Why Diversity Is More Important Than Having a Meritocracy

Look at Wall Street in 2008, and the White House right now. Diversity—of people and cognitive perspectives—is crucial for avoiding failure.

We need to rethink our diversity strategy, says Sallie Krawcheck. What we've been trying for the last decade hasn't been working, but what exactly is the problem? Research reveals that diversity is actually worse in meritocracies. Managers—and particularly middle managers, Krawcheck points out—fall into the cognitive trap of hiring people who "remind me of a young me" (i.e. look like them and think like them) instead of more cognitively diverse people who would bring a missing skill set to a team. This is as important now, under the almost all-white male Trump administration, as it was in the 2008 Financial Crash. Wall Street is one of the most homogenous institutions in America, and Krawcheck has no doubt that having a more diverse set of minds in finance would have lessened the severity of the global crash. In addition, risk-taking and the poor decision making that results can be tracked to fluctuations in one hormone: testosterone. Whether it's the housing bubble, America's healthcare, or foreign policy, these are mistakes that affect millions of lives. As a CEO, Krawcheck's approach and advice on diversity is changing. The current strategy has been a failure, but what if companies paid their managers, in part, based on the diversity of their hires? What if we thought of diversity as more important than meritocracy? Sallie Krawcheck is the author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.

How managers give raises, and why women must ask for more

The best career advice that you are not getting? Financial feminist and Wall Street powerhouse Sallie Krawcheck delivers.

Sallie Krawcheck is the current CEO of Ellevest (a digital investment platform for women), is a former CFO and CEO at Citigroup and Merrill Lynch respectively, and is a self-described "financial feminist". She speaks here to women, but this advice can be applied across the board to anyone who is marginalized in the workplace or wants to jumpstart their personal wealth. For Krawcheck, the best career advice no one is talking about is actually financial advice: invest. Make your money work while you do, so that you have more financial freedom to make confident decisions in your career: ask for a promotion, quit the job that doesn't treat you well, or test your own business ideas. If you have money in the bank, you are free to play looser with your decisions. Men do it, and women should too. Remember this: "Ladies, we will not be equal with men until we are financially equal with men," Krawcheck says. Her second piece of advice is to ask for more money from your very first job, and to plant the seeds of a 12-pronged pay-rise request far in advance. Twelve prongs? Yep. It will all makes sense once you hear out her incredible guide to negotiating a salary increase and closing the gender pay gap. Sallie Krawcheck is the author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.

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