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Reinventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance

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Diversity in business and other organizations has been a goal for more than a quarter of a century, yet companies struggle to create an inclusive workplace. In Reinventing Diversity, Howard J. Ross, one of America’s leading diversity experts, explains why most diversity programs fail and how we can make them work.

Ross uses interviews, personal stories, statistics, and case studies to show that there is no quick fix, no easy answer. Acceptance needs to become part of the culture of a company, not just a mandated attitude. People still feel alienated because of their race, language, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or culture. Many of these prejudices are unconscious and exclusions unintentional. Only through challenging our own preconceived notions about diversity and the traditional approaches to workplace diversity and inclusion that were created long ago can we build a productive and collaborative work environment in which all people are included.

The goal of this book is to create organizations that are culturally competent, culturally intelligent, and culturally flexible. Reinventing Diversity is designed as a road map to get there.


Table of Contents:

One Song by Jalaluddin Rumi




Chapter 1. Why Does It Matter?

Chapter 2. Why Most Diversity Programs Haven’t Succeeded

Chapter 3. The Background Is Background

Chapter 4. The Conundrum of Community

Chapter 5. Uncovering the Background of Diversity

Chapter 6. Transforming Cultural Competency into Competitive Advantage: What Is Cultural Competency?

Chapter 7. Paradigm Shift 2: How Can We Know Bias When We Can’t Even See It in Ourselves

Chapter 8. Memes, Myself, and I: Understanding Perceptual Identity

Chapter 9. Developing Diversity Mastery: Understanding Your Wiring

Chapter 10. “It’s the System, Stupid!”: Paradigm Shift 3: Moving from Events to Culture-Based Systems Change

Chapter 11. The Eight Basic Principles of Organizational Community

Chapter 12. Creating Cultures That Work

Chapter 13. Walls Come Tumbling Down

Chapter 14. A New Way Home





“Howard Ross’s global and academic experiences are artfully reflected in this book. His insights and guidance make this a must-read for anyone wanting to create culturally inclusive community in organizations. I plan to make it required reading for leaders wherever I go.”

— Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer, Campbell Soup Company


“This book, like Howard Ross, is brimming with substance and soul. It is an important work that invites courageous conversations and difficult dialogues both with ourselves and with others. Page after page offers us the wisdom, inspiration, and tools we need to be effective advocates for diversity and inclusion. At last, here is the book we have been waiting for!”

— Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art


“I applaud Howard Ross for raising the issues, for bringing his heart, soul, spirit and passion to an issue he has devoted much of his life to. We have no choice but to embrace diversity, and Howard says we must confront our own biases in that embracing, and in our effort to construct a more inclusive society. His words ain't nothing but the truth, embracing my Ebonics. This is mind-expanding and important work.”

— Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women


Reinventing Diversity is a true reflection of Howard Ross’s heart and soul and his decades-long commitment to transforming human relationships. This book not only challenges us to think differently about diversity and inclusion but also points to a new direction for how we can overcome the lines and barriers that divide us. As a civil rights leader on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, I use these lessons daily.”

— Joe Solmonese, president, Human Rights Campaign


“In Reinventing Diversity, Howard J. Ross explains that creating what he calls ‘organizational community’ requires vision, which sounds like a platitude. Then we read on to discover that vision is much more than sight, or even foresight. Vision involves an intense level of focus and planning that anticipates the role of diversity in the globalized twenty-first century. If Howard Ross didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him. Or at least reinvent him.”

— Kojo Nnamdi, host, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU FM, Washington, D.C.


About the Author:

Howard J. Ross, is the founder and chief learning officer of Cook Ross, a corporate consulting group that focuses on organizational cultures, strengthen leadership, leverage diversity, inclusion & cultural competency, resulting in increased profit, performance, and collaboration. He is past chairman of Leadership Washington and a former director of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Additional Info

Name Reinventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance
SKU 61.12506
Year published 2011
Page count 304
Publisher SHRM/Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN 9781442210431
Author Howard J. Ross
Format Hardback


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