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Review by David C. Wigglesworth, Ph.D.

Putting Diversity to Work: What to know and do to get the best out of a diverse workforce
by Simma Lieberman, George Simons and Kate Berardo.

A Fifty-Minute Series Book from Crisp Publications, a division of Course Technology/Thomson Learning. http://www.crisplearning.com. Ph +1 800-442-7477; fax +1 650-323-5800.
115 pages, ISBN: 1-56052-695-5. Price: $13.95. October 2003

Just when you think that everything has been written about diversity, you come across a new work that opens up your eyes and your thoughts and steers you to new perspectives on the subject. This is a tremendously powerful, highly valuable, extremely practical, and keenly insightful book by Lieberman, Simons, and Berardo.

Putting Diversity to Work is a wonderful can-do workbook that we come to expect from Crisp Publications. These books are designed to be read with a pencil in hand either by yourself or in tandem with a friend or colleague. They are also useful in classroom situations. This book can be utilized in the above ways but I think it will be most useful in facilitated workshops which can allow for a greater sharing of knowledge and perspectives.

In an interactive foreword we are asked to assess where we feel we and our organization are relative to the business case for diversity. It is a stimulating exercise that helps to prepare us for the rest of the text.

Part One address the enabling of your organization. It looks at: building the business case for diversity and focuses on profit, people, and the planet. It calls for making a map of your shareholders and developing a threes stage process for creating stakeholder synergy to support your diversity effort and develop a business strategy to continuously gain a competitive advantage. Additionally, part one calls for benchmarking best practices and it provides ways of measuring success through an acronym, ROIC - Return on Investment Capital that underscores the characteristics of a successful diversity initiative. ROIC equals Relevant, Owned by all, Inclusive, and Complete.

Part Two is concerned with developing ourselves that includes looking at our own values and knowing our own biases and assumptions. It discusses common ideas about diversity, what it actually is, and how to think outside the box. In various exercises we look at differences in the workplace, learning about others, and steps to take to become a diversity leader in our organizations.

Part Three gets to some of the nitty-gritty of diversity efforts as we view such topics as: what managers must know and DO, face to face communication, gathering input from employees, and diversity and new ways of working. This section has two sidebars: Ten Tips for Managing Multicultural Employees and Ten Tips for E-Mailing across Borders and Cultures. While not presented as panaceas these tips are great guides that can enhance our effectiveness.

Part Four brings it all together addressing the Empowerment of Diversity by recruiting for diversity, assessing one's interviewing skills, introducing new people, retaining the best people, and promoting the best candidates. Also, we look at encouraging diverse leadership styles that include hearing from everyone and mapping the diversity challenges. The section concludes with perceptions on managing people in conflict and dealing with sexual harassment issues.

At the back of the book we find authors' notes on the exercises and case studies and an impressive and helpful list of resources.

What is unique about this book, aside from the fresh inputs it offers, is that by reading the material and doing the exercises we can become more competent in providing enabling diversity leadership in our organizations. The authors have provided a real service to the profession in producing this valuable work. I heartily recommend it to one and all.

David C. Wigglesworth, Ph.D., an interculturalist, is an international management and organization development consultant with D.C.W. Research Associates International, 2606 Parkdale Drive, Kingwood, Texas 77339-2476 USA. Tel: 281-359-4234; E-mail

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2003 George Simons International.  See reprint policy for reproducing material from this site. Last modified: Dec. 3, 2003