The Power of Diverse Tribes
2023 will go down as a big year in Rokker history! As a business consultancy that specialise in organisational design, we never expected establishing teams in other countries to challenge our values! We historically believed in the importance of people ‘knowing their tribe’, but that concept seemed a little parochial and insular when our organisation began spanning multiple countries and cultures!
We came, we listened, we learnt
We were concerned that the ‘tribe’ narrative could encourage ‘narrow group thinking’ or cliques to form around location, function or social interests. We started to explore the benefits of people pursuing connection and building diverse at work, beyond the comfort of common ground and have come to a few conclusions.
Research by scientists at MIT and Carnegie Mellon found that high-performing teams are usually gender and ethnicity representational and consist of individuals with high social sensitivity, who have excellent interaction etiquette. Teams exhibit high-performing traits and devise smarter, more innovative solutions when the diversity of their experiences, perspectives and talents is combined. But bringing diverse-tribes of personalities together into a cohesive unit isn’t easy.
It’s only natural
It’s a natural inclination to be drawn to people that we identify with. We’re always on the quest for common ground to help that identification, whether that’s immediately apparent (people who look like us), or whether it requires a little further digging (people who think like us).
However, Matthew Syed’s article on ‘The Dangers of Homophily in the Workplace’ clearly articulates how that singular perspective can be a problem. ‘When it comes to problem-solving or enhancing innovation, groups or teams of people who think or act in exactly the same way can be detrimental to intelligent decision-making and even to society’. Therefore, its vitally important that we consciously seek cognitive diversity in teams. But how do we retrain ourselves and others to seek out and build meaningful connection with those that are different from us?
A good kind of different
Understanding the benefits of diverse differences can be a really good place to start.
- Actively seeking different perspectives within your organisation is a great way of solving internal challenges.
- A wider range of perspectives ensures more authentic validation and fosters an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best.
- By gathering together people with different passions and strengths you are more likely to have someone with the experience or knowledge in the team that you need.
- By including veteran employees, you can benefit from invaluable historical knowledge gained through years of experience.
- People with different skills and experience can mentor and knowledge-share to build a collective wisdom.
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Why expand our world
By extending our pool of connections, we expand our support network, our sphere of influence and the potential for opportunity. Those opportunities could be to learn and grow our knowledge, or they could involve some commercial benefit such as generating new business. Either way, why would you not!
How to support it
Do our people appreciate the value of encountering each other in the office environment and engaging for a purpose other than an official meeting? There is no doubt that our ability to connect and communicate was hampered by the pandemic and by remote working practices, but ways to overcome the challenges have developed alongside them. Our responsibility as ‘People people’ is to provide opportunities for connection and to encourage an appetite for it.
It’s not difficult to identify those with a tendency to clique and those who have more diverse neural networks into the tribe. A simple look at your internal communications tool (e.g. Teams) can reveal whether your people are engaging purely for functional purposes, or whether they value a rich connection with a diverse array of colleagues.
Encouraging team-building activities, social events, and open communication can really help to create space for connection and growing a strong sense of belonging. Research has shown that ‘diverse tribes’ of colleagues who feel connected and supported are more likely to approach challenges with enthusiasm and determination.
The power of connecting in borderless communities
We believe in the importance of knowing the tribe and expanding your world and have seen many times how the power of diversity and strength of unity helps people and businesses to thrive. As we’ve continued to expand and build out the Rokker Network with the launch of RokkerX we’ve established its importance beyond doubt (in fact, a new RokkerX core value is knowing the tribe, relating to the wider organisation’s team). We encourage our international team to connect in an open borderless community that thrives on the opportunities that interaction brings and it’s working! Our supportive community is growing as is our reputation for being a great place to work and a great team to work with. If you’d like to explore working with us as a colleague or client please use our contact form or email email@example.com.