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Other titles in the BK Business series:
The End of Diversity as We Know It: Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed (BK Business)by Martin N. Davidson
Synopses & Reviews
The idea for this book came to Martin Davidson during a disarmingly honest conversation with a CFO he worked with. “Look,” the executive said, clearly troubled. “I know we can get a diverse group of people around the table. But so what? What difference does it really make to getting bottom-line results?”
Answering the “so what?” led Davidson to explore the flaws in how companies typically manage diversity. They dont integrate diversity into their overall business strategy. They focus on differences that have little impact on their business. And often their diversity efforts end up hindering the professional development of the very people they were designed to help.
Davidson explains how what he calls Leveraging Difference™ turns persistent diversity problems into solutions that drive business results. Difference becomes a powerful source of sustainable competitive advantage instead of a distracting mandate handed down from HR.
To begin with, leaders must identify the differences most important to achieving organizational goals, even if the differences arent the obvious ones. The second challenge is to help employees work together to understand the ways these differences matter to the business. Finally, leaders need to experiment with how to use these relevant differences to get things done. Davidson provides compelling examples of how organizations have tackled each of these challenges.
Ultimately this is a book about leadership. As with any other strategic imperative, leaders need to take an active role—drive rather than just delegate. Successfully leveraging difference can be what distinguishes an ordinary organization from an extraordinary one.
The End of Diversity As We Know It was named by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title in 2012.
Book News Annotation:
If corporate diversity efforts limit their assessments merely to the question of how many people from one group have been hired or fired or how much product is sold to this or that other group of people, they are often missing out on the positive effects of skillfully capitalizing on cultural differences within an organization, argues Davidson (leadership and organizational behavior, Darden School of Business, U. of Virginia) who presents an approach for fully "leveraging difference" in order to foster superior firm performance that draws on examples from the United States and around the world. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Martin Davidson makes the bold claim that millions--maybe billions--of dollars in diversity training are being wasted. Attrition statistics show a revolving door for women and minorities, but companies are still recruiting and promoting employees as they've always done. As Chief Diversity Officer at the Darden School of Business (University of Virginia) and as a consultant with top Fortune 100 firms like AT&T and Merrill Lynch, Martin Davidson has found a better way: Stop forcing diversity on people as a goal in and of itself, a matter of percentages and head counts, and instead use it strategically, creating business improvement strategies that draw on employees' different strengths. Make cultivating difference a core competency and enjoy the improvements in innovation, marketing, and business execution that are the natural result. Stop focusing on a narrow band of superficially diverse groups, and welcome deeper differences in lifestyles, economic backgrounds, and viewpoints.
Davidson calls this new way "Leveraging Difference," which sees diversity NOT as a problem to be solved, but as an opportunity to make better business strategies. Net result: diversity that really moves the organization forward, not just another training program that changes little.
About the Author
Martin N. Davidson is Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, and also serves as Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer. His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Personality, and the Journal of Conflict Management, and he has appeared on National Public Radio. An active consultant, he works with Fortune 100 firms like Merrill Lynch (where he held the title of External Advisor for the Office of Diversity), AT&T, Credit Suisse, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and many more.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Challenge and the Opportunity
Chapter 1: You Must Stop "Doing" Diversity
Chapter 2: What Leveraging Difference is and Why it Matters
Chapter 3: Seeing Difference: Perceive the variety of differences that could matter
Chapter 4: Understand Difference: Undertake careful and sustained learning about differences you see
Chapter 5: Engage Difference: Choose whether to change in light of the differences you’ve seen and understood. Develop an action plan
Chapter 6: Leveraging Difference: Strategic integration of changes connected to the relevant differences so that the organization transforms how it does business and drives desired new results.
Chapter 7: Leveraging Difference to Manage People—Twelve Angry Men
Chapter 8: Leveraging Difference to Generate Innovation
Conclusion: Learning is the Bottom Line
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