A diverse workforce and open communications are hallmarks of many successful companies.
What we’re advocating for service organizations – and proving in marketing communications – is the establishment of an environment of "self-directed teams nurtured by the resources of a mother ship."
In such an environment, the mix of gender, age, ethnicity and geographic location of the team members has evolved significantly from how teams would have been staffed just a few years ago.
Women are now more than one-third of America's workforce and increasingly better represented in the higher ranks – especially in the service sector.
More than 30% of the population in California is Hispanic. The majority of people in southern Florida were not born in this country.
Age is not the advantage it once was. In many industries today, especially those dominated by quickly changing technology – computers, software, telecommunications, etc. – the under-30 group, those born about the same time as the personal computer, often have better computer skills than their older associates.
We respect the wisdom that comes with age. But it's not about seniority.
It's not all about how hard we try either. We remind each other, "Let's not confuse effort with performance."
It's interesting to note that increasingly a team member's expertise is taking precedence over where the person is located physically. The practice of virtual teams using tele-conferencing, video-conferencing or web-conferencing is becoming commonplace. This also is true in the case of clients selecting professional service firms. What you know is more important than where you live.
The point here is simply that self-directed teams will increasingly be comprised of a more diverse workforce. These people will be more in tune with customers' needs as the marketplace becomes more global. And, due to vastly improved communications and transportation technologies, organizations will be decreasingly limited by their geographic location.