Google the very white (72%) and very male (79%) technology company that specializes in Internet services and products has stumbled upon some interesting information when it comes to teams. After all, who wouldn’t want to listen to this financial behemoth on what makes a good team since most of their team members look like, talk like and act like each other?
They started from the assumption that the best team would most likely consist of a diverse color blind combination of white men. An extrovert here, an introvert there, throw in a couple of Rhodes Scholars, add a few Ivy Leaguers and top it off with a couple of PhDs, and voila-the perfect team.
What they found was the most important characteristic of good teams is psychological safety; rooted in the notion that you can be a risk taker and know that your fellow team members will not be judgmental.
We can take risks and be vulnerable with each other because our safe team environment comes ready made since we are all alike.
We know how to get things done and can meet a high bar of excellence because the predictability we have from being homogeneous allows us to complete each other sentences.
Structure and Clarity
Since we share so much in common, we can come to consensus decisions in a quick fashion which ensures transparency around what needs to get completed.
Since we share such deep core values as white male privilege, we know we can find meaning and purpose in our work because we are all on the same page.
Since we all share the same white male DNA, we go to bed each night confident in the fact we have impacted a world that does not even look like us.
As you build federal government teams, have you drunk the Google Kool-Aid? I hope not. If you have there is antidote out there to counteract your poisoning. Take a teaspoon of diversity, mix it with a pint of recognition and embracing differences, and you will be well on your way to creating teams that resemble the taxpayers we serve.