Have you ever worked in a team or business and thought everyone (including the business leaders) is eerily alike? If yes, then you are not alone.

 

We all know that there are labour market imbalances by race, gender, and minority groups. But did you know that organisations are also suffering from imbalances in cognitive diversity?

 

I call the imbalance in cognitive diversity “Copy-Cat Culture.” Copy-Cat culture is a business occupied with homogeneous teams of like minded thinkers: “Stepford Teams” with few cognitive overlaps and insufficient opposing beliefs, attitudes, thoughts or new ideas.

 

What business leaders need to do to reduce this issue?

 

Many of us live with Copy-Cat culture every single day of our lives when we go to work. Some of us may try our best to fight against it or even try to change it.  Others hide away their real thoughts and feeling in order to fit in, survive and avoid the negative backlash of “Group Think” or functional or departmental silos.

 

Many leading blue-chip organisations have a mandate on diversity from business leaders to stop Copy-Cat Culture and encourage creative thinking and new ideas. Commercial leaders and HR are often in fierce agreement to end Copy-Cat Culture and bring about a culture of innovation. However, good intentions and well-meaning HR policy is not enough.

 

Research clearly shows Copy-Cat Culture is still alive and well in many blue-chip organisations. There are more CEOs of organisations on the FTSE and FT500 share indices with the name John than there are women. And, just 6% of tech staff in Silicon Valley are black or Hispanic.

 

But the really unfortunate thing to happen after years and years of towing the corporate line is that employees are struggling to think differently and adopt new views in their recruitment strategies.

 

It seems innovation doesn’t just happen when business leaders want it to and there’s not a flip switch in our brains to activate thinking differently on command.

 

Diversity is inextricably linked with innovation. Innovation is what we need to drive organisation health and prosperity. Which means there’s now no option but for organisations to improve how and who they assign to pricing roles.

 

To fix the team diversity and underperformance issues in our business, we need to be much more scientific in how we set up and build high performance pricing teams. We also need business leaders in place that can role model better teamworking skills to keep teams cognitively and emotionally engaged in the business and mission.

 

Conclusion

 

A leader who understands what makes for high performance teams will bring together the right mix of people to join their pricing team. A leader who can build psychologically safe business environment for their teams will be able to break through Copy-Cat culture and re-build a culture of accountability and innovation.

 

With all the change happening across many industries today, feeling safe in your role or expressing who you really are some of the biggest risks for employers and business leaders alike.

 

Being different is difficult – and divergent opinions are often punished rather than praised.  It may well be the case that diverse teams perform better, but organisational culture, conversely, seems to instinctually churn through people that deviate from the norm and praised people that conform.

 

We are now in the strange situation where modern pricing teams are becoming less and less open to sharing their true thoughts and feeling because they have been burned in the past. All the while, pricing team performance and results suffer as business now realise creative thinking is what they needed all along to solve difficult pricing problems that even AI can’t fix. This can benefit financials and also the natural environment.

 

If you would like to discuss sensitive diversity in your business, feel free to reach out.