Intuit CEO Brad Smith and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen grew up worlds apart. Smith hails from Kenova, a small town in West Virginia while Narayen was born and raised in India and moved to the Bay Area in 1986.
Although they come from strikingly different backgrounds, these two Silicon Valley CEOs share similar philosophies when it comes to diversity and inclusion and tying those to business outcomes. Recently, they sat down for a candid discussion with Intuit employees on the topic of diversity.
Here are a few insights they shared, something to consider as you look at how diversity plays a part in your own business:
Ideas come from everywhere and drive better business outcomes
Don’t work in a vacuum. Harness the ideas of different people. These can come from your own staff, online communities or social networking groups like Facebook and Twitter. Reach out to those across the desk or virtually around the world. You’ll not only be exposed to a variety of ideas, you might just have a new view on a project or business model.
Recognize different skills that are critical to success
In a 2007 Intuit Future of Small Business Report, we looked at the changing face of entrepreneurs that are driving American small business. These include groups like Gen Yers, immigrants and baby boomers. Each brings a unique skill set and perspective including international knowledge and connections, years of experience and cross training or a fascination and love of technology. Use those differences and similarities to help influence and shape your business model and how you engage with customers.
Energize, educate and empower
As a business leader, build a culture that embraces and nurtures diversity. Focus on similarities, but also work to understand what’s different. Leaders must set clear goals, and as our witty CEOs said, get out of the way and let good people lead.
How are you using diversity to drive better business outcomes?