with clients I can be seen on the golf courses of Hampshire.

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