Iâ€™m a female CEOâ€”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,Â a fact my CTO and I are working hard to change by pestering female developers on LinkedIn.Â We also have team members from all overâ€”from Canada to Costa Ricaâ€”and weâ€™re diverse in age, interests, ethnicity, cultural identity, backgrounds, opinions, and perspectives.
These differences are inherently important inÂ how we solve problems as a team. TheyÂ lead to valuableÂ discussions and better decision-making as a company. Researchers have measuredÂ and documented higher performance by diverse teams,Â and anecdotally, I can confirm that my companyÂ 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 cultureâ€”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 itâ€™s not easy to maintain aÂ 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, itâ€™s easy for us to gatherÂ and enjoy time together outside of workÂ 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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