343 - Power of Diversity - John Laurito

What comes to mind when you hear the word diversity in the workplace? In this episode, host John Laurito shares the true meaning of diversity and what it really entails. He also gives a tangible example of when diverse thinking is at play and when it’s not. Tune in to learn more about the importance of having a diverse team and applying that strategy or concept in your organization.

[0:00] Intro

[3:08] What does diversity in the workplace really mean?

[8:17] Sense check every now and then how diverse your team is

[8:57] Understand what being in a diverse team really means

[9:27] Leverage your diverse team: ask the right questions

[11:35] Quick recap on the power of diversity and how leaders miss out on this important aspect   

[14:13] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related. I am your host, John Laurito. I will still be your host for years and years to come. We’re just about to flip into 2023. I’m super excited. I was telling somebody earlier today, they were asking me about the podcast. They said it’s been almost three years, three years coming up. And I think next month they’re going to look back. And when the first episode was, it was either January or February of 2020. And by the way, if you want a good laugh, go back to my first episode and watch it on YouTube if you can, because that was just funny. It was really kind of a whole different spin on what I was thinking the podcast should be, but I’m interested in your your feedback on that. So go back to episode number one. Okay. So let’s talk about episode number 300 and something. We’re over 350 now. I’m looking at this. Uh, let’s see here. We’re at. I think this is going to be episode number 343. Pretty cool. So I want to talk about the power of diversity and I want to talk about a couple of things in particular, because I see leaders that have really built an organization that has done tremendous, tremendous things in a short period of time.

John And and so much of it comes down to people. I think it’s one of the most critical decisions that a leader has to make, especially someone taking over an organization. Is getting the right people on the team and getting the right people in the organization and candidly, the wrong people out of the organization. And that is critical. There’s there’s really nothing that’s more important to that in as a leader, you need to be thinking about how you build your team and your organization and what types of people should be part of your team or different teams or part of the organization to the whole. And one of the key things I’ve seen and having been involved in both types of organizations, organizations that really don’t don’t abide or subscribe to the concept of building a diverse organization or they don’t put enough focus on it, or some that think that they do and they really don’t, and then others that do. And I’ve seen the dramatic, dramatic difference in those organizations, and it might be a little different than you think. So what most people think about when they think of building a diverse organization or diversity as a whole is is diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity. And while those are very huge aspects of building a diverse organization, it goes much, much further than that. It’s not only building a diverse organization of gender and race, it’s also building a diverse organization in terms of many factors, including age, including experience, including levels of experience, types of experience. It’s including diversity of backgrounds. It’s including diversity of even social styles and personalities. If I’m a driver and I’ve got all drivers on my team, that’s not an effective team at all. I want on that team.

John Analytics Amy Bowles expresses its diversity in terms of ways of thinking about things, its diversity in terms of everything. Colby profile is a great, great tool that can identify diversity of ways of thinking and social styles and personality types. It is so critical to build your organization like that. It is unbelievable. But it doesn’t happen by accident. It really doesn’t, because in fact, if you don’t have a conscious focus on it, it will actually do the opposite because people tend to attract people very much like them, which is great in a social setting, but it’s not good in a business setting. So if I build an organization of all people that are just like John Laurito, that’s not going to be an effective organization at all. It’s really not because we don’t have any conflicting ways of thinking about things. I was working with a client and this was this was going back maybe a couple of years. And I remember and I was it was an amazing experience. This team of people, of leaders, this this team was working on a marketing strategy and they were trying to reach a certain audience. And they were they were working on linked in as an outreach tool and the process of how they were doing this through LinkedIn. And the reason why they were doing is they’d had so much success with marketing and prospecting through LinkedIn with every other type of customer base or niche market, niche market that they were targeting, that they assumed that they were they were still going down that road and they were working on how they perfected the LinkedIn process for this new group of prospects in the entirely different industry. And there was a team of probably seven people involved in this project, and six of them had been working together for a long period of time.

John And I could tell even that having worked with them myself for a long period of time, they were all kind of subscribing to the way the same way of thinking about things. In fact, I think a few of them came through the same organization. Their whole backgrounds were the same everything. So they obviously just thought about things the same way. And it wasn’t until this seventh person who was relatively new to the team brought up something that was really critical for this mission that they had. And this person said, you know, the audience that we were trying to reach and that we’re trying to go after. They’re not on LinkedIn. They’re really not. They’re not. And maybe even if they have their profiles on LinkedIn, they’re not active on LinkedIn. It’s just not a part of that industry. And I figured with the industry was it was it was a relatively small industry and a very specific targeted industry that this group was trying to go after. And this person brought that up. And everybody kind of just thought for a second. And sure enough, people looked online and started looking through and doing some searches and filters on LinkedIn for. That industry. And sure enough, yeah, there weren’t many people that had LinkedIn profiles, and you could tell just by looking at them. Some didn’t have their pictures on them. You could tell and you could look on LinkedIn and see how active somebody is. They weren’t using it. So here they were spending so much time and energy trying to work through a process and they were focused on the wrong things. They weren’t asking the right question. The right question was, is LinkedIn, is this the right strategy? Thank God this one person who came from a totally different background, totally different, different industry knew enough to challenge the norm and ask that question, Hey, this is not going to work and here’s why This is the wrong strategy.

John Let’s back up, go down the different road. And they did. And they had lots of success with the new strategy. But that was just one example of how that diverse way of thinking brought attention to something. They would have spent a lot of time and energy and money going down the wrong road had it not been for diverse way of thinking and diverse experiences. So I can’t tell you enough how critical it is to build a diverse team. In fact, you’ve got to kind of do a check every once in a while. And just if you’re if you’re leading meetings and you get your team together and you’ve got all kinds of, you know, agreement and head nods and you know all that, yeah, you know that maybe that feels good. Maybe it looks good on the surface. But that’s really not the sign of a great team. A great team is disagreeing. They have healthy conflict and it stems from the fact that they’re diverse. They’re all different people, all different ways of doing things, all different ways of thinking. And that’s how they get stuff done and that’s how they really, really reach new levels and new heights. So so here’s, here’s the first thing. One is it’s understanding what it looks like to be a diverse team and what that really means. Again, it’s not just although that’s very important, it’s gender and it’s ethnicity. It’s everything. It’s way of thinking, it’s age, it’s background, it’s everything there, their social style, personality, style, everything that goes into building a diverse team. But here’s the second piece. It’s not enough to have a diverse team. You have to leverage it. You have to tap into the potential of having an the value of having a diverse team.

John And the way you do that as a leader is you ask the right questions. If it’s you just talking and giving direction and orders and whatnot as the leader, well, you’ve got a diverse team of people that are really not acting as the effective and impactful leaders that they can be because they’re not really allowed to or enabled to or empowered, too. You’ve got to ask the right questions. That brings this out. So ask questions, Throw throw out the questions, the tough questions. You know, is there a better way for us to do this? Okay. What is something we should be thinking about that we’re not what’s not on our radar screen right now? That should be. Is there a simpler way to do this? What are the unintended consequences of this decision or this strategy or this direction that we’re headed in? Is there a better way to communicate this or how should we communicate this to the organization? What should we be thinking about next? What should be our next top two three priorities? Who should we be involved in that we’re not right now? Who should we be leveraging that we’re not right now? What departments should we pull into to this? These are the questions that you want to ask a diverse team that’s really going to get them thinking, if if we were our competition, what would we be doing knowing what we know right now in this room? Okay, how would we be taking advantage of our gaps and our weaknesses? How might we be outdoing our strengths? What would be the things that we would want to do if we were going to try and put ourselves out of business? What would we need to do as the team that we are in order to ultimately put ourselves out of business? That that’s the type of questioning that really brings about conversation and thinking and ultimately answers and solutions and action steps and strategies that that team is capable of bringing out.

John So quick topic tonight, again, just the power of diversity. I see leaders ultimately missing out on this critical element of their organization. And I will tell you, if you don’t address it early enough, part of this is just is talking about it and and letting people understand the importance of not only building but really enhancing, leveraging, fully utilizing a diverse team with diverse mindsets and thought processes and opinions and backgrounds and experiences and everything can make people feel more comfortable with voicing their opinion. And every so often check and say, okay. Are we really building the team we’re trying to build and are we really bringing out everything that we can in this diverse team? I hate to say it, but if you go too far down a road, it just it builds so much momentum. If you’re building a certain organization with a certain type of person, it just magnifies. Again, people tend to track people just like themselves. Unless you make it a conscious effort and a conscious thought and a conscious strategy of yours to build and leverage that type of team. So I hope this was valuable. I’m interested in your thoughts. I’m interested in your feedback. We’ll do more on this topic because I’ve got two leaders actually, that I’ll be talking to in future episodes and kind of going deep on this because I you know, what’s really cool and what I love about this is again, an opportunity to talk to leaders, uh, executive leaders, small business owners, senior or CEOs of, of medium and very large companies all around the world in all different industries on a weekly basis. So it’s really cool for me to be able to ask questions. Now, a lot of that does turn into a podcast that you hear or see.

John Some of it doesn’t, but it gives me an opportunity to really pick the minds of some of these leaders that are in all different industries and all different walks of life. And this is a topic that’s really interested. Interesting to hear their perspective on. And again, some admittedly do it really well, some admittedly don’t do well. They focus on it or don’t and don’t execute on it or they talk about it. They don’t execute on it. Some execute on an extremely well. And it’s amazing to hear and see the different contrast. So again, I’ll bring that to future episodes. More on this topic to come. As always, greatly appreciate you tuning in. So as always you know the deal like share subscribe Gordon below. Give a five star review and we’ll see you next time.

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!

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