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Trust is key to high performance.

Helen Shield
The West Australian, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 6:16PM Available at:

Non-experts are more often than not solving problems that have stumped experts, because they are bringing an unbiased, fresh perspective.

Emergent chief executive Holly Ransom, motivational speaker, advocate for young people and high-performance advocate, said that as world economies moved from industrial to knowledge-based, organisations were struggling to include the right people “in the conversation”.

“Truly great organisations, great leaders in the period ahead will be defined or typified by the diversity of the five people they spend the most time hanging around with,” Ms Ransom told the Property Council of Australia WA’s annual Women in Property lunch.

“In the context of leadership, think about the diversity of the five people you spend the most time around professionally.”

“Is there an opportunity to inject someone of different age, gender, cognitive perspective, cultural background, sexual orientation?” She added, however, that companies and leaders could easily diminish the power of diversity and inclusion by failing to create an environment of trust.

Four of the five components of the “secret sauce” of high-performing teams — trust, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning and impact — were rendered useless without the first. “You cannot have a high-performing team without psychological safety (trust),” she said.

“How comfortable do people feel being vulnerable and taking risks — stuff that is the lifeblood of innovation,” Ms Ransom said. “What work are we doing to make sure our organisation is psychologically safe?”

Google, she says, benchmarks itself on psychological safety, asking staff if they feel they can walk into a meeting and offer a different point of view, take risks and “bring your whole self” to work.

About three-quarters of future jobs would involve science, technology engineering and maths skills, areas of study in which girls were dramatically under-represented.

In some cases, old biases were unwittingly hard-coded into technology designed to, for example, recruit for jobs, or conduct voice-based searches.

Some tools designed to empower women in work conceived of them as employees, not business owners, as many are in the gig economy.

However, she said despite dire stories illustrating the need to turn around women’s access to finance, jobs, management roles and a share of procurement, clever people were using technology to right old wrongs.

She cited GetRaised, a platform designed to overcome the impact of the reluctance of some women to ask for pay rises or promotion, which resulted in 74 per cent of those using it in the first 12 months getting a pay rise.

Another was designed to ensure women didn’t cut themselves out of equity deals in start-ups, potentially losing access to wealth generated when companies listed.

In a later panel discussion, Vicinity Centres executive general manager development Caroline Viney said companies unable to diversify would fall behind in a rapidly changing world. She encouraged safeguards against hiring “people like us”, instead breaking down a role, the ways it could be executed and seeking a person with transferable skills to propel an organisation forward.

ISPT chief executive Daryl Browning said he had been encouraged, as a man with power, to take a stance against excluding women. Getting a company motivated to change, he said, involved appealing to altruism, “the carrot”, but also some stick, or the fear of risking “being left behind”.

CBRE Asia Pacific deputy general counsel Somerset Hoy said CBRE was committed to inclusion in gender and LGBTIQ equality and the idea of “bringing your whole self” to work.

“We believe if you can’t be open and comfortable with who you are at work, you are not going to be happy, or do your best work,” Ms Hoy said.

“We are one of the very few property companies on the pride and diversity employer or choice list.”