In discussions and presentations of my Moderate Model, I mention the need for diversity. The underlying idea is that diversity is the ultimate moderating force in nature. A multiplicity of inputs going into a naturally occurring process generally produces an optimized output. By that, I mean that the less diversity of inputs you tend to observe, the outcome isn't as optimized as a process that has more diversity.
I don't know.
Probably not always; but more often than not.
To follow that up, humans (as nature) should try to mimic that natural model in our human processes so that we may optimize our structures. There's plenty of evidence to support that the more diverse a company is the better performing it is. More diverse cities have greater economic growth. More diverse diets tend to have better long term health outcomes for people. More diverse ecosystems are healthier, more fruitful, and thriving more than less diverse ecosystems.
This week, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review that offers some additional support as well as real, practical insight into how to better leverage that diversity. In an article called The Most Creative Teams Have a Specific Type of Cultural Diversity, Sujin Jang finds that to get the most out of a diverse team, it isn't enough to just pick a bunch of different "randos" and watch the magic happen. Rather, to maximize all that diversity, the most creative teams incorporate a "cultural broker".
From the article:
My research, recently published in Organization Science, finds that cultural brokerage is a key factor that allows multicultural teams to capitalize on the benefits of diversity while mitigating the pitfalls. I define cultural brokerage as the act of facilitating interactions across parties from different cultural backgrounds. In two studies — an archival study of over 2,000 multicultural teams and an experiment involving 83 multicultural teams with different cultural compositions — I found that teams were significantly more creative when they had one or more members who acted as a cultural broker.
Cultural brokers come in two forms: Cultural Insiders (people who are intimately familiar with two or more cultures) and Cultural outsiders (those who are familiar with cultures not represented in the team). I love the idea of identifying a cultural broker. In a way, it's sort of like a moderator for a process that's been shown to support moderation... it's as if the idea of adding a moderating factor in the form of a broker maximizes the output (which, in this case, was some measurement of creativity).
I highly suspect this sort brokerage applies beyond cultures and geography. I'm going to assume it also applies to race, income, sexuality, and any other measurable form of diversity.
Reading this also makes me think, for whatever reason, about the successful NBA franchises that had/have a massive amount of success on the court and the folks that serve as cultural brokers on that team. I would like to know if Gregg Popovich views himself as a cultural broker as he balanced out his insanely multicultural teams of the 2000's. This thinking led me to this Bloomberg Article about Pop. Writer Ira Boudway lays out a reasonable case for Popovich as a wealth of business knowledge and I think items 4 and 5 are particularly prescient for the Cultural Broker conversation and something we should all strive to do as Moderate leaders:
Pillar 4: Widen your world
Pillar 5: Know Your People
Of course, being an effective Moderate Leader and Cultural Broker requires more but having the curiosity about the world and the people within it is where it all starts.