How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity

Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever before. But despite new perspectives and talents, the promise of increased innovation rarely materializes. Why are so few businesses seeing results? Studies show that diverse teams are more creative than homogeneous ones –– but only when they are managed effectively.

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The secret is to minimize conflict while maximizing the informational diversity found in varied values and experiences. To do this, both leaders and team members need a high level of cultural intelligence(CQ). Drawing on success stories from groundbreaking companies, Driven by Difference identifies the management practices necessary to guide multicultural teams to innovation, including how to create an optimal environment, build trust, fuse differing perspectives, align goals and expectations, generate fresh ideas, consider the various audiences when selecting and selling an idea, and design and test for different users. Cultural differences can lead to gridlock, or they can catalyze innovation and growth. Driven by Difference offers a research-based plan to turn diversity’s potential into economic reality.

Book Review: The Inclusion Dividend

by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan
by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan

The Inclusion Dividend by consultants Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan does an admirable job of addressing the continuing need for the business environment to live up to its goal of a meritocratic performance system. Every business continues to work to do its part to make diversity and inclusion a reality. What Kaplan and Donovan reveal in both their book and the work of their company The Dagoba Group is the importance of these efforts to the business. As they put it, inclusion is  “essential for maximizing the ability of an organization to meet its mission.” The Inclusion Dividend is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Kaplan and Donovan’s book isn’t a retread of traditional hiring strategies to create a more diverse company. The Inclusion Dividend sails past its competitors into uncharted territory by providing methods that results in stronger client relationships and a better working environment. Whether it’s a workplace model for inclusion that parallels the sales process or addressing change at the individual, group, organizational and marketplace levels, The Inclusion Dividend provides comprehensive guidance to help your organization change its approach to inclusion.

Executives likely have their own impressions of their companies’ culture of diversity and inclusion. However, Kaplan and Donovan write about unconscious and unintentional bias in a way that will surprise even those readers who feel quite secure in their companies’ efforts.

In some respects, this level of discovery serves as a theme for the entire book. Diversity is a subject about which many executives feel their organization has a good grip. The Inclusion Dividend will offer a number of surprises and can change even a seasoned leader’s perspective.

The Business Case for Inclusion and Diversity

Generally, when a business talks about diversity and inclusion, the reason behind the discussion is to avoid discrimination and to provide a diversified workforce. But Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan argue that the inclusion of a more diversified workforce will actually improve the overall outcomes of the business.

In The Inclusion Dividend they argue that there are special skills and perspectives brought to the table by this diversity of people that will provide new approaches, a broader vision and in the end, better products then would be possible without them.

Mark Kaplan is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Officer for The Dagoba Group. He has been consulting since 1986 and has advised organizations in the areas of management development, executive coaching, team building and group dynamics, organizational assessment, and diversity management, assessment and strategy development.

Mason Donovan is Chief Sales Consulting Officer at The Dagoba Group. Mason was Managing Director of Client Solution Sales for Personified, a human capital consulting firm, before becoming a principal for The Dagoba Group. He has held progressively responsible sales and marketing positions for over 15 years. Mason holds a long list of sales achievement awards for direct sales and sales management.

If you are looking for ways to bring more inclusion and diversity to your organization, or are looking for additional ammunition to bring to the discussion with upper management, then you’ll want to join us on July 23rd for our Soundview Live webinar Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off, with both Kaplan and Donovan.

Just a reminder that Soundview subscribers attend for free, and for everyone else the cost is just $49 to fill a conference room with colleagues.