Chapter 17Diversity Is a Choice

Often when I hear people discuss how to build teams, I hear the term diversity. For anyone who wants to create new ideas it would seem obvious that the more diversity you have, the more creative avenues you will have to explore. Yet some people look at it and say, well, “diversity” is code for not taking the best people.

That is absolutely bullshit. To give you an example, this is the cast we put together for Improv Asylum New York: We have a gay man, a black man, a white man, a woman from Iran, and two other extremely talented women. Does this mean that because they are diverse they are somehow not the funniest people that are available? Hell, no.

They are all funny, as well as being talented writers and singers. They earned the job for those reasons, and those reasons alone. But that can't happen if leadership is not working with intent to find a diverse team. Those of us in charge have to be willing to ask, “What am I doing?” Am I not only hiring for talent and ability but for different experiences and life perspectives as well? Am I looking hard enough? Am I making sure that those people of diverse backgrounds know that they are wanted, know that they are welcome? Know that we want to see them audition? Because if we do not do that, if we just constantly bring on talent through traditional methods, we will continue to get the same results.

This is what it often looks like in my industry. You put out your audition notice, great. Everybody comes ...

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