Why mixed teams perform better

Monique faces a great challenge; she has the opportunity to create her very own team for a long-term project. At first glance, she has some candidates on her ‘list of favourites’. Colleagues who she knows and likes to work with. You could say, ‘job done’. But Monique knows more is needed to complete the project successfully.

So she first determines which qualities she deems necessary to achieve success. On a personal level, she asked herself the following questions. Does she only want people she has worked with before or is it smarter to involve new members? What should the ratio ‘upcoming talent’ vs. ‘Recognized experts’ look like. Etc. Would it make sense to look at the male / female ratio? And which ratio would be the best? Will it make any difference? Monique went to investigate.

Homogeneous teams
For Monique, a team consisting only of women would feel most comfortable. But she also knows that such a team is one-sided. A team with much of the same, how valuable this one contribution in itself is. In addition, in the early days she already experienced that in a one-sided team there is generally less supervision of agreements and performances and a greater chance of group thinking. Issues that will not benefit the final intended results of her project.

The mix, heterogeneous teams
Monique is researching what a mixed team could do for her. She finds out that mixing different qualities and talents will make her team richer. She discovers that greater diversity ensures that more sources of independent information and therefore different insights are available. Because of this diversity one has to talk to each other. Therefore the issues will be viewed from different angles in order to arrive at the best solution or conclusion.

One that will probably sound very different from what a homogeneous team can ever come up with.

Monique’s decision
All in all, she decides to put together a mixed team. Attracting people who are different from each other. In background, experience, character, but also to have a good look at the male-female ratio. She realizes that one single man in a women’s team, or a single woman in a men’s team, will not make the difference. She decides to strive for an (for her) optimal 50/50 male / female ratio.

Monique is excited but also a bit anxious. Her colleague who has already been to this rodeo, reassures her: ‘Yes, a mixed team can be a hassle but not as much as you think.’

Accept the differences
He says: ‘Differences may give friction but without friction no shine. Accept the differences. If you do that, then others will too. The more emphasis you put on refuting the differences, the greater these will become. The fact is that we are all different. And yet all the same. Nothing more nothing less. Let the differences work in your favor:

A mixed team is smarter:
– Working with people who are different from you, challenge you to think differently than you are used to.
– Team members of a mixed team set company interests more often before their own.
– In a mixed team it seems that members seem to give each other much more space to develop and encourage each other to deliver good performances.
– Which leads to a better working atmosphere.
– In companies with a good working atmosphere, work is done more effectively, benefiting productivity.

And the team itself?
Do not be afraid that the team members will have objections. It is known that generally it is more fun to work in a mixed team. Often the atmosphere is much better than in one sided teams. In general it`s indicated that one functions better. One will be more challenged and for sure have a lot more fun.

In short:
The hassle is a small price to pay for the benefit you will have from a mixed team. All systems are go Monique.

And last but not least: If you ‘hit a roadblock’, just call Karen.