At The Audax Generation, we believe audacious teams can achieve the seemingly impossible!
We recently hosted a webinar with Warwick Business School to explore: How to unlock the power of diversity in your team.
This document presents an actionable summary of the webinar. As you progress you will find ‘Pause for Reflection’ at the end of each section. These pauses contain questions to provoke reflection, new meaning and action. Consider go through your reflections again, once you complete the webinar.
Why unlock the power of diversity in Teams?
The team is the functional unit of work in any organisation. Diversity promotes creativity, innovation, and productivity. It also creates a better work environment fosters collaboration, higher morale and resilience. Thus, organisations wishing to maximise their teams’ long term added value would like to tap on the diversity advantage.
Unlocking the power of diversity is an active sport. Organisations and teams have to be intentional, courageous and genuinely interested in their people to scratch the surface of similarities and differences that bind and separate them. Teams that are able to connect at a deeper human level, recognise each others unique super-powers and manage to play to each other strengths are what we call: Audacious Teams.
Audacious teams unlock their potential by being Purposeful, Bold, Curious and Diverse. The Audacious Team DNA is further explained below:
1. All purposeful – The team aims to achieve vision that is bigger than themselves. They know which part they play in the bigger picture and its internal/external relations. Purpose creates unison, direction and the energy required to see through and beyond the challenges in the journey.
2. Bold – The team has a growth mindset. It is comfortable disrupting the status quo and challenging the norm to fulfil their purpose.
3. Curious – The team seeks to gain new meaning. It is about questioning, hypothesising and experimenting. The team embarks on a continuous learning, unlearning and relearning cycle.
4. Diverse – The team uses its plural perspective to have a better understanding of the reality they face. Creates inclusive structures that promote and nurturing both individuals’ uniqueness and appreciation for others differences.
|💡Pause for Reflection: Thinking about your Organisation/ Team, How is your purpose in creating a bigger vision? How is the growth mindset exhibited? How is curiosity embedded in your strategy? How is diversity connected with your purpose?|
Diversity: the ultimate Competitive Advantage for Organisations
Diversity can be your superpower too. The combination of individuals’ uniqueness cannot be replicated, therefore it provides the ultimate competitive advantage.
However, organisations tend to focus on culture fit. That is, biased towards shared commonalities which results in the reinforcement of certain traits and views or the ‘minimum common denominator companies’ phenomena where organisations ‘inadvertently’ limit their diversity potential. A phenomenon that could be perpetuated in successful commercial organisations, if there is no apparent incentive to promote diversity.
|💡Pause for Reflection: Thinking about your Organisation/ Team, How is Diversity creating a competitive advantage?|
To demonstrate the competitiveness of Diversity we use the Castellers metaphor. The Castellers are individuals that work together to construct a human tower or Castell. Castells used to be ‘a male thing’. Up to the late 1970’s only the strongest men will build castells, they could consistently climb up to 6 floors. Impressive! But the inclusion of women revolutionized castells. They brought speed, agility, strength, and resilience. Today everyone in the community is welcome to take part in the construction of the Castell, from 4 to 94 years of age, all genders, and people from all walks of life work together towards a common goal, the highest and more difficult castell.
Since those audacious trailblazer women broke through, the old records have been smashed. Nowadays, the Castellers reach up to 10 floors high.
The Castellers story is first presented from the outside, then a female casteller provides an insider’s view. The metaphor is finally wrapped up with a video looking into the future.
through an insiders view is history of the Castellers (Human Towers) viewed from the outside, explained from the inside
Enter the Castellers of VilaFranca!
Training people on how to build a human tower is something we often do in our immersive workshops as there’s no greater display of teamwork than a group of castellers.
Their journey in tower building is truly inspirational. There are three parts –
- The first, a struggle (three attempts)
- The second a huddle and team talk
- and the third, the celebration after reaching their target.
Webinar participants reflected on their resilience and perseverance, union, teamwork, and the fact everyone is rooting for them to succeed. But the overriding observation is the diversity within the team. Men, women and children of all ages, strengths and social statuses come together to accomplish a common goal.
In this film, casteller, Maria, tells us about the benefits of diversity on the team. She says “Being a member of a human tower team means being part of a group giving all that you can give. Teenagers, children, adults, regardless of social status need to act as one to build the highest human tower.” Maria explained that whether castellers come and practise every day or just once a year, they’re still part of the team because they need everybody.
She continues, “Many people are involved, so you never stop learning, seeing new things. You will be talking to children one minute, then talking to the mayor of your town the next. There’s daily learning, and one person can be afraid, but the others help and support. You can be confident in asking for help.”
Maria also points out that the team does fall, but when they do, she adds “It’s comforting to know we all fall together.”
A human tower group means diversity. You need tall people, small people, strong people, children, clever individuals who can help steady the base. Maria said “We need everybody. In the last twenty years, the role of women in human towers teams has changed exponentially. Until the 70s women weren’t believed to be strong enough to join, but now they can be leaders, decision makers, strong supporters and can climb. There’s no difference between girls and boys.”
Maria describes how being a casteller has taught her how not to be an individualist, sharing “Doing things together is more powerful than doing things alone. We have one little job each and the human tower is done. The sum of little efforts helps to achieve whatever you imagine.”
Unlocking the diversity in YOUR team
In the castellers, we see an audacious team in action with diversity as the scaffolding supporting them. Want to know how you can do the same? Our thinking framework, comprising just four key questions, is a great place to start…
Ask the following:
Do you have a clear purpose?
This is more than ensuring everyone is aligned. A clear purpose creates belonging and allows teams to thrive. In a poll carried out during the webinar, most respondents say, yes, they do have a clear purpose. Even if you also believe your team has a distinct purpose, we challenge you to go back to your team and ask everyone the same question. And then take it a step further. Even if everyone is clear on a team purpose, ask whether they understand their individual purpose too.
Does your team discuss bias?
Our poll reveals a mixed bag of responses to this question. But did you know that bias is the secret killer of diversity? Consider the castellers again. Before the 70s their belief was that women couldn’t take part. But the reality was that the strongest men, despite being good at supporting, couldn’t climb and were often too heavy to reach the top of the tower. Preconceptions like this are common in workplaces. Take some time to identify any in your workplace and take steps to remove them.
Does your team tap into each other’s superpowers?
By superpowers, we mean something that only you bring to the table. Work with your team to identify individual superpowers and how they can be best used to your advantage. Our poll in the webinar shows that ‘sometimes’ was the leading answer in response to this question. Don’t miss out on using superpowers already within your armoury.
Does your team feel safe to speak their mind?
Is there psychological safety in speaking out without worry in your team? The castellers know they can ask for support and that in doing so, they’re empowering someone else. Work on creating a safe environment where people can be open and vulnerable.
Stephen Hawkins said. “We are very, very small but we are profoundly capable of very, very big things!”
As proven by the Casellers of VilaFranca, we can achieve amazing things when we work together and use diversity as our superpower to create new views, perspectives, and innovation.
At The Audax Generation, we see work environments as a team sport. Be audacious. Unlock the power of diversity. Achieve the seemingly impossible…
Ready to unlock the diversity in your team?
We’re here to help.