Speaker Enquiry

Diversity is Not Always Good for Business

If you are a champion of diversity in the workplace you will be pleased to know that much evidence exists that establishes its link to productivity. You will be less pleased to know there is just as much evidence that demonstrate a zero or negative link.

Yes, diversity is not necessarily good for business.

Please join me in a thought experiment. Imagine yourself starting a new job. On your first day you are called to a meeting to debate and discuss a decision that concerns an area where you have a lot of knowledge with your team.  When you walk in the door to meet your new colleagues you quickly realise – perhaps you already have experienced this – that the people in the room are very similar to each other. You also notice that you are clearly different from them.

The differences you notice between you and your colleagues become more obvious once the meeting starts. There is much agreement among your new colleagues in the room on the direction the decision should take.  You disagree. You eagerly raise your hand to contribute to the discussion. Your new manager calls on you to speak.  However, you soon find yourself interrupted. You try again to have your perspective heard, but your ideas are brushed away.

The second meeting follows a similar pattern. So does the third, fourth and…

How many meetings would you go to, still excited to contribute and collaborate with your colleagues? How would you handle this dynamic?

In practice, when faced with this dynamic, one of four things will happen.

First, you may continue to try and be heard embracing dissent. Unfortunately, in this team you will not be listened to. They are too busy enjoying the groupthink environment they have created. Over time, being ignored will surely erode your own wellbeing. Your dissent will also cause a negative impact on the productivity of the team.

Second, you may decide to stop contributing. You will be labelled an introvert. You might choose to pass the time in meetings by playing with your phone or simply drift into boredom. Either way, your diverse perspective is not benefitting the team in terms of performance.

Third, you may quit and find a new role. When you leave, the untapped potential of your diverse perspective leaves with you.

Last, you may choose to conform so you can progress your career in this team. Once again, your diverse perspective does not benefit the team. What is worse, is that over time, you will lose your authentic self as you play the game of conformity to climb the ladder within the organisation.

In all four of these scenarios, diversity is not good for business.

Instead, if you arrive on day one, and your manager is an inclusive leader, you will be heard.  You will also be able to contribute to your team in a way that enables your progression in the organisation. The organisation will receive the added value of your unique perspective. Your team’s productivity will improve. If the dynamic of inclusive leadership is replicated across many teams in the firm, there will be positive impacts on the firm’s bottom line.

Inclusive leadership skills can be learned and are worthy of investment. The return on any such investment is rising because of the fourth industrial revolution.  Without a doubt, inclusive leadership skills are the key ingredient to ensure that diversity is good for business.


Find out more about Dr. Grace Lordan here –


Join Our Mailing List.

Be the first to know about the latest inspirational speakers available to book for any type of event.