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  • Writer's pictureNanang Chalid

Build a diverse team, not the most similar with you.

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

Chemistry is overrated. Many leaders believe they need to work with people with the 'same chemistry', as if you don't have to say anything to your team or your stakeholders, they will understand and be in the same direction with you and instantly things happens. Well, you are talking about a Magician for a profession, not a Leader.

The reason why meeting people with the same way of thinking (so it called, chemistry) does feel good is because it is easy. Most often, you feel it when you are hiring people, and find out a candidate that is a "mini-me" - hence, the hiring bias, which is also not suggested if you are advised by the right HR person. The reason why it is a recipe for doom is that when you lead in a recent disruption era, you (and your team) will be asked to deliver your best. No room for mediocre performance, or else your solution will only get you so much that you need to re-do the work all over again. The more mediocre your solution is, the shorter the time span of your solution that you need to roll out your sleeves and get your team's hands dirty again, and again, and again. You are not leading by design if you don't have the best solution.

To come up with the best possible solution to your business challenges, you need the best that a team can offer. If you are a great "dot-connector" and conceptual thinker and very stakeholder-oriented, you will appreciate the push of a fierce action driver that can think simpler and propose a faster action plan vs typical incremental steps you had. The other way around, if you are a fierce driver that tends to rush decisions and actions, you will feel that there are blind spots that 'your opposite' style would be able to spot that makes your plan done more sustainable. This is why you need to gather as many different styles in your team depending on how many numbers you had. If you only have a small team (let's say, two to four people) then you need to bring entirely diverse types of team members. But if you have the luxury of having a bigger team, then you can build a mix of a similar and diverse team.

Diversity is under-rated, and it's not just about gender, the most important ones are really on perspective and styles.

Photo of my team: post 2018-reflection and 2019 priorities session. You are what your team do.

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