Diversity, always a weighty topic, has become a profoundly important concern over the past several weeks. Nevertheless, many people and businesses continue to struggle in their attempts to address the issue. In her latest book, Diversity Beyond Lip Service, La’Wana Harris relies on her experience as a Certified Diversity Executive, ICF Certified Coach, and global leadership development professional to offer guidance to help individuals, leaders, and organisations effectively navigate this crucial period in history.
Harris explains that to build a sustainable culture of inclusion, we all must become aware of our own biases and then do the self-work to move forward with actions that have a positive impact. The brilliance of the book lies in Harris’s COMMIT model, which is designed to serve as a call to action for those who want to be part of the solution. This process emphasises the following directives:
Commit to Courageous Action. First, determine the contribution or difference you want to make by creating a culture of inclusion. Then define what success looks like and how you will measure it, and set specific goals.
Open Your Eyes and Ears. Become mindful about what you see, what you overlook, and what you will stop tolerating.
Move Beyond Lip Service. Decide what you need to take responsibility for in order to raise the bar on inclusion and define your actions.
Make Room for Controversy and Conflict. Address what scares you about diversity and inclusion and identify both what you can stop doing and what you can say no to in order to become the best version of yourself.
Invite New Perspectives. Recognise the ways you are changing, the choices you are making, and how you will stay aware of the perspectives of others to remain vigilant.
Tell the Truth Even When It Hurts. Understand how being inclusive honours your values and how the stories you tell yourself represent cultures different from your own.
Above all, Harris recognises there isn’t a quick fix to this issue. She reminds us that true change will take place only when people make a fundamental shift in how they approach diversity. She points out that traditional efforts have been oriented from the outside in—we’ve spent decades telling people what they should think, say, and do in relation to diversity and inclusion.
Harris suggests an inside-out approach instead—one that helps individuals go deep within their own beliefs to first understand their biases and then do the self-work to begin their journey to diversity appreciation.
The best part is the how-to steps provided by Harris in this thoughtful and important book. If you want to be a leader who ignites innovation in your team and brings out the best in everyone, read Diversity Beyond Lip Service today.
You can find La'Wana Harris on LinkedIn.
About the author:
Vicki Stanford is a marketing director for The Ken Blanchard Companies.