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  • Eric Sleeth

The Biggest Threat Facing Marketing Teams...

two cloned sheep

It’s no surprise that every team, in all organizations, in every industry will face a wide range of challenges and risks. Marketing is no different. Budgets, Noise/Saturation, Strategy, Competition, even COVID-19. However, none of these challenges are the biggest threat to Marketing teams.

The risk that stops a Marketing team and limits long-term growth is Sameness.

Sameness is when every member of the team has the same knowledge, same experiences, same ideas, and views points.

This is also referred to as a lack of Cognitive Diversity. This means diversity of thought, values, and personalities, and is essential for a thriving and innovative workplace. Cognitive diversity drives faster problem solving and better decision making, leading to a more agile and high-performing business.

The trick is sameness is a hidden problem. It can disguise itself as cooperation and synergy. Marketing leaders may believe that their team is aligned, but this can be a false positive. Below the surface, that sameness will grow and start to spill into marketing programs and the results will suffer; eventually like a bad habit, you are stuck and it becomes harder to break. Why would you focus on breaking this bad habit?

According to a study, diverse teams are 87% better decision-makers than individuals. "Diverse" teams include members that are made up of geographical diversity, members of different genders and races, as well as an age gap of at least 20 years, were recorded as making better business decisions.

8 Signs Your Team Is Lacking In Cognitive Diversity:

  1. No constructive disagreements or debate on any plan or action.

  2. The majority of ideas only coming from the same few people.

  3. Plateau and stagnation in key performance indicators.

  4. Favoring candidates of similar background and/or experience as the decision-makers.

  5. Making zero mistakes. Meaning no experimentation or opportunity to learn.

  6. Lack of continued education.

  7. Increased turnover amongst team staff.

  8. Being behind the ball and losing out to competitors.

Recovering from Sameness

Like every journey to recovery, the first step is admitting to the problem. If you have identified yourself in one or multiple of these signs, it isn't too late to course-correct. The 8 different signs all share 1 root cause, culture.

It is up to the marketing leader to provide a strategy and direction for the team to aim for. However, that destination can be reached in a number of ways; or the destination could change entirely. Just because the leader is providing the direction, should not mean they are single-handedly pulling the team toward in that direction.

It is human nature to not want to question authority, or not want to make mistakes. But it is the leaders who encourage their teams to push beyond those fears and to feel safe doing so.

Once a culture of debate, experimentation, and collaboration involving all team members; that is when teams and organizations gain the benefits of Cognitive


What Are The Benefits of Cognitive Diversity?

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