Diversity: The Foundation of Outstanding Teams

Is your team diverse?

Karen and I (and our four biological kids) are Caucasian. Our three adopted daughters are African-American. Son-in-law, Ricardo, is Mexican, and our only daughter-in-law, Casey, has Native American blood running through her veins.

We’re different in heritage and skin color. Also in personality. Imagine that! ?

A Relationship of Differences

When Justin was dating a Miller daughter, sharp personality differences came to light. One eve at 9:30, I was heading to bed when he stopped me on the stairs with, “So, John, how does QBQ, Inc. bring in revenue?” I stared at him like he was from another planet. My brain shuts down by 6 o’clock. In a friendly but firm soon-to-be-father-in-law tone, I said …

“Son, let’s do this tomorrow. I’ll see you at 6 am.” ?

As I write this piece, Justin is on a frozen Minnesota lake, with his pick-up truck next to him, catching fish with a bunch of guys.

Not only will you never find me camping on frozen water in minus 12-degree weather, you’ll not see me “out with the guys.” It’s just not something I need. Never have, never will.

Justin and I are waaaay different.

However, we do have commonalities: our humor is aligned and we both possess “salesy,” outgoing personalities. Also, Justin and I adore a sweet gal named Tara—his wife, our daughter.

Now that’s the definition of common ground. ??

My Most Important Relationship

If you are a student of the Enneagram—a tool that identifies nine personality types, you should know my wife, Karen, is a “2” and I’m an “8.”

We. Couldn’t. Be. More. Different.

Example: Enneagram experts say that 2s think about relationships 85% of the time. An 8? Maybe 2%.

Furthermore, 2s are all about feelings while 8s are thinkers. Recently, Karen looked up from her Enneagram book to say, “Here’s the worst question an 8 can ask a 2: ‘Can you stop being emotional and try a little logic for one moment?!’”

I responded, “Oops.”

We laughed. After almost 40 years of marriage, we both know John has asked Karen that question a time or two — or a million.

Our differences are so huge, they almost brought this marriage down. Yet, the truth is, we’re a strong team because we are so different. 

In fact, the entire Miller family system is solid because of our diverse personalities, approaches, and views of the world.

Just like any team.

Diversity of Minds

Good advice for all teams: don’t be lemmings. Even if it’s a bit of a myth that those little rodents follow each other over the edge of a cliff, it’s an excellent metaphor. No team is strong if everyone thinks alike and just “goes along to get along.” If that’s the case, someone isn’t needed. As we say in the Outstanding! book, diversity of ideas is good and people better feel free to speak up.

A terrific tagline for any organization is this: Great Minds Thinking Differently!

Strengthen Your Team With QBQ!

As is written in the QBQ! book — “A true teammate is someone who can look right through you and still enjoy the view.”

Can you do that for others? Are people in your life doing it for you?

If you want to strengthen your team at work or at home, ask these QBQs (The Question Behind the Question — a tutorial here:

  1. “How can I appre­ciate people just as they are?”
  2. “What can I do to improve … me?”
  3. “How can I let go of what I cannot control?”

When individuals practice Personal Accountability by asking QBQs, the team, at work or at home, can be outstanding.

Is your team diverse enough? Which of the three QBQs above do you need to begin asking today?



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