Diversity Case Study

I’m studying the Optimizing Diversity on Teams course on Coursera. These are my revision notes for week 4.

High Performance on Diverse Teams

  • A high performing team (HPT) has
    1. High quality output of product
    2. Strong working relationships
    3. Meaningful takeaways for individual team members
  • A HPT best practice:  willingness to be accountable for results
  • Google example:
    • Workforce demographics:
      • 70% men
      • 61% white
      • 30% Asian
      • 3% Hispanic
      • 2% African-American
    • Publishing these demographics made Google publicly accountable for these figures
    • Leaders are willing to self-reflect
    • Psychological safety
      • Google undertook a two year self-study of over 250 attributes over 1800 teams
      • Who was on a team didn’t matter as much as other factors
      • Team Interaction/Structure/Contribution > Team Composition
      • Positive relations
      • High degree of inter-personal trust and mutual respect (people are comfortable being themselves)
      • Psychologically safe teams are more likely to prevent early problems and accomplish shared goals
  • High performing teams:
    1. Engage in self reflection and public accountability
    2. Facilitate an environment of psychological safety

Creating Inclusion Through Participation

  • The key is to develop practices in your team that allow for the even flow of contributions and ideas across team members
  • Create an environment of inclusion by enhancing participation
  • Example 1:
    • A team can set a ground rules that all meeting agendas will be sent in advance of face to face meetings
  • Example 2:
    • Some teams sent out presentations 1 day in advance to allow participants time to digest the topic of the meeting. Instead of presenting the slides, the agenda is focused on discussing the presentation
    • This practice helps prevent a bias towards ideas suggested by group members with more power or authority
  • The ability of team members in all levels to participate in important decisions creates opportunities for meaning making and creativity at all levels.
  • Another example to increase collaboration
    • Use “brainwriting” instead of “brainstorming” when generating more ideas
    • Brainwriting: group members write down thoughts & ideas by themselves in response to a problem-solving prompt
    • Brainwriting tends to produce more ideas of a high quality than brainstorming. You are less likely to be distracted by other’s ideas when generating your own
  • Google moderator
    • Employees can ask anonymous questions
    • Other employees can vote the question up or down for relevancy
    • When the meeting starts, execs start with a question that has the most votes
  • Non-judgemental listening
    • Let a group member fully describe an idea without interruption, and then responding in a way that validates the potential for this idea
    • This is another means for increasing high performance
    • The opposite of non-judgemental listening: interrupting and responding with phrases like “that won’t work”, or “this is a terrible idea”, or “we’ve done this before”
  • In each of these examples, there was:
    • psychological safety
    • a process for receiving input from many different stakeholders

Nike Introduction

  • Think about what your team’s goals, roles, and norms would be, so, that you can support both diversity and inclusion on your team
  • Demographics of Nike employees: 48% white
  • Strong LGBT support
  • Four principles of diversity policy
    1. Diversity drives recruitment
    2. Diversity enriches the creativity and innovation that shapes the brand
    3. Diversity grows the competitive advantage
    4. Diversity heightens the stature and belief in the brand within our culturally diverse customer base
  • Training to address unconscious bias

Nike Goals

  • Nike wants the composition of its staff to mirror its customer base
  • Nike’s goals:
    1. Give back to historically under-served communities
      • Nike designs footwear to promote health and prevent disease in the Native American Community: the Nike Air Native N Seven
      • 7 generations of wisdom (Native American idea)
      • Proceeds from these shoes went back to the communities
    2. Advocate for the rights of marginalised groups
      • Nike gave testimony to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions
      • Nike advocated for non-discrimination in the workplace for the LGBT community
      • LGBT sports summit at Nike headquarters
    3. Educate employees on issues of diversity and inclusion to minimise unconscious bias and prejudice
      • Nike runs trainings for staff emphasising respecting differences, leveraging strengths and maximising opportunity for everyone
      • Trainings include:
        • How to foster diverse environments
        • How diversity can encourage creativity and innovation
  • Inclusion is the most important success factor driving engagement

Nike Roles

  • Nike created a new role in 2006: the Vice President of Diversity
  • Nike formed a new diversity and inclusion team in 2008
  • VP of Diversity and Include reported directly tot he CEO from 2009
  • Diversity VP works with HR VP to ensure that diversity is considered in all talent decisions
  • Team’s charge is to engage employees, provide business consultation and develop tools that support diversity inclusion across all business units
  • Networks of employees help with advocacy inside and outside Nike
    • Asia Pacific Employee and Friends Network
    • Black Employee and Friends Network
    • Disabled Employee and Friends Network
    • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender and Friends Network
    • Latino and Friends Network
    • Native American and Friends Network
    • Global Women’s Leadership Council
  • Managers provide a critical role

Nike Norms

  • Norms are ground rules that the team uses to structure their information sharing and decision making
  • Nike Norms:
    • Code of Ethics (“Inside the Lines”)
      • All employees must promise to stay inside the lines
      • Whistle-blowing hotline to report transgressions
    • Structured feedback sessions
      • Help teams to establish their new foundations
      • Everyone provides a self-assessment and an assessment of their work preferences, including
        • preference to work autonomously or collaboratively
        • how decisions are preferred to be made (consensus? specific roles?)
      • This feedback is used for the team to set their own goals, roles and norms
      • This practice of level-setting allows a safe space for ideas to be continuously generated
    • Culture as Offence (CAO)
      • CAO is a workshop that seeks to encourage inter-generational dialogue by bringing experienced executives and young new Nike employees together
  • The important point: Make sure you set goals, roles and norms on your own team, and make sure they are explicit.

Interview with Jacqui Barton

  • Vice President of Human Capital in the community and state segment of United Health Group

Global Leadership: Working Across Borders

  • Global Leadership: Working Across Borders

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