I have my own story of a time when gender diversity not only enhanced operations. But lowered risk for everyone on the team. If you've been following us here at cavnessHR, you know that we're a military founded company. I got my start professionally as a US Army officer. The Army, by the way, which only recently integrated women into all job roles. Back when I was a young officer on my first deployment. I had the unique opportunity to participate in the Army's first experiment to integrate women into deliberate ground combat missions on something that they called female engagement teams.
Imagine this, we may have been the best women for the job. We were all physically fit, intelligent, etc. We certainly weren't the best anyone for the job as some folks like to say. What I mean is, there were definitely men who were more trained and more experienced than we were. However, it was time for change, for inclusion. And off, we went into a very real war in Afghanistan. We were told by our leaders that we were there for a reason to bring a different perspective and to accomplish some things in a cultural setting that men couldn't do. Our leaders encouraged us to speak up when we thought differently, to use our intuition, and to believe that we were a real and important part of the team.
Here's what happened one day, we approached a village in southern Afghanistan. Right after we dropped out of our helicopters, we noticed two things. Correction, two different groups of people noticed two different things. The men combat train hardened experience, noticed that one side of the road had completely caved in from recent rainfalls. Which meant we were going to be forced to walk on one side. That was dangerous, they immediately had their guard up. But if you have women on the team, untrained and brand new, notice something completely different. We noticed that there were no children in that village.
In other circumstances, we might have thought it was silly or been afraid to speak up. But because we've been encouraged to share our thoughts with the leaders, we did. It turned out to be a good thing. Because on that day, outside that village, the caved road, plus the lack of children running around freely meant that there was a bomb in the road. Now, of course, we can never say what would have happened in a different situation, one with less diversity of thought. But I know that on that day, we were all pretty happy that we had a diverse team and leaders who empowered us to speak our minds without fear of sounding silly.
I think oftentimes, we get confused on the point of diversity.
Look in business diversity is about increasing profit reducing risk, pure and simple. As leaders, we need to encourage not only diversity in who we hire. But diversity of thought, diversity of perspective, of life experience of sitting at that table and encouraging our people to share their diverse thoughts with the group. Only then do we benefit from diversity. Never forget, culture is a powerful emotional resource that you have at your disposal. It's right up there with your human technological and financial resources. Of course, you shouldn't ignore it. Learn to harness it, and go forth and be great every day.