When Michael P. Gregoire, CEO of software maker CA Technologies, was 27 years old, he found himself managing a team of engineers at a General Motors assembly plant in Ontario.
Gregoire tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times that one of the earliest management speed bumps he ran into was hiring people who were just like him.
"My team was completely homogeneous," he tells Bryant. "They were all people who kind of looked and acted and thought like I did. Almost zero diversity. And I don’t just mean diversity in terms of gender or race; I mean diversity of thought."
Gregoire says his homogeneous team was satisfactory for awhile, but it didn't last for long — especially when he started getting bigger projects.
"Anybody who didn’t fit the mold didn’t really stay on the team," he says. "It wasn’t until later that I realized I had missed out on a lot of creativity because everybody thought the same way."
"That’s when the wheels started to come off with my management style ... if your team is crafted only in a very narrow pattern, there’s only so many people who will fit," he says.
To be sure, hiring a diverse group of people will stretch you and your organization skills. Gregoire says it's especially important for managers to understand what each person wants out of the experience and what they expect from you as well. If you don't have that skill set, you're going to have tension, says Gregoire.
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