team diversity

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Diversity in the team takes business performance to the next level

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That more and more women are taking on management responsibility isn't news. But is this changing how we define good management? An interview with Sarah Kane, a partner at Deloitte Consulting, about diversity in the team.

That more and more women are taking on management responsibility isn't news. But is this changing how we define good management? And what does it mean that a growing number of senior management positions are being held by women?

Organisations and companies that strive for growth and innovation and aim to distinguish themselves in their markets benefit at all levels from the fact that more women are joining the ranks, in particular at higher levels. "Recently, a company that I work with assembled its top 300 global leaders in order to discuss the future," explains Sarah Kane, a partner at Deloitte. The homogeneity of the group surprised her, she says. "The conversation centered around growth in new markets and product innovation and nothing else." Kane says she's convinced that a more diverse group of talents with more than just a marginal proportion of women would have come up with more ambitious ideas for defining the company's strategy. Because of the range of differing opinions at their disposal, diverse teams can achieve more based on different perspectives and ways of thinking as well as numerous different decision-making

Women benefit greatly

Sarah Kane points out that how we work is changing, and that long-held beliefs about how, where and when we work are shifting rapidly. "We're living through a technical revolution that acts as an impetus for these changes." Networks that connect talents from around the world with the organisations that need their skills are coming into being. Women benefit to an extraordinary degree from the ongoing shift in the working world, she says. "They now have access to fields of work that were previously blocked off." For example, IT consultants in the Middle East can develop computer solutions for companies in the US, all from the safety and comfort of their home office. "This gives women who were previously excluded from entering the working world new economic power." According to Kane, it is clear that new technologies are improving women's position in the working world.

Women are more rigorous

In today's working world, it is important to recognise the different perspectives and approaches that women have. For example, studies by Deloitte indicate that men and women approach purchasing differently. Research shows that these differences also exist when women work with suppliers. "Women ask more questions, they are more rigorous and they often coordinate the details of an agreement with a purchasing process."

Overall, it can be said that the working world has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Nowadays, in its day-to-day activities with clients the Deloitte Consulting team encounters an increasing number of women in high-level positions who manage huge budgets and have a great deal of decision-making power. Says Sarah Kane: "We hope that this trend towards increased equality and diversity in the working world continues - including in Switzerland. But we still have a long way to go!"

CHRISTIAN LANZ

Sarah Kane is a partner at Deloitte Consulting. She leads the Human Capital team in Switzerland and advises management personnel in areas such as change management, organisational design and HR strategies. 

Press article in Tagesanzeiger, Autumn 2014