During this period of time the dawn chorus is a typical phenomenon among birds. Birds of a feather tend to chirp (or flock) together. Simply put, the dawn chorus is the collective twitterings, tweetings and chirps of wild birds. The sound is unmistakable. They’re soon joined by other voices until all the birds in the area are singing together. But what if a certain bird decides to sing another song or in a different tone? Does that disrupt the harmony within the group or does it have an added value?
In a professional environment employees, managers and directors likely are birds of the same feather. A homogeneous group with all faces -beaks- in the same direction, chirping the same core values and flying towards the company goals.
The advantages of working with/in a homogenous group are numerous but not exhaustive. A homogeneous workforce offers companies a pool of potential employees that share cultural and social norms. Homogeneous teams include quick and easy communications about issues as well as making decision. Homogeneous teams are also more stable and appreciative of each other’s efforts when risk tolerance or commitment levels are compatible (Wasserman, 2012). People tend to associate themselves with other individuals sharing the same ideas, values or skills via formal or informal institution networks such as employment or groups of friends. Therefore, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to go very far to reach a pool of co-founders who will naturally bring the aforementioned benefits. Homogeneous teams usually bring together people already in close proximity offering entrepreneurs and startups quick access to short-term benefits, but possibly incurring long-term risks.
While the benefits of homogeneous teams are attractive, its risks cannot be ignored. There needs to be tweeted about this too. Tangible risks include overlapping backgrounds and social networks, while intangible risk can include lacking effective counterbalance in terms of decision-making styles or risk tolerance (Wasserman, 2012).
Furthermore, many studies -including one on "Cognitive Effects of Racial Diversity" published in "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology"- show that the lack of diversification in a homogeneous group stifles creativity and information processing. It is very difficult to form homogeneous teams without causing feelings of exclusion to minorities, be those racial or gender.
Compared to homogeneous professional environments, heterogeneous groups make their decisions based on facts. They look beyond old-school ways of thinking and examine and re-examine facts to remain objective, thus making better decisions for their company. Nonhomogeneous groups are more able than homogenous groups to identify their biases and work to keep them at bay when making important business decisions.
Teams of different types of feathers also think more creatively and innovatively.
If everyone acts and thinks alike, you’re likely to see the same-old, same-old when it comes to approaches to products, distribution, marketing, management and sales. However, when several people approach problems and challenges from varied perspectives, you’ll discover more creative solutions. Research suggests that diversity increases innovation and improves market growth. (Chron.com)
Last but not least heterogenous groups reduce fear and improve performance. The Harvard Business Review published research showing that, “… people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.” A mocking jay is not cautious about sticking it’s neck out and riffling up some feathers to have a more beneficial outcome for the nest.
And that is why birds of a feather don’t always have to flock together. That is why it is beneficial to welcome a mocking jay in to your business. The mocking jay being an IM or independent professional chirping another dawn chorus.