When’s the last time you considered whether your project teams are professionally inclusive or exclusive? Probably something you assume you are doing, but may not be doing at all.
- Of course you look for representative expertise in a variety of professional functions you deem important to the project.
- However, is there an intentional, or unintentional, professional homogeneity and familiarity created in the team selection process?
- Whom might you overlook, in terms of job titles, pay grades, certifications, levels of education, generations and professional disciplines?
When you and your team members roll up your sleeves and work furiously to meet milestones, it is easy to lose perspective. Especially about the bigger picture your deliverable addresses. Because creating enduring client-focused outcomes leverages not only how well you meet today’s needs. Also, those outcomes reflect how well you anticipate what the client wants, and needs, tomorrow and moving forward.
Often, the insights and input reflected by a team’s professional diversity become mission-critical. Not only in completing the project. But also in acquiring and retaining customers.
Are the people who are missing from your project teams the end users and operators whose voices you tend to overlook, anyway? Due to implicit or unconscious professional biases reinforced by how project teams always are composed in your organization.
Consider that these professionals, often manual workers, have the answers to the questions you only are guessing at. Or have practical and historical insights to not only reduce costs, but also to introduce innovations. And also have earned those professional certifications and academic credentials you covet. What are your misassumptions about colleagues costing your team, over the long haul?
When project teams become professionally inclusive, rather than exclusive, designs, deliverables and performance become what you are your team are known for. Can you risk remaining professionally exclusive?
As the saying goes, you do not know what, and who, you do not know. Until you make it your purpose to find who out who these people are and where they reside in your organizations. Very often, these are the people who will take your teams, and your deliverables, from good enough to remarkable. Do you know who they are? And then, do you know what to do next?
Babette Ten Haken translates across unprofitable and unproductive communication and collaboration disconnects between the business-operations continuum. She is a card-carrying STEM professional and left-brain thinker specializing in cross-functional leadership, new product development and professional innovation. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ virtual and in-person speaking programs get everyone to where they need to go, together: one millimeter at a time. Optimize strategic business and human capital value in your organizations. Build trust to retain employees and clients co-invested in each other’s success. Her playbook of cross-functional tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here.
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