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Letters to a Young Manager

Diversity, #427
LTYM > Culture

Dear Sophie,
Asking about how to get more diversity on your IT staff is a good question. It's more than seeking gender and ethnic diversity.

I was proud of the fact that my IT team had seven nationalities and a balance of men and women. The gender balance is rare for an IT department. How did I get there? To be honest, I inherited most of the team. I was lucky that my managers hired a variety of people. That's the first principle: hire to the culture you want to create.

Now here's the "more" part: a culture of diversity is beyond a diverse group of ethnicity and gender. It gives you a diverse set of opinions. Without the later, you're only ticking the HR box.

Having a group that thinks alike means you won't get asked challenging "poke in the eye" questions. And that means you always have to be right. Fat chance. The second principle is: hire people that are not like you.

That's diversity.
Sincerely yours,



Focus on diversity of opinions

Discussion Questions:

1) How many nationalities are on your IT team? How many men and women? Do you want to change this?
2) Who on your team will ask you a tough "poke in the eye" question? Who tells you the truth?
3) With these points in mind, what are the disadvantages and advantages of a group interview?

For Further Reading:

Fons Trompenaars, Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business, McGraw-Hill; 2 edition, December 1, 1997

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