Monday, April 6, 2009

Hoop Heaven – Diversity or not?

Greetings from Detroit, Michigan. Home of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

The excitement builds from making sure the binoculars are in the luggage, through the plane rides as fans start to collect, to arrival where the mega NCAA banner welcomes you to Detroit, to the game opening tip-offs and exciting victories. It is a haven for basketball fans.

As a leader and student of people, this is either an extremely diverse or a completely homogeneous crowd. The case of homogeneous = predominantly male, lots of blue jeans, khaki’s and baseball caps, above average height, generally in the 30 to 50 age group and love college hoops. The case for diversity = they come from all over the nation, represent almost every college (large and small, and whether they attended or not), make up every race, cover every level of athletic capability and speak many languages.

The venue and purpose are clearly the same. Enjoy the competition and event.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, how do you view the diversity of this crowd?


Allen L said...

I'm putting together a team to compete in the world push up competition. Should I look for an African American, a woman, a person from New York, etc or should I just look for the 6 people who can do the most pushups?

Man - woman, black - white, New York - Atlanta; what the heck does it have to do with who the person is and what they can do?

The more we focus on these distinctions, the more important we keep them. Time to stop looking at artificial distinctions.

Klint C. Kendrick, MBA SPHR said...

Voice, you bring up an interesting point. Clearly, you should find the folks that can help you win that push up contest.

Now, how are you going to find the BEST?

Are you going to start by talking with your circle of friends? But, aren't most of your friends like you? How can your (most likely) heterogeneous circle of friends ensure that you're truly getting the BEST pushers-up? Or, are you just getting the really good pushers-up from your heterogeneous group? If the latter is the case, somebody else is getting the BEST, and your team will lose.

Unless you are extraordinarily well networked, you will need to reach into diverse communities to capture the BEST. This requires doing things differently than we normally do them, paying attention to diversity at least in terms of where we recruit our pushers-up, and realizing that the dominant paradigm is not always the one that will allow us to achieve the best results.

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