Professional networks - Deepstash

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The Importance Of Network Diversity

Professional networks

They usually comprise the colleagues we work with (team members or project collaborators). It may not seem like it, but we do have a lot of influence over the broader makeup of these networks.

We choose the people we spend time with (at lunch or coffee), the people we mentor or the people we seek advice from. Being intentional about the diversity of that network will result in better decision making for us and our companies.

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Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity & Inclusion

There is a significant relationship between competitive profit gains and diversity.

Companies with gender, ethnic and racial diversity are at least 15 percent more likely to experience above-average financial returns.

5 Lessons for Managing D&I
  • Recognize the Shift in Global Understanding of D&I.  Diverse thinkers come from a variety of different backgrounds.
  • Build an Inclusive Environment. All people are encouraged to draw upon their unique experiences, perspectives and backgrounds to advance business goals.
  • Use Multiple Practices and Measures.  Have solutions in place to monitor and retain a talented and diverse workforce.
  • Ensure Leaders Model Diversity and Inclusion. It sets the tone for the rest of the organization to follow suit.
  • Recognize the Connection Between Innovation and D&I. Diversity and inclusion increase innovation and reduce business risk.

Cognitive Diversity

The concept of cognitive diversity focuses on diversity of thinking and is composed of four dimensions:

  • Perspectives. People represent situations in different ways
  • Interpretations. Through diverse interpretations, teams can discover multiple resolutions.
  • Heuristics. People resolve issues in different ways.
  • Predictive models. Some analyze, and others look for a story. Both are useful for discovering workplace solutions.
Network Effects

Network effects are the unseen forces that are guiding our destiny and exerting a powerful intervention on our lives, creating energy that escorts us down a path that is not always fully our intention.

90 percent of these network forces are established in 7 major life events or crossroads, which compound over time: Our Family, High School Network, College Network, First Job, Marriage, Our City, Reassessments.

    Zipf's Law

    Zipf's law is a mathematical probability that states that in a given set, the most frequently used data value (or word) is used twice as often as the next most common value. This is true in various statistical sets like income distribution in companies, internet traffic, phone calls received, and language.

    One of the implications of this law is there are unconscious network forces and mathematical patterns governing our lives, with human beings just being nodes exchanging information.

    Dinner Party Mathematics

    When six to eight people are conversing at a dinner party, it is easy to focus on one conversation, but if the number is higher (say 15), then two-way conversations are more likely.

    When groups get larger, the change is exponential, not linear, affecting one's social experience.

    Social Narrowing

    Social Narrowing is a subconscious process in which we are spending time with people who are similar to us.

    This phenomenon can be a problem when we need new resources, ideas or a new career.

    Change Your Filters
    • When we meet people, we look at them and subconsciously make a decision in our heads about their importance, relevancy or their being of any interest to us.
    • The challenge is to fight these filters and invite people in your life who are of the least interest to you.
    • Identify and connect with people whom you wouldn't normally connect with, adding diversity to your social universe.
    People We Don't Reach Out To

    The lower your socioeconomic status is, the less diverse are your social networks, as we choose to reach inwards for advice, instead of outwards.

    The tweak to apply here is to reach out and ask for advice with the network of people whom you normally will not connect with. Remind yourself of your strengths and values, if you feel intimidated by wanting to take advice out of your comfort zone.