Monday, September 19, 2016

Successful Diversity

The Mystery within...
I continue to read Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet—The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” and am fascinated by her report of Harvard Business School’s preference for more extroverted students.  She also cites management theorist, Jim Collins’ study of the best performing companies of the late 20th century: 

“Collins hadn’t set out to make a point about quiet leadership.  When he started his research, all he wanted to know was what characteristics made a company outperform its competition.  He selected eleven standout companies to research in depth.  Initially he ignored the question of leadership altogether, because he wanted to avoid simplistic answers but when he analyzed what the highest-performing companies had in common, the nature of their CEO’s jumped out at him.  Every single one of them was led by an unassuming man…  Those who worked with these leaders tended to describe them with the following words:  quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild mannered, self-effacing, understated.”

“The lesson, says Collins, is clear.  We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies.  We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they serve.”

Another fact that stood out for me is the employees of these unassuming leaders were more often motivated to think for themselves and offer their thoughts in a more accepting atmosphere.  It is clear to me the dynamic of more interaction and contribution sourced in diversity is the foundation for success, not just for a company, but for a country, and all of life.  I have to wonder if the growing divide between the haves and the have nots in America is exacerbated by our 21st century discrimination toward introverts?

What if we all understood the importance of the many facets of diversity more often?            

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