An appropriate subtitle for this book might be No Easy Answers. Veteran diversity consultant Ross
recognizes and well articulates the reasons why inclusion simply hasn’t taken root in many corporations as well as the reasons why well-meaning efforts don’t work. Many questions are asked here, but few are answered directly; yet the author underscores the fact that the journey to real diversity means listening intently and demonstrating patience, perseverance, and a deeper understanding of all communities involved rather than pretending to know all the answers. Philosophy aside (and there’s plenty to ruminate on), Ross shares different frameworks to help drive home a true change in thinking: nine steps to manage unconscious bias, eight basic principles of organizational communities, concentric circles of stakeholder resistance, and more. Architecture alone won’t transform an organization into one that’s culturally competent. Instead, read his account of a much-needed change at an inner-city midwestern hospital. Then apply his guidelines elsewhere.
)Ross, a corporate consultant, discusses problems with diversity programs and offers advice on how to improve their success. Personal stories, quotes from senior managers, research studies, statistics, lists, and interviews dominate the book. Diversity programs often fail because employee attendance is mandatory and the success of such programs is ill defined. Diversity is viewed as a human resource issue to many employees. Ross advises that diversity programs should develop a sense of organizational inclusion in terms of decision-making, responsibility, and leadership. The author's model requires a conscious shift affecting strategic planning, stakeholder development, organizational systems, and accountability. Ross provides numerous stories to help explain his diversity ideas, including the Fosbury Flop, the QWERTY keyboard, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates's arrest at his home in Cambridge, and Stanley Milgram's research. The book concludes with basic principles of organizational community; steps to manage unconscious biases; and a model of building a culture of inclusion and cultural competency. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional readership.
I applaud Howard Ross for raising the issues, for bringing his heart, soul, spirit and passion to an issue he has devoted much of his life to. We have no choice but to embrace diversity, and Howard says we must confront our own biases in that embracing, and in our effort to construct a more inclusive society. His words ain't nothing but the truth, embracing my Ebonics. This is mind-expanding and important work. (Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College for Women)
In ReInventing Diversity
, Howard Ross explains that creating what he calls "Organizational Community" requires vision, which sounds like a platitude. Then we read on to discover that vision is much more than sight, or even foresight. Vision involves an intense level of focus and planning that anticipate the role of diversity in the globalized 21st century. If Howard Ross didn't exist, we'd have to invent him. Or at least reinvent him. (Kojo Nnamdi, Host, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU FM, Washington DC)
Howard Ross’ global and academic experiences are artfully reflected in this book. His insights and guidance make this a must read for anyone wanting to create culturally inclusive community in organizations. I plan to make it required reading for leaders wherever I go. (Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, VP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Campbell Soup Company)ReInventing Diversity
is a true reflection of Howard Ross’s heart and soul and his decades-long commitment to transforming human relationships. This book not only challenges us to think differently about diversity and inclusion, but it also points to a new direction about how we can overcome the lines and barriers that divide us. As a civil rights leader on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, I use these lessons daily. (Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign (HRC))
This book, like Howard Ross, is brimming with substance and soul. It is an important work that invites courageous conversations and difficult dialogues with ourselves and with others. Page after page offers us the wisdom, inspiration and tools we need to be effective advocates for diversity and inclusion. At last, here is the book we have been waiting for! (Johnnetta Betsch Cole, President Emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College for Women)
About the Author
Howard J. Ross
is founder and chief learning officer of Cook-Ross, Inc., a corporate consulting firm. He is one of the nation's leading diversity training consultants and a nationally recognized expert on diversity, leadership, and organizational change.