Our world continues to develop towards a multicultural environment. The individual and its unique perspective are put into new contexts and linked with others, leading to multifaceted mindsets. In the economical context, this is nowadays exploited to create a competitive advantage: groups containing different personalities and role types achieve a higher performance than those of likeminded.

Diversity through Team Roles

Established works underline this train of thought and offer different approaches of how to design this heterogeneity. The diagrams depict the team role model of Meredith Belbin1 and the Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley2.

Teamrollen Modell, team role model, Meredith BelbinTen Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley

And why is it, that a team with greater diversity delivers better performance? For the simple reason, that the variety of opinions and perceptions promotes a holistic reflection and creativity. The infamous concept by Edward de Bono of „The Six Thinking Hats“ applies this effect in creativity workshops3. The participants are forced to take on roles, which they usually would not embody.

Perspectives and Lateral Thinking

The success and prominence of De Bonos‘ method of the „Six Thinking Hats“ attests the necessity of diverse mentalities and viewpoints within a team. The concept defines 6 different hats or roles, in order to categorise various perspectives, which we can adopt. The blue hat represents moderator thinking (“big picture”), the white hat analytical thinking, the red hat emotional, the black hat critical, the yellow one optimistic and the green hat creative thinking. The team metaphorically wears one hat after the other, while analysing and overcoming a given challenge. This process trains lateral thinking.

Diversity and Change of Perspective in Competition Today

To sum up, we wish to learn to view problems from different angles and this works best when designing a heterogeneous team. Dr. Gabriele Sauberer is one of the pioneers of Diversity Management. Back in 2008, the Dr. Sauberer European Business Consultancy initiated and developed the first standard for Diversity Management worldwide: ÖNORM S 2501 (“Diversity Management – Allgemeiner Leitfaden über Grundsätze, Systeme und Hilfsinstrumente”). In addition, they developed a European person certificate the „Diversity Driver’s License“. Her commitment in this topic is based upon the conviction, that „Diversity Management can be a deciding competitive success factor for enterprises of all shapes and sizes”. 5

[1] http://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/
[2] http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/
[3] http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php
[5] https://www.dr-sauberer.com/leistungen/diversity-management/
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