Why is team diversity so critical for a global firm like Ernst Young? 1 answer below »

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Team Diversity at Ernst Young

Ernst Young has seen it all—economic booms and busts, including the recent recession and fallout from the financial industry. But the company that provides tax, transaction, and advisory services is surviving, partly due to a new outlook about the business environment and the way it will operate going forward. One focus will be ways in which its 144,000 employees can contribute their talents more fully to the company future. Specifically, Ernst Young is redefining the way it uses teams. A recent company survey entitled, The New Global Mindset: Driving Innovation Through Diverse Perspective, revealed that companies operating in 25 or more countries base only 5 percent of their senior leadership in those countries. These companies are failing to make the most of the diverse cultures and ideas that could propel them forward. The economic crisis has mandated that companies rethink the way they do business, observes James S. Turley, chairman and CEO of Ernst Young. Company leaders need to consider how a lack of diverse perspectives—at the top of their organization and at the individual team level—might affect plans for global growth, new products, or mergers and acquisitions. So Ernst Young has come up with a blueprint of thought behind its new team diversity. Managers who are planning or leading teams should consider the following:

• The mindset. Managers must think about what has to happen in order for a true cultural change to occur within the organization.

• The talent. Managers should search every corner of the organization for true talent—it might be in the cafeteria, at an assistant desk, or in the human resources office.

• Anticipation. Creative managers need to use the diverse talents of team members to identify new products and services that could be the next big thing.

• Consensus. Total agreement among team members isn’t always necessary—or even the best thing. In fact, disagreement can boost a team energy and force people to come up with new and better ideas and solutions.

We all know that innovation is critical to economic recovery, says Beth Brooke, global vice chair of Ernst Young. In today environment, the business leaders who have a truly global mindset and can integrate diverse perspectives will be the ones best positioned to drive innovation and long-term success.

Questions for Critical Thinking

1. Why is team diversity so critical for a global firm like Ernst Young?

2. Based on the nature of its business, at what level would you expect Ernst Young teams to operate? Why?

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