Building a team is one of the most exciting and dreadful parts of any business venture. Are you willing to gather the perfect squad? Hire more people different from you!
Ending the myth of polarisation
Throughout our shared human history, our reticence to embrace each others' differences has been a cause of regression, and we are still paying the cost today. Most of the darkest times in our shared human history tell the stories of violations of human rights, freedom, and even life for the crime of thinking differently.
Under the pretext of convergence and unity toward one absolute truth, conquests, conversions, and colonizations have caused the loss of ancestral cultures and the extinction of part of priceless humankind's knowledge.
The fundamental problem is our confusion between difference and polarisation. We are often prone to think that those who do not think like us are against us or wrong. But what about: I have a point, you have one, so now let’s explore each other’s perspectives and make the best of it?
We have also wrongly assumed that universality passed by appreciating similarities through the lens and benchmark of a few (dominant) cultures. But since we are all different, the world is a billion-time plural. Therefore, should we not seek for pluriversality instead and value our diversity of thoughts inside our shared human condition?
When faced with global environmental, economic, geopolitical and social challenges, we currently abide by the same dominant paradigm, have the same approach, collect and exploit the same data, and end up having similar solutions and deadlocks stopping the entire planet. All of this is because we fail to involve other voices, perspectives, mindsets, and intelligences to give way to more alternative and opportunities in the process.
Our human evolution got stuck because of our individual and collective insecurities. Instead of trusting our own visions, values and potential, we feel the need to dominate others to support our convictions and reassure ourselves. Instead of competing with ourselves to improve every day, we compare with others who have contrasted but legit vision, reasoning, and talents. We undermine our collective progress when we do not optimize our differences and tend to see other human beings as inferior, irrelevant or a threat rather than an opportunity for all.
Fortunately, change is happening. At the bottom, people worldwide are more interconnected with each other and increasingly advocate for more diversity, equality and inclusion. And at the top, businesses can broaden the approach to diversity by embracing our multiple human intelligences.
Harnessing our multiple human intelligences
Hiring unlike-minded people does not mean hiring people fundamentally alien to us. As a basic, a team must share compatible values and adhere to the same purpose. On the individual scale, each member needs a healthy level of intrapersonal, emotional and social intelligence for self-awareness, mood management and teamwork. They also need leadership intelligence, meaning they can take the lead in a task, situation or people.
And then, we need differences. Giving a psycho-technical test to every candidate as part of a recruitment process is like trying to pass a circle in a square. Not only does it not fit, but it may actually be an effective way to lose the best potential to complete our team. Thinking back to when we were at school, we probably all recall someone very scholastic but clueless about life. Or someone who did not have the best marks but was very clever and resourceful. Without mentioning entrepreneurs with no diplomas but who succeeded with their true talents. Intelligence goes beyond what fits in the system.
Working with people with different intelligences means collaborating with people with diverging approaches to reach the same shared goal. When presented with the same information, they will see them from their unique perspectives and bring new challenges and opportunities missed or overlooked by others. Put together, those insights make the knowledge of the team whole, the overall risk low, and the impact high.
How we use the multiple human intelligences can unfold in even more possibilities when we also embrace our diversity in our way of being. Ethnic minorities, women, LGBT+, disabled, neuro-diversity, and much more are causes that should be supported by each business truly aiming to uplift a team, a business, a community and humankind.
However, we also need to make peace with history and, finally, value and nurture the diversity of our collective intelligence.
Collective Intelligence to grow with trust
There is always value in working with people who do have a different opinion from us. It can be proof of trust and honesty. When everyone in a diverse team always agrees on everything, and things stay unchallenged we may start wondering about the level of trust amongst our co-workers. Are people confident enough to voice any concerns or different points of view? Do they have enough room and flexibility to push their potential in the projects? Is the management approachable enough and will listen? How can we nurture employee potential and leadership intelligence?
In a plural world, whether rightly or wrongly, no one will agree at 100% about everything. In the microcosm of a company, it is likely to be the same. But divergences of opinion are opportunities for improvement for the benefit of all. They can be challenging remarks to improve a whole service, product or process in the business. They can be unfounded ones aiming to test our listening skills, conflict management and empathy toward others and make us grow as human beings.
Businesses should also regularly consult external opinions beyond their companies and even customers. Their inputs can bring them unsuspected additional value. It will allow them to stay grounded in the reality of how their offers are effectively received by the world instead of growing in a bubble disconnected from the field. It will also bring them new perspectives to innovate, reach more people and propel their business to the sky.
Businesses should definitely harness the diversity of insights inside their walls and the wide collective intelligence outside to make a greater impact.
And that is just in the business sphere. Let's imagine how it could be if, in our human relationship, we could also make the most of our differences to raise humankind as equal co-thinkers and co-creators?
Are you ready to make that positive shift in your business to trigger inspiring changes in the world?