Each month our Development Consultant Sally Ward recommends a resource to help you in your work. For May’s theme, Network and D&I Team – Being in Flow, Sally takes a look at “Inclusive Leadership” by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick, a definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful diversity and inclusion strategy.
When I knew what May’s theme was going to be (Network & D&I Team – Being in Flow) I was a bit stumped about which book to review. And then Kate reminded me of a publication that two friends of the PurpleSpace family had written and a light-bulb went on above my head.
Fleur Bothwick OBE is EMEIA Director of Diversity and Inclusion at EY and one of PurpleSpace’s members. Charlotte Sweeney OBE has specialised in Diversity & Inclusion for nearly 20 years and runs her own consultancy specialising in D&I strategy and its effective and sustainable implementation. So basically, two of the most highly respected professionals and practitioners in the field of D&I.
They wrote a book in 2016 called 'Inclusive Leadership' and even though I had seen it on various HR Director’s bookshelves, I’d never taken the time to read it. What a mistake! Which I have now put right.
It’s very easy to find management books that are packed full of theory and good intentions that you find yourself wading through and can’t wait to get to the end. This definitely isn’t one of them. It’s a practical, easy reading, step by step guide for anyone involved in or with a passion for Diversity & Inclusion whether its their main role, as an HR team member, a disability sponsor or as a network chair or network member. And it doesn’t matter where you are on your D&I journey, this book is packed full of practical ideas and examples, covering a range of areas from networks / resource groups (obviously!) to talent to unconscious bias and creating the case for change. They even give examples of what a good D&I action plan might look like together with impact measures, so you don’t even need to start from scratch in a lot of these areas.
Whether your business is starting on its journey and wants advice on how to create the best strategy or whether you’re a way along your journey and want some inspiration as to what to do next (or indeed what NOT to do next), then this book has the answers.
It helps you navigate through the – sometimes confusing – areas of external providers and benchmarks. Why do you need them? What will they offer you? Is it the right time for your organisation to be doing a benchmark; where is your business on its journey to disability confidence?
I particularly liked the five key takeaways at the end of each chapter, both as a summary of what I’d just read or, if I didn’t have time to read the whole chapter, the key points I should be focused on for that area.
The chapter on networks / resource groups was particularly interesting and covered a range of areas that are very close to my heart and I know that you would find helpful and informative to read, for example how to take your local network regional or even global.
It’s also helpful, as a network chair, to look at the world of disability from a different perspective. While this book is about the wider diversity and inclusion agenda, reading this will help you get a better feeling for what the business needs to focus on and the challenges, opportunities and barriers they might face on their journey to be a truly inclusive employer.
Wherever you and your organisation are on your journey, I would absolutely recommend you take the time and read this book. I would also suggest that in your role as part of the Magic Trio of stakeholders (Network, D&I team and Sponsor) you recommend to you D&I team and your sponsor they might want to also take a look. None of us are ever too old to learn and – one of my favourite sayings – every day is a school day, no matter who you are!
PS: I’m really keen to understand what you think of my reviews. It would be great if you could drop me an email or contact me via the Member Zone with your feedback – go on, I’ve got broad shoulders!!
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