Why You Should Promote Diversity and Conformity

Ferrari – an iconic name in auto racing – won six consecutive Formula 1 world championships into the early 2000’s. It remains a record for consecutive world titles in the now almost 70-year-old series.
Ferrari, of course, is an Italian team. However, in the early 2000’s their General Manager was French, their Technical Director English, the Chief Designer South African, the Head of Aerodynamics Greek, and their drivers German and Brazilian. That’s quite a diverse cast. (And if you buy into national stereotypes, not the easiest to harmonize!)
Yet for all that diversity, Ferrari insisted on total conformity when it came to one thing: a fierce commitment to winning. That level of commitment was a non-negotiable, ironclad requirement. No diversity allowed.
For certain things you do want conformity. When it comes to your organization’s vision, everyone needs to be driving towards it. And when it comes to essential skills and traits, everyone must possess them.
But you don’t want conformity for the sake of conformity. If you are truly committed to winning then you want to secure the absolute best people available, regardless of whether they are Italian, German, Brazilian or Martian. You don’t want conformity for characteristics that are irrelevant to your goal.
To be clear, Ferrari didn’t pursue diversity for the sake of diversity. Diversity was an incidental by-product of their efforts to bring together the best talent. But does that mean you shouldn’t actively promote diversity? No, not at all. Promoting diversity can help your organization avoid irrelevant conformity that might limit your success. And that unfairly disadvantages various categories of people.
Be clear about when conformity is critical and when it isn’t. Then you can achieve the right balance. And promote both diversity and conformity.
Make it happen.
P.S. Would you like to receive Make Strategy Happen resources (models, tools, videos, articles and more) direct to your inbox? Subscribe to our Making Strategy Happen resources here.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts