I’m a female CEO—apparently a rare breed these days. Even rarer perhaps is my leadership team, which is 50% women, and that of the 31 people on staff at my financial technologies startup, 50% are women. That said, my development team is all male, a fact my CTO and I are working hard to change by pestering female developers on LinkedIn. We also have team members from all over—from Canada to Costa Rica—and we’re diverse in age, interests, ethnicity, cultural identity, backgrounds, opinions, and perspectives.
These differences are inherently important in how we solve problems as a team. They lead to valuable discussions and better decision-making as a company. Researchers have measured and documented higher performance by diverse teams, and anecdotally, I can confirm that my company is reaping the benefits of prioritizing and valuing a diverse team as a core value. The link between fostering a culture of creativity and innovation and prioritizing diversity is a clear one for me.
I sometimes hear the argument that diversity makes it hard to build and maintain great culture—that great teams should be able to have a beer at the end of the day and hang out together outside of work. The truth of the matter is that it’s not easy to maintain a great culture with such a hollow metric in any case. Our team works amazingly well together in solving the complex challenges that come up each day. More often than not, it’s easy for us to gather and enjoy time together outside of work because of the successes we share. But we view this as a secondary bonus, not a primary vehicle for building a great team.
I hire the best and brightest people I can find who will push our company to be better. How do I maintain diversity as I hire? I follow three principles:
Krista Morgan is co-founder and CEO of P2Binvestor, a marketplace lender that provides asset-based working capital to growing companies.
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