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A growing collection of articles, blogs and research relevant to diverse thinking, with a special focus on diversity of thought and group decision-making.


What Science Tells Us About Building Great Teams


How well do you understand what makes a great team?

If you  think it’s simply assembling a group of highly talented people and  letting them do their thing, then you’re in good company. Research shows that’s what people tend to believe. But, unfortunately, you’d also be wrong. Teams  are more than the sum of their parts. In fact, sometimes having lots of  top talent on a team actually hurts performance. 

Read more here.

How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams


Companies spend millions on antibias training each year. The goal is to  create workforces that are more inclusive, and thereby more innovative  and more effective. But research also shows that bias prevention programs rarely  deliver. And some companies don’t invest in them at all. So how can you,  as an individual leader, make sure your team is including and making  the most of diverse voices?

Read more here.

Singapore study supports the business case for diversity on boards across multiple dimensions


The analysis of the top 100 Singapore listed companies illustrates a  strong relationship between board diversity and company performance. In a diverse society, a diverse board can provide multiple perspectives,  helping increased social acceptability and, in turn, ensure that the  board conducts itself appropriately. It is critical for boards to ensure  they have diversity of experience, background and thought. 

Read more here.

Survey: 93% of New Zealanders want to be part of a workplace where there is diversity of thought


According to Hays’ Staff Engagement: Ideas for action report, which is based on a survey of 1,196 employers and employees,  93% of employees want a ‘voice’ and the ability to share their opinions  at work and the same percentage want to work in an inclusive culture  where differences are valued.

Read more here.

How To Build Work Cultures Of Psychological Safety Rather Than Fear


Kathy Caprino interviews Any Edmondson – the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, to learn more about how an organization can move away from promoting a culture of fear, to one of psychological safety.

Read more here

Great Teams, Psychological Safety And The CEO


In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine a more important skill for CEOs than the ability to create and develop high performing teams in their organizations.

According to Google’s work on teams and research from The Power of Peers (2016) on groups, neither high performing teams nor groups were  necessarily comprised of the most talented individual members. The best  teams/groups were those whose members collaborated most effectively. Read more here.

Reality check: more women on boards doesn’t guarantee diversity


Dr Akshaya Kamalnath outlines how more women on boards can important indicator of gender equality and board effectiveness but gender is only one facet of diversity.

In the longer run, investors, employees, customers and wider society can all benefit from companies taking a broader approach to board diversity that aims to get multiple viewpoints into corporate decision-making.

Read more here.

How Agile Leadership Can Improve Board Governance


Dr Darleen DeRosa outlines how modern board governance is a far more  proactive undertaking, and many organizations are taking steps to change  the composition of their boards to encourage a greater diversity of  thought and promote the agile leadership qualities necessary to compete  in a business environment beset by disruption. 

Read more here

Chairing a diverse board in an age of complexity


In this dynamic world where competition, management of risk and  technology are in a constant state of change and flux, boardroom  leadership is also evolving rapidly to keep pace.

First becoming a director at just 32 years of age, today Abby Foote is one of a new breed of directors rising to the challenge and leading a new  governance style that recognises the changing demands of the role of  directors in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous  world.

Read more here.

Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work


Disagreements are an inevitable, normal, and healthy part of relating to  other people. There is no such thing as a conflict-free work  environment. You might dream of working in a peaceful utopia, but it  wouldn’t be good for your company, your work, or you. In fact,  disagreements — when managed well — have lots of positive outcomes. Amy Gallo outlines the benefits.

Read more here.

Teams Solve Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively Diverse


Received wisdom is that the more diverse the teams in terms of age,  ethnicity, and gender, the more creative and productive they are likely  to be. However, Alison Reynolds and Davis Lewis have found no correlation between  this type of diversity and performance with a strategic execution exercise, which required executive groups to manage new, uncertain, and complex  situations. 

Read more here

How to Make Meetings Less Terrible


50 percent of meeting agendas are recycled from other gatherings.  Perhaps not surprisingly, 70 percent of senior managers consider  meetings unproductive.

In the U.S. alone,  55 million meetings are held a day. Most of them are  woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins  now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of  healthy conflict.

Read or listen to more here

Men Agree That Gender Diversity on Boards Is Important—But They’re Sick of Hearing About It


In a PwC survey, 62% of directors strongly agree that diversity brings unique perspectives to the boardroom. 52% strongly agree that gender diversity is very important in achieving diversity of thought. But 72% of male directors say too much attention is paid to gender  diversity, while only 25% of female directors agree. 76% of the men surveyed said they believe boards will naturally become more  diverse over time; only 33% of women said the same.

Read more here.

Can a Little Embarrassment Make Your Team More Creative?


It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments. But as Leigh Thompson a Professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, watched executives engaging in a “brag session” at a corporate retreat,  she began to wonder if feeling proud could also inhibit creativity.  “Because if you are engaging in a brag session or being prideful, you are unwittingly encouraging people to self-censor their own ideas,” says  Thompson.

Listen to the podcast here.

How you can make the wrong choice for CEO


There is ample research to show that diversity, when harnessed properly,  can improve corporate performance. In cases of CEO succession, a board  with diversity of thought, backgrounds, and traits benefits the  organization by staving off groupthink and increasing the breadth of  perspectives. Constructing a quality board is about the caliber and perspective of  individual directors as well as the deliberate rules of engagement that  allow for productive debate and effective decision making. 

Read more here.

Businesses vital in driving diversity and inclusion, business leaders say


Ziena Jalil, former New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore and  consulting partner at SenateSHJ, says organisations that embrace  diversity and inclusion outperform their peers in profitability and  productivity. Jalil said diversity was not just about ethnicity, it is also about  gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, socio-economic  background and beliefs, which organisations need to represent. Read more here.

Using Diversity of Thought to Tackle Complex Problems


An aspect of diversity that is getting greater attention is “diversity of thought”. This is the concept that people who have had different experiences, hold different beliefs or use contrasting ways of addressing problems, will think differently to each other. Diverse thinking allows people to frame problems in different ways, generate different potential solutions, and even creatively build on others’ ideas. It holds great promise if used in the right settings.

Read more here (on page 5).

Might board experience help more women get executive roles in NZ?


Recently published in an HBR article,  a study by Catherine Tinsley and Kate Purmal found that prior to  becoming a US public company CEO, women were significantly more likely  than men to have served on a corporate board. More than half of the  female CEOs (59%) served on a public company board, as compared with 42%  of the men. Almost twice as many women (23%) as men (12%) served on a  private company board.

Might this be applicable to CEOs and other C-Suite Executives in NZ?

Read more here.

Does thinking about things 'on a spectrum' make us more enlightened?


Black and white thinking may die hard, yet never has society been  quite as comfortable with the concept of the spectrum than the present.

According to researchers at Merriam-Webster, use of the word  “spectrum”, in a wide range of contexts, has grown dramatically within  the current decade. Coined by Isaac Newton in 1672 to describe  refractions of light, today referencing a “spectrum” is almost always  shorthand for acknowledging a metaphorical range of nuances.

Read more here.

The Dangers of Categorical Thinking


Bart de Langhe and Philip Fernbach outline the risks of relying too much on categorical thinking:

  • Compression - disregarding variation within a category
  • Amplification - exaggerating differences across category boundaries
  • Discrimination - excessive focus on some categories at the expense of others
  • Fossilization -  difficulty escaping entrenched ideas

Read more here.

Why diverse talent matters for boards


Professor Paul Healy from Harvard Business School has surveyed over 2,000 directors of global companies about their boards' diversity, size and composition, internal dynamics, internal governance, and effectiveness.

He says an effective board should be seen as a team of people, rather than an exclusive club, with a varied skill set and not too many high profile members.

Also recommended is taking the time to understand the culture and  tone of the whole organisation rather than just the elite, and avoiding group think. Read more here.

The Startup Board Report: Don't just appoint your mates to the board

A research report by Think & Grow and KPMG High Growth Ventures

Australia’s startup boards are predominantly recruited through the  referral networks of founders and investors — most of whom are men. This  lack of diversity and formal recruitment processes could be holding  back emerging businesses, according to a report from KPMG.

Read more here.

Seek out diversity of thought and collaboration


Helen Lee Bouygues, President of Reboot Foundation share her three simple habits to improve critical thinking:

  1. Question assumptions
  2. Reason through logic
  3. Seek out diversity of thought and collaboration

Read more here.

Critically important (But less obvious) elements of leadership team diversity


Fred Crawford of Alix Partners is concerned that a lack of diversity of background, experience, education and type of intelligence is a risk for effective organizational leadership.

Read more here.

The Stormtrooper problem: Why thought diversity makes us better


Diversity is what makes us stronger, not weaker. Biologically, without  diversity we die off as a species. We can no longer adapt to changes in  the environment. This is true of social diversity as well.

Read more here

How do you support a diverse and inclusive culture, practically?


What practically can organisations do to improve diversity of thought today? Below are six things you can do now to take Diversity and Inclusion forward in your company.

Read more here.

What's the difference between race and ethnicity?


Emma Bryce describes how these words are often used interchangeably, but technically, they're  defined as separate things. Nina  Jablonski, an anthropologist and palaeobiologist at The Pennsylvania  State University, who is known for her research into the evolution of  human skin color says "Race is understood by most people as a mixture of  physical, behavioral and cultural attributes. Ethnicity recognizes  differences between people mostly on the basis of language and shared  culture." Read more here.