• David Mahan

5 New Ways to Promote Perspective Within Your Company

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Why Now

There aren’t many better words to describe the time we are living in now than tumultuous. 2020 is not for the weak. Covid-19 is forcing companies to rethink how they do business, and the social unrest of our time is forcing change. Without adapting, your company can and will be left thinking of the 2010s as “The Glory Days”.

People are watching now more than ever. Individuals who would normally stay quiet are boldly voicing their opinions, and they will be heard. Social media is reacting. Investors are listening. Employees are reacting. If you choose to ignore it, your company will likely end up as a spectacle on one of Twitter’s many chopping blocks.

But there is an upside.

As the head of a company, you should not look at this situation in fear. It is an opportunity to listen to your consumers and employees to improve the overall quality of your organization and your community. Just as wildfires play an essential role in a forest’s renewal, now is the perfect time to critique your organization, implement the appropriate changes, and end 2020 with a renewed spirit.

Perspective vs Diversity

Diversity and perspective are closely related but are not exactly the same. Perspective is the lens through which you see the world, and the wider your perspective is, the more holistic your worldview. Perspective is the goal; diversity is the plan. Diversity forces perspective. It is a means to an end. Perspective is an invaluable attribute but is not easily acquired. It requires constant upkeep, an open mind, and will greatly challenge your worldview. It is something that should be sought after on a personal level but can be challenging to instill into even one person.

So how do you instill it into an entire organization?

You have to create a culture of diverse thought that requires your team to step outside their level of comfort and consider perspectives and paradigms that are foreign to them. It is a challenging task and may be uncomfortable at first, but it does not make it any less imperative.

Here are 5 ways you can integrate diversity of thought into your workspace.

1. Hire People of Different Ethnicities and Genders

As obvious as this seems, it’s surprising how many companies are still behind the curve. Morals alone should be enough to follow this step, but for those who need more, adding ethnic and gender diversity makes business sense.

In McKinsey & Company’s “Delivering through Diversity” report, executive teams with a higher percentage of gender and ethnic diversity consistently outperformed their counterparts.

“Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. For ethnic/cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability. Companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse boards worldwide are 43% more likely to experience higher profits.” Read the full report for more of McKinsey & Company’s data and insights.

Perspective is necessary for sales, marketing, R&D, and every outward-facing aspect of your company. As cold as it can be, business is built on relationships. Increasing your diversity to your team, arms your team with the ability to relate time to a larger scope of people. Whether you are B2B or B2C, understanding the fears and pain points of your clientele is essential for any sustained business.

On top of the moral and revenue-based reasons, there are possible tax incentives included. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is made available for employers that hire certain groups who face barriers to employment.

2. Open Up Your Meetings

This one comes straight out of Ricardo Semler’s playbook.

For those who are not familiar, Semler is the Brazilian CEO of Semco Partners, also known as “The Big Company That Has No Rules.” Semler took his father’s business, scaled it to hundreds of millions in yearly revenue, essentially eliminated his HR department, and gave as much power to his thousands of employees as possible.

When Semler and his executive team would have important, decision-making meetings, he would open up one chair to be filled by any member of the company on a first-come, first-served basis. They could be deciding the future of the company, and the opinion of a janitor who happened upon the meeting would have as much say in the decision as a high-level executive.

If you are to use this approach, you must be willing to have your humility tested. It is not easy to relinquish control of something you care about, and the health of your business should not be taken lightly. Semler’s approach requires faith in your people and a willingness to sacrifice your pride.

If you don’t share Semler’s radical passion for workplace democratization, you could alternatively have mixed meetings. For example, individuals from your sales team could sit in an accounting meeting and vice versa. This will give your employees a larger perspective and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

To learn more about how Semler re-engineered the corporate structure, I recommend reading his best-selling book, Maverick, or watching his TED Talk.

3. Diversity Day

After The Office’s infamous Diversity Day episode, Diversity Day can be a great way to encourage socializing within your own company, and allow perspectives to be widened in a fairly natural way.

You could schedule speakers for your event, celebrate diversity through art, host a potluck, or try a combination of all three. Depending on how diverse your company is, there are hundreds of ways to celebrate the different cultures in your company.

In order to avoid repeating the same episode, your company needs to encourage a culture of diversity every day. Putting on a Diversity Day with no effort given on any other day of the year can lead to a strong resentment towards something that was meant for good. Integrating this option with consistent company events can be a great way to keep diversity a priority throughout the year.

4. Host Company Events

Similar to Diversity Day and open meetings, hosting Corporate events allow your employees to mingle and express themselves freely. The event does not have to be specifically centered on diversity in order to increase diverse thought in the workplace.

Weekly themed events can shake up the monotony of the week, and allow you to challenge your staff. For example, on Think Tank Thursday, you can provide your team with new challenges that your business is facing. Create small groups of people from different departments, and host an abbreviated competition to see who can come up with the best idea. This process will force your employees to problem-solve, mingle with each other, and think creatively.

5. Incentivize Community Service

I love this one because it directly benefits all three parties: the company, the employee, and the community.

What better way to learn the needs of your target audience than to interact with and serve them. The more your company interacts with your target audience, the better you can position yourself in the market. IT giant, Deloitte, heavily rewards community service, leading to 27,000 Deloitte professionals contributing more than 353,000 volunteer hours in 2016. Other organizations like Novo Nordisk (Healthcare), Nustar Energy (Transportation), and Autodesk (Software) prioritize community service due to the positive impact it has on their employees, environment, and product. It doesn't hurt their PR either.

It also can be extremely helpful for the employee, both professionally and personally. Corporate benefits aside, community service has been shown to counteract anxiety, stress, and anger, all while widening the perspective of the volunteer. High-quality employees want high equality work experiences. By encouraging healthy habits and diverse culture, you are more likely to attract top talent.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!

If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.

About The Author

David Mahan is an entrepreneur, marketer, and the co-founder of Undrptd and UR Marketing. He has gained a wide base of experience through cofounding a tech startup, marketing agency, and a media company. His passion projects are often centered around education, purpose, and business. Feel free to reach out to David on LinkedIn or Instagram.