Australian Government,  Behavioural science,  Blog post,  Communications professional,  Team performance

Diversity of thinking in your team

This week, I sat down with Elm’s newest team member Amy. When I say new, she has been with us for six months, but we agreed that time has flown by, and it feels like we haven’t had a real opportunity to get started!

A key topic we talked about is how different Amy is from the rest of us in the team. It’s not just that she is more of an extrovert or that she loves glitter more, she brings a completely different skill set and way of thinking to the team.

For me, this was why Amy was the right fit for Elm. Our team already had strong communication skills, but we had similar experiences, which meant that, at times, we looked at a problem the same way.

Last week, I really got to see the value of having diversity in thinking. As we discussed the findings of a review, we came to the outcomes from very different perspectives. We debated the evidence in front of us, as we had come to see the issues from a completely different place.

Amy brings a behavioural insight, methodical, framework-based approach. What motivates people, and how does their environment impact their culture and delivery?

I tend to use data and my gut instinct, overlayed with my experience working in communications.

We challenged each other to look deeper. Examine the evidence again. Think about how to frame both the problem and solution in best practice.

The result was a robust debate and a better outcome for our client.

We both agreed it was one of our favourite conversations to date!

As a communication consultancy, you may wonder why you didn’t just get another comms person for the team. Diversity of thinking in teams is crucial for several reasons.

First, it fosters innovation by bringing together various perspectives, experiences, and problem-solving approaches. This diversity challenges how you think, your assumptions and unconscious biases and encourages the exploration of new ideas and solutions. Teams with diverse thinking are more adept at navigating complex challenges as they can draw from a broader range of insights and strategies.

Second, diversity of thinking also enhances creativity, as different perspectives often leads to better ideas. It promotes effective decision-making by stopping groupthink and ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of options.

For me, the most important point is that diverse thinking in teams reflects the complex real world we live in. We all have different backgrounds, education, experiences and perspectives. We need all of those to really do our jobs well.

Look around at your team. Do you have people that will challenge you? Do you have people from different backgrounds, experiences, cultures? How can you find people who will be great at their jobs and bring a new way of looking at your work?

Diversity can be scary, but it can also create great things.

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