“Diversity leads to innovation!” That’s the mantra repeated by many diversity proponents. I just heard it again a couple of weeks ago from a diversity guru who spoke before me at an international leadership conference in New York. It makes sense. Looking at a problem from a diversity of perspectives is likely to yield better solutions than viewing it solely from one myopic view. But this rose-colored view of diversity doesn’t jive with reality. Just as two newlyweds quickly discover that vastly different perspectives on how to set up house don’t necessarily lead to better results, the same is true for multicultural teams that are coalescing on a project.

I recently talked with a senior vice president from one of the largest global ...

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