EXPERT FORUM ARTICLE
Posted: 2/24/20

 

Four Diverse Books on Diversity and Leadership Topics by LGBT Authors

By Stan C. Kimer, Founder and President, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer

Over the past few years, I have read and written reviews of a diverse set of excellent books on diversity and leadership from 4 LGBT consultants who like me as Certified LGBT Business Enterprises through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The four books I will summarize and review below are:

  1. Divided We Stand – Racism in America from Jamestown to Trump, by David R. Morse
  1. How To Be an Inclusive Leader, by Jennifer Brown
  1. Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take To Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, by Rhodes Perry
  1. Beyond the Rainbow, by Jenn T. Grace

Please do read each of these summaries and consider ordering these insightful books.

Divided We Stand – Racism in America from Jamestown to Trump, by David R. Morse

As a diversity consultant with a deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) diversity, about half my clients do engage me for all areas of diversity and inclusion, which includes race. Even though the diversity discipline has evolved from the initial areas of gender and race to now include LGBT, generational, cognitive, the differently-abled, and more; racial issues certainly need to continue to be front and center. (see my blog “The Various Growing Types of Diversity.”

Though a good number of white people believe that the racial discrimination of the past is eradicated, the black community for the most part, as well as statistical realities, would indicate otherwise. And racial tensions continue to rage as we have seen in the disproportionate number of black men and boys killed by police, the black lives matter movement, and the increased number of race related hate groups becoming active in the United States. (see my blog “Facing the Truth – Racism Still Persists in the USA.”)

I have recently read a most fascinating book which places racism in the United States in a much broader historical perspective since the very beginnings of our nation’s founding. In “Divided We Stand,” David R. Morse provides a full historical account of the many forms of racism that has been a part of our country’s history. It is important to own this part of our history, and by understanding history, we can all work together to build a more just society.

The sections of this fascinating book full of interesting accounts and data include:
• The early struggles within white mostly Anglo-Saxon America in terms of integrating waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and Jews.
• The long African-American history from the days of slavery until today, including the doctrine of the “superior” Caucasian Race and the Jim Crow laws of the early 20th century.
• The history of Hispanic Americans starting with the treatment of the population already in the areas of the Southwest “conquered” by the USA up through the debate that continues to rage about illegal immigration.
• The history of Asian-Americans, their treatment and oppression during the gold rush days of California and the building of the western railroads, our government’s agreements with Japan, up to many who view Asians as the “model minority.”
• Scholarly discussion on the science around genetics and race, and then closing with the landscape of race relations in the USA today.
This book certainly made me aware of so much more of the history and dynamics behind the multiplicity of racial issues in our diverse country from its very beginning. And hopefully by understanding this history, we can all unite more rigorously to build a stronger country from our profound and unique blend of diversity.

Direct LINK to order

How To Be an Inclusive Leader, by Jennifer Brown
Every few months I will continue to write a “book review” blog when I come across an extraordinary book in my field of diversity, leadership and career development. I am pleased to share a little about a new book by one of the industry’s leading diversity and inclusion consultants Jennifer Brown, “How to Be an Inclusive Leader,” subtitle, “Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive.”

The topic of growing into an inclusive leader becomes increasingly important each year as the demographics of our workforce continue to get more diverse. We all need to realize that within a few decades, the United States will be a “minority / majority” country; that is, non-Caucasian people will outnumber white Americans. In addition, the highly skilled and professional future workforce will be a fully 50% female. And in the global internet connected economy – customers, employees and suppliers can be easily engaged practically anywhere in this world. We need to have the widest possible pool of candidates when recruiting talent, and then provide them an inclusive, welcoming, respectful workplace.

To thrive in the new economy, leaders must be inclusive or they will fail. This book provides the reader the perfect mix of theory, examples and practical steps to take in terms of learning how to grow as an inclusive leader.

The basic structure of the book is the “Inclusive Leader Continuum,” which takes the reader through a journey of growth from being totally unaware of the need for inclusion to becoming an advocate.  An interesting principle is that the journey on the continuum is not fixed and in one direction. A person needs to continually evaluate where they are, and may be in different places on their inclusion journey for different diverse groups. For example, you may be an advocate for racial inclusion and equity, but just discovering the need to include LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in the discussion.

The basic steps along the continuum include:
• Being unaware that diversity and inclusion is more than compliance-related and that it is something critical that you need to get engaged in as a leader.
• Becoming aware of the role you play in inclusion and starting to educate yourself on how to move forward.
• Being active – taking meaningful steps to engage with and support a wide range of diverse people.
• Being an advocate where you are consistently leading to confront discrimination and to bring about systemic change.

What is so wonderful about this book is that Jennifer continues to throw in compelling stories and examples with each step, and offers a plethora of helpful actions you can take to grow as an inclusive leader. And Jennifer continues to tie back to the compelling business rationale for providing a nurturing work culture where every employee can fully belong and contribute their very best to the bottom line.

Now when I teach workshops on being an inclusive leader, I always provide attendees an action planning template where I actually filled in the first entry: Order and read “How to Be an Inclusive Leader" by Jennifer Brown from Amazon.

An additional special bonus – a great tool to accompany the book: you can take Jennifer’s online inclusive leader self-assessment which will let you know where you are on the inclusive leader continuum in the areas of prioritization, intent vs impact, embracing change, bias awareness and use of language.
Order this book and take the inclusive leaders continuum assessment today!

Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take To Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, by Rhodes Perry

In late October 2018, I published the blog, “After Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Comes … BELONGING!” I shared two perspectives; from a North Carolina-based diversity and inclusion consultant (Gracie Johnson-Lopez) who recently spoke at our local HR SHRM chapter, and Rhodes Perry, founder and CEO of a leadership and management consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. I also mentioned that Rhodes was just about to publish his new book about this topic.
The book, Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take To Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, is now out! I quickly ordered it and read it, and recommend it to all leaders who need to take that next step of assuring everyone on their team feels they belong so they can contribute their very best.

Rhodes starts the book with a little personal sharing of how his fear of disclosing his being a transgender man, coupled with a general lack of understanding and acceptance of transgender people while working at the White House, stymied his ability to show up as his authentic self at work. This then ended up adding additional stress to his daily responsibilities, foreshadowing his eventual departure for greener pastures.

Starting from his own base of personal experience, Rhodes shares several key concepts along with many practical suggestions on moving from diversity and inclusion to the next step of as he shares, “cultivating a culture of belonging.” Topics Rhodes expands on include:

• The concept of intersectionality; that almost everyone has some aspect of their diversity (gender, race, family status, veteran status, sexual orientation, etc.) that they “cover” at work.
• Understanding the difference between equality and equity. Yes, there is indeed a difference.
• The human need for and the power of fostering a sense of belonging at work
• How to apply an equity and empowerment lens by considering people, place, process and power
• How the fast changing global workplace has made belonging even more critical for business success, including the compelling business case for focusing on belonging
• And finally, very importantly, loads of practical actions to take in the workplace to promote belonging; because, at the end of the day, shouldn’t the outcome of reading a book like this be taking practical steps to increase personal and business effectiveness?
I strongly recommend this book – here is the link to secure your copy.

Beyond the Rainbow, by Jenn T. Grace
Check out Jenn’s Amazon.com page and order her book after reading this summary!
In June, 2017, one of the world’s leading LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) marketing experts, who I have known for over 5 years, has released her fourth book, “Beyond the Rainbow,” which ties together much of her previous knowledge to present a holistic approach to maximizing effectiveness within the LGBT market place.

After reading an early version, I provided this short summary review, “From being IBM’s Global Corporate LGBT Diversity Manager to now running my own boutique diversity consulting firm, I get the importance of understanding both the LGBTQ marketplace and workplace. Jenn T. Grace’s latest book, “Beyond the Rainbow,” which uniquely combines practical business strategies and poignant personal stories, is the ideal read for business leaders from small entrepreneurships up to Fortune 500 global mega-companies for launching or growing their LGBTQ marketing efforts.”
What is so special about this book is that it is quite interesting and fascinating. Instead of presenting a bunch of dry facts and strategies, Jenn shares much of her journey as an LGBT professional and marketing guru with interspersed stories and experiences that make you want to turn to the next page.

Some of the key principles in the book (and do buy it so you can read all the details) include:

• The importance of assuring that your motivation for reaching out to the LGBT market are good and that you back up your sales efforts with personal actions and business strategies that are sincere and authentic.
• The importance of allies, and that allies too can lead efforts to sell to and engage the LGBT market.
• There is a respectful way in which to engage the fast growing transgender community. The book provides a good primer on terms and definitions within the trans area.
• The importance of all people in an organization being trained and knowing how to respectfully interact with LGBT people. (My recent blog “Three Key Lessons from a Diversity Mishap” reinforces this key point.)
• Finally, with the recent sting of the killings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Jenn addresses dealing with adversity and the importance of supporting a community in times of tragedy.
So get your copy today! Link to Jenn’s page on Amazon.

After a diverse and successful 31 year career at IBM, Stan C. Kimer founded Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, where he offers innovative services in career development and diversity management.  Stan can be contacted at Stan@TotalEngagementConsulting.com, 919-787-7315.  Website: www.TotalEngagementConsulting.com

 

 

 




 
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