If you’ve ever played sports, or even watched as a fan, you know the meaning of team effort. Creating successful teams means selecting the players based on the role they play. Even if you could have five Steph Curry’s starting on your basketball team, odds are you won’t perform well. While Steph may be the best player, if you need a tall center to guard the rim, it’s better to find someone who meets that criteria.
While sports teams provide a great analogy for building teams, the same philosophy is true for any team of individuals. Whether it’s a few people building a startup or a department at a Fortune 100 company, getting the highest output and best results is a function of identifying the individuals best suited for each role on the team.
A recent article from knowledge@Wharton, BlackRock’s Diversity Chief: Do Your Employees Feel They Belong?, speaks to this dynamic. Two related elements are discussed in the article that create successful teams, and we will expand on a third that is only briefly mentioned.
The first is diversity. Teams that include people with different backgrounds including culture, gender, ethnicity, career experience, and approaches to thinking and decision making are more successful. And there is data to support this. A McKinsey study found that public companies ranked in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above the industry median.
The second element is a sense of belonging. A simple yet powerful way Blackrock builds an inclusive mindset is through face to face conversations. It’s easy to fall back on electronic means in today’s work environment, but it doesn’t build relationships. From NASA to Apple to Disney, there is a sense of purpose and belonging that results in a sense of pride in the work of each and every employee.
The final element that is briefly mentioned is culture. Both of the first two elements ladder back to company culture. Embracing diversity goes beyond ethnicity. It is appreciating people for their unique talents and understanding how they can positively impact a team. They may not be the best person on paper, but they may be the best person for the job.
“It’s also a more diverse and interconnected world. So you need a diverse, global, well-functioning, highly inclusive team to solve problems,” said Jonathan McBride, Managing Director and Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at BlackRock.
Just as at Blackrock, it starts at the top. If you’d like to see improved returns, creating successful teams is a great place to start. It also means you have to identify the right executive leadership that embraces the idea of diversity, inclusion, and team mentality.