Tommy turned one-year older two weeks ago. As a small gift, we created a soup cookbook with a recipe from each member of team Logward. Flipping through the pages, the global collection (from Mexican Chicken Tortilla, to Thai Lemongrass, to Easy Vegan Potato) made me reflect on all the components that build us as a company. What makes the book so special is the same secret sauce that makes our company special – a variety of ingredients, tastes, colors, histories, and spices.
Each component brings a special input to our company. Team Bangalore adds a handful of software engineering and development operations, coordinated by a pinch of Macedonian product management, tasted by our German CEO, and, finally, all served by our American head of marketing.
However, why do businesses seek to have dishes with a variety of ingredients, colors, and spices? And, not to miss, why does Tommy like his versatile cookbook? Because, on the one hand, the various dishes cover the demand of businesses, or of Tommy. On the other hand, they improve the overall offering.
Organizational and Personal Development
An organization is more than the sum of its parts. It acts as a whole and represents a collective team. Reciprocally, each employee represents the entire business. The organizational development of a business, especially of a young venture like ours, mirrors the personal development of its employees. That to be said, if we hire diverse employees to the team – we add new characteristics, ingredients, qualifications, spices, and experience – then the company gets those qualities. But, at the same time, new team members develop themselves within the existing culture and structure. We can call it double-sided learning, where one profits by the other.
Organizational change must come from within. So how do businesses disrupt the status quo? Diverse teams can provide a start. The collaborative effort to achieve a common goal within the group connects each of the components. To attain this objective, team members tend to share knowledge, and one spice complements the other ingredients. However, it requires not only constructive dialogues and discussions, but also conflicts and contention. Flavors can clash to bring out the best of each (e.g., Sweet and Sour). More diversity can increase the potency of that team learning, but it requires a strong organizational identity. This awareness shapes behavior and sets an approach to execution.
With both team learning and mental models, a team can establish and achieve a collective vision that steers away from the standard course. This result enhances the dish while showcasing the individual ingredients contributing to that.
While the best dishes are made with care, the best teams are built with empathy, which is an individual psychological process through which people identify with and understand another’s situation, feelings, and motives. It is often claimed as a key variable in developing soft skills. And it can be learnt, just like cooking. The learning process embodies seeing things from others’ perspectives and understanding one another. A challenge is that in heterogeneous groups, people are more likely to perceive themselves as different from one another. Yet common goals and a group identity cause the opposite, so teammates are more likely to empathize with others and adopt their perspectives more easily.
This to be said, empathy improves while working in a diverse team. This effects not only the corporate culture but also the connection to customers. If you really understand who your diner is, then you can customize a menu to his/her liking. A globally operating business should fully reflect the diversity in the world and serve up a menu accordingly. By increasing intercultural relations and improving empathy, diversity becomes a strategic commercial tool to fill seats at the dining table.
Getting the right combination of ingredients isn’t easy, and diversity comes with challenges that cannot be reduced to the complexity of building a cookbook. However, a diverse range of backgrounds within an organization provides a wide range of benefits. At least that’s our experience. With diversity as a fundamental component of our business, we are happy to enjoy the cherry on top – a versatile and fun workplace! We look forward to continued growth and to explore the world, organizationally and personally.
Logward is a Hamburg & Bangalore based logistics technology company.
We build software, move containers, and change mindsets.
If you have any questions or just want to say hi, reach out to email@example.com. Or you can visit us at www.logward.com.