Are you a corporate marketing executive with an MBA? Are you racist, sexist or against hiring anyone NOT from your country club? If so, you can stop reading this post now. WAIT…Actually, keep reading.
You’re the person who needs to see this more than anyone, because I’m going to show you why you’re losing share in the market – and losing it fast, more and more each day to scrappy startups and competitors who always seem to get to market first (with ideas you wait to see if you should follow).
Demographic Diversity in Perspective
The emphasis on demographic diversity is, and always will be, a complete failure in comparison to intellectual knowledge and/or experience diversity. Here’s why…
Pointing to growth of a single demographic segment or group, rather than a more modernistic approach of simply focusing on the growth of knowledge or subject-matter diversity, is simply creating another stigma.
In this environment, you’ve created two victims – the internal group who now believes they are victims (as your conference / mission / event implies), and of course the other groups outside of it…who now see themselves both as victims and the wrongfully accused.
‘We promote X people’ singles out both the segment promoted and all those not within it – while still ignoring the fact that everyone in the room is increasingly big enterprise leadership-trained, MBA school graduates ignoring the fact that today’s fastest growing companies ARE NOT run by MBAs with corporate backgrounds – in fact, they’re not corporations at all.
Instead, they’re intellectual diverse groups with a high level of ambiguity in discussions and their objectives (i.e., interpretive ambiguity), united mostly by a collective vision.
So if demographic diversity – when promoted as a core focus – enables little or no change in cognitive diversity, why hide your obvious compliance with the norm under demographic diversity?
The Smart Approach to Diversity
‘We promote minds of all kinds’ approach puts the focus of the hiring manager beyond bias, seeking candidates from many educational, cognitive and work experience backgrounds… and when done effectively, demographic bias is impossible with this approach.
It focuses on faultlines and growth diversity, which cannot feasibly occur in a demographically identical group. And the growth that results from this model, in comparison, isn’t one. Can we prove this?
According to Inc. 5000, is currently the fastest growing company in America. Of the 11 members on this scrappy startup’s management team, only 3 of them are MBAs…three of the four founders not included, nor are the CEO and President of the company.
Even fewer have a corporate background, and the leadership profiles are an easy case that diversity in demographics, while highly present, was in no way a central objective in building the company.
But looking at the backgrounds of each leader, they all seem to be from a different educational and work experience background Hmmm…moving on…
A global, integrated solutions 3D printing company specializing in 3D printers, print materials, professional and consumer custom-parts services, 3D imaging and customization software, this mega-growth team of entrepreneurs keeps it no secret that intellectual diversity matters internally. And the company has been atop the fastest growers across the board for a while now.
CMO and Vice President Cathy Lewis sports a background as diverse as they come, from corporate leadership to entrepreneurship, with no sign of education background publicly available – very uncharacteristic of your typical ivy league MBA, or any MBA I’ve seen, don’t you think?
But what about the Big Players?
Let’s take a look at Fast Company’s ranking of the fastest growing technology companies, or the Fast Tech 25 as it’s known. Specifically, let’s take a look at the #1 company in the list. A company we can all relate to, if you’re reading this blog…LinkedIn.
- Founded by scholar and entrepreneur Reid Hoffman
- Led by a young, culturally and demographically diverse executive group
- Jeff Weiner, CEO – BS in Economics – focus on economic development, education and health
- Nick Besbeas, VP of Marketing – MA in Economics – focus on children, education, and humanitarian relief
- Deep Nishar, VP of Products and User Experience – MBA? Now that’s unique fit…
- Shannon Stubo, VP of Communications – Psychology – from corp-staff to tech leader
Other Suggested Reading
In 2013, Geil Browning’s innovative company – Emergenetics – reached the Inc. 5000 list for the third straight year in a row. And to help other startups and entrepreneurs gain a look into her secret to success, her article on Cognitive Diversity introduced the concept and thinking that aided the fastest growth for her company – and many others across the board.
It’s not your marketing that sucks. It’s the myopic thinking, your mediocre products and most of all – your people. To succeed in this era, companies need a intellectually and professionally diverse team of independent thinkers, with a collective vision.
With this in place, demographic diversity is a given. If you want a better approach to improving your business online, as a thought leader and motivational driver of talent, join the unfunnel network to gain exclusive content, free marketing templates and product design insights that you won’t find in your ‘Business Bother Weekly’ publications.