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Ilya Tulvio

The “cost” of diverse teams

Diverse teams produce better results. We talk about diversity a lot at Made by Many. (And it’s not just talk: here’s what we’re doing about it.)

But much of the focus on diversity is on increasing it: how to reach a more diverse pool of candidates, how to word your job ad to make it inclusive, how to avoid hidden bias in the hiring process.

Much less has been said about the other things we need to change — as individuals and as a company — to make inclusivity part of who we are. And no one has said that this is without cost. Working in teams isn’t always easy. And working with people of different backgrounds and world views can require more effort. You can’t rely on shared cultural or socioeconomic shorthand.

Maybe you won’t listen to the same bands or like the same food or watch the same TV shows. That meat-only restaurant might not be a good idea for a team lunch. Pints after work isn’t quite the same if you have children at home or you don’t drink.

Heaven forbid, what will happen to the office banter when you can’t crack stereotype-based jokes anymore?

To be more inclusive, we will have to change — this is the “cost” of diversity.

The funny thing is, when I think about how we need to change, the list looks a lot like the traits of a decent human being. Shouldn’t we all want to be considerate, open, honest, compassionate, friendly and inclusive?

Surely this isn’t too high a price to pay?

Not sold by exhortations of human decency? I’ve got news for you: the reason diverse teams perform better is because they are less comfortable.