Get an outside perspective, from inside.

Remember the last time you started a new job? Odds are that within a few days someone asked, “You’re new here, what do you think?”

Similarly, if you’ve been in the workforce a while, you’ve likely heard someone say “We’re too close to the problem. Let’s get an outside perspective.”

An “outside perspective” is universally acknowledged to be invaluable.

Focus groups are probably the best known example. From their humble beginnings at Columbia University in the 1940s, where they were used to test audience reactions to radio soap operas, they are still in use today to test everything from new products to software usability. The reasons are easy to understand. Organizations want to avoid ‘groupthink’.

Over time, employees start to think alike, shaped and influenced by organizational culture and experience. Cohesion and harmony are prized; conflict and alternative thinking are avoided. But there is a fine line between being in a groove and being in a rut. Team cohesion and a united perspective can also result in a loss of creativity and less independent thinking.

So what if you could get an outside perspective from inside?

It’s one of the greatest returns on investment from a diverse workforce. Organizations that make diversity and inclusion a priority in their workplaces are, in effect, building an outside perspective internally.

Diversity – of thought, experience, and perspective – is an invaluable resource. And the best part is, it’s renewable.

Earlier this week we tweeted a link to a study by McKinsey & Company about Diversity and Inclusion. The data set was their largest yet, coming from fifteen countries and more than 1000 large companies. The key findings are profound:

“The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.”

“Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives…”

“In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, our business-case findings are equally compelling: in 2019, top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability…”

The conclusion is inescapable: if you’re not building a diverse and inclusive workforce, you need an outside perspective.