David Saint

Dec 5, 2017, 10:41 AM

'Preference Diversity' The Essential Team Ingredient

First, what is diversity?

is ‘the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something’.  So how do we apply this when looking to build a successful team, or board of trustees? How do we know who to include?

So what is ‘preference diversity’?

‘Diversity’ by its very nature unites those that are unalike, and when embraced can be harnessed to produce powerful results. Preference diversity occurs when a team have different behavioural preferences - different ways of working and solving issues, and different communication styles. This enriches a team, bringing balance and leading to more successful outcomes.

Unfortunately many of us recruit in our own image, but when we begin to understand the need for diversity in a team (for example a Trustee Board) we can bring in those truly needed to increase performance. With preference diversity comes a more balanced view on strategy and decisions, immediately lowering risk. And in a sector where the stakes are often so high and have a direct impact on vulnerable individuals – we need all the help we can get!

Assumptions about behaviour…

It’s amazing how we make assumptions about how certain people will behave – especially when it comes to gender.

There are definitely trends around this, and our data supports other statistics in suggesting women are more likely to lean towards a feeling preference and men towards a more reflective and analytical position. However other forms of diversity will not automatically lead to preference diversity.


Sonia Home, CEO of C-me Colour Profiling says, “The charity governance code refers to the importance of thought diversity, not just visible diversity. We need to measure this more, and ensure ideas are constructively challenged from a range of perspectives”.

And what about those who don’t fit the trends? Are they constantly being expected to behave in a way that isn’t aligned with their natural behavior?

Credit Suisse Research Institute recently claimed “Large-cap companies with at least one woman on the board have outperformed their peer group with no women on the-board by 26% over the last six years”.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the profile of these women and ask what other forms of diversity they brought into the role with them?

Positive role models…

Increasing preference diversity can also impact leadership development. For example, if women see other women with a range of styles fulfilling leadership roles, it’s a green light for them to embrace an authentic leadership style themselves. People need role models that they can identify with.

C-me Colour Profiling aims to help people flourish at what they do naturally, by understanding themselves and others, and then improving relationships by adapting. Our profiling tool clearly maps behavioural preference, giving you a tool to assess preference diversity.

C-me provides a common language to talk about differences, build diverse teams and ultimately harness the strength that comes from different ways of working.

To find out more about how C-me is being used in charities, and implications for diversity in governance join us at our FREE Taster workshop on 6th February in London. Places are limited. To book in please get in touch

Lizzie Westlake, Director, C-me Colour Profiling

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