We are living in the post Covid era where remote and virtual working are now common. This means that talent pools have become even more international and diverse, and this in turn is driving an urgent need for international organisations to be adopt inclusive practices in their leadership and key teams. If we add to this the rapid rise in business innovation, and the need for even more agile teams, it means that Inclusive virtual teams have become an absolute business necessity. At least for organisations wishing to expand and grow across boundaries.
Today, it does not matter where talent is located, or who they are, if they can excel in the role. And isn’t this the way it should be?
What will matter is:
- Can the person get access into the daily virtual team meetings? And do they have the technology to contribute virtually?
- Can they thrive in a diverse environment and collaborative with “others”?
- Can they build trust with people who are different to them?
There will be a resistance of course to both virtual teams and open talent markets, as whilst full diversity brings many advantages, it can also bring its own challenges.
So, it is timely to explore this further, and my intention here is to stimulate thinking on this critical topic as we enter a new phase of virtual working.
In the discussion that follows, we are using a broad definition of diversity & inclusion — including differences in gender, age, ethnicity, culture, religious practice, sexual orientation, to name some (but not all).
There is a lot written about the advantages of diverse and inclusive teams, and there is already a lot of well documented research.
- D&I teams help drive innovation
- They will also challenge old paradigms and offer some new ways of working
- They are more likely to understand and predict market changes
- They broaden the brand impact across broader market segments
- D&I organisations are linked to improved business performance (Mc Kinsey 2020)
Having worked with multiple “diverse and inclusive” international teams over the last decade, I have witnessed some of the clear results that come from this commitment to inclusion. Below are some of my observations:
So, as you face into your future ask yourself:
- How important will innovation, agility, and engagement be in the near future?
- What could result from greater diversity and inclusion in our business particularly in our most important teams?
- How could I become a more inclusive leader by focusing on important business outcomes and less on my own comfort with a certain type of person?