Inclusive leadership: ways to achieve diversity and inclusion

Inclusive Leadership: the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful diversity and inclusion strategy by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick (Pearson Books, 2016)  is a book all leaders and aspiring leaders need in their personal library.

Cogent arguments and performance data identifying the real benefits to organizations of diverse are provided, with good tips on preparing a business case for such change. In addition, simple and clear distinctions for the concepts of equality, diversity and inclusion are made, and practical ways to think and act strategically to lead change for diversity and inclusion in workplaces are outlined.

They get the terminology clear from the beginning, starting with

Equality is being invited into the room. Diversity is getting a seat at the table. Inclusion is sharing your views and being heard. An inclusive leader enables all of this to happen.

A key theme of Sweeney and Bothwick is that bringing about change in organizations through Diversity and Inclusion  must be managed as a change initiative in itself if it is to have a high chance of success. This means taking a systems view of diversity and inclusion across the whole organization.

Useful processes are outlined, starting from data collection and analysis to create a case for change, followed by developing a strategic plan underpinned by well thought-out objectives. Insights are provided into such things as capabilities required to lead and manage this type of change, the value of the support of D&I specialists, communicating the change, addressing issues of bias, and recruitment and talent management. The pitfalls with steps in the process or  of achieving the intended outcomes or are identified with suggestions of how they can be addressed.

Employee engagement is the key and they canvas ways in which you can successfully engage a majority of the organization or group in the conversation about diversity and inclusion. In addition to the book they have created a website with supporting information and short video which really help you get the key messages in a quick and easy way.

This book, which is true to its claim of “turning words into action” is well worth it to all who are interested is helping organizations and workplaces be great places to work for people of all types and, more importantly, through this improve the performance of the organization.

Jill Tideman

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