How Diverse is Your Thinking?
by Jonathan O'Shea
We have all become more familiar with the importance of diversity in the modern world, but it can be really difficult to introduce this into a small business with a small number of employees.
Before we entered the globalised trading world we now exist within, there was, arguably, less of a commercial imperative to be diverse in your thinking. The world of the television programme “Open All Hours” was not that removed from the reality that a lot of people experienced in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The world has changed enormously since then, particularly so in recent years, and every business needs to be more attuned to the wide world it is engaging with.
If you are a large multi-national, then you have a natural access to the range of opinions and perspectives that are out there – although this doesn’t guarantee that they are sought or listened to!
For smaller businesses this can be more difficult and it is something that can be partially overcome through Peer Advisory Boards.
When I’m forming my Peer Boards for The Alternative Board I look to achieve diversity in four key ways:
- All members of the Boards come from different sectors and are non-competing – this ensures openness and trust within the group.
- The Board needs to be made up of both men and women – this makes for a much better dynamic in the room and improved insight.
- I want to see businesses of different sizes working together – they often bring different solutions to solving the same problems.
- Finally, I’m seeking people with different backgrounds – this is an enormous contributor to the diversity of thinking in the room and is, in my view, essential.
If you get a group of people together who provide this diversity and are all the key decision makers within their respective organisations, then the quality of the thinking and insight is much, much greater than would be achieved by a group of people that look the same and think the same.
Too often leaders drift into a situation where they are hearing their thoughts mirrored around the room and so struggle to break through and beyond their current scale, geography, product diversity, etc.
If you want to grow your business and genuinely understand the needs of your customers, clients and suppliers but don’t have a big enough organisation to get this diversity of thought from within, then I strongly recommend you join a good, diverse Peer Board, such as those run by The Alternative Board.
When you think of it that way, it seems obvious doesn’t it?
This is the reason why peer boards are one of the fasting growing areas of business support in the UK and around the world. If you’re not getting access to this great source of advice and support yet, then find a source of peer board support and see what a difference it will make to you and your business.
The benefits of advisory boards for small business owners
At The Alternative Board (TAB), peer advisory boards are a big part of what we do. Here we list the benefits of advisory boards for small business owners.
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