Diversity is Gold
By syw on Jul 01, 2008
Cross posted at http://www.nomadicminds.org
No. It is useless to counts people's ethnic origins. What turns diversity into a competitive advantage is the difference in philosophy, perspective, or approaches to problem solving. In "The Wisdom of Crowds" James Surowiecki made a point that individuals in a group must be different and independent otherwise the wisdom disappeared.
And I also found the peril of global thinking. Too many company thinks globally by insisting the same policies, strategies, or business processes for all their global presences. This actually turns globalization into a burden: management either simplifies by sinking to the lowest common denominator or complicates by creating bureaucratic machines to handle all differences. Both make globalization a liability. Observe how Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and too many companies failed on capitalizing China.
Companies must carefully choose what should be the same globally and what can be different for each locale. This choice requires courage and a team that knows both the soul of the company as well as the uniqueness of each region, or at least the regions that matter. Does having a large employee base in China help? Or they simply become nuisance in management because they are so far away and so difficult to manage?
Don't confuse an American company with global presences with a company that is globalized. Similarly, don't confuse a staff with only diverse ethnic origins with a diversified staff. In both cases, the former is a competitive disadvantage and the latter an advantage.
No, it is not easy at all. Neither is making money. Are you an American company trying to make money in China, or India?