The benefits of building a professionally diverse team
Brenda Wedge, Principal & Senior Consultant on why a professionally diverse team can work wonders
When you are building a team, whether for a one-time volunteer project or for your newly founded company, one of the first questions to ask is, “Do I want a homogeneous team or a heterogeneous team?” There are plenty of examples of both out there and both can work. Homogeneous teams have the benefit of having similar experiences and thought processes, so when tasks demand a high level of expertise in one area the group can hunker down and, in a sense, speak a unified language. Heterogeneous teams boast diversity and a greater ability to take on multiple roles, which works especially well when the tasks at hand are varied.
At MRSB Consulting Services we made the decision years ago to build a heterogeneous professional team, with a diversity of skills and backgrounds. Our consultants have varied qualifications (MBA, CPA, PMP, BEng, Program Evaluation and Social Sciences) and backgrounds, such as experience working in the private sector, with provincial and federal governments and with educational institutions.
We’re quite happy with our arrangement and very rarely feel ill equipped to handle a client’s request. So today I’m sharing a few good reasons to consider making your professional team a diverse one, especially if your client base isn’t ‘one size fits all’:
1. It diversifies your service offerings
A key factor in deciding to build a professionally diverse team was an examination of our clients’ needs and the skills needed to provide them with solutions in a variety of areas. A diverse team gives you the ability to perform a range of services and to provide those services to a more diverse customer base. We’ve worked with entrepreneurs, fishermen, farmers, retail store owners, immigrants and government branches – obviously a team with one type of expertise would have difficulty addressing the wide array of questions and needs posed by our clientele.
2. It promotes better problem solving and creativity
Diverse teams can also broaden your perspective when looking for solutions to problems. When a client has a unique request or we just need to find a better way of organizing our online filing system, two mindsets or approaches are often better than one.
Our array of backgrounds and skills promotes creativity and enables our team to generate new ideas. In the same vein, the diversity within our office promotes an internal learning network where team members can learn from each other’s experiences and backgrounds.
3. It boosts productivity
Having a professionally diverse team can increase productivity by allowing team members to focus on their personal strengths and approach other team members to perform tasks they don’t enjoy or where they perceive their weakness to be. Not everyone likes heavy research, just as not everyone will enjoy graphic design or planning after-work events. I sometimes think, ‘How different would our weekly meetings and brainstorming sessions be if all of us were educated in exactly the same way?’ In this sense, diversification creates a win-win situation because the client gets a better product and the employee is happier doing what they enjoy.
If you are looking for a dynamic, effective team that fosters creativity and innovative thinking, consider expanding it to include individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. We are never sorry we did!