The Diversity Index by Susan E. Reed - Book review

The Diversity Index

The Alarming Truth About Diversity in Corporate America...and What Can Be Done About It

By: Susan E. Reed

Published: August 29, 2011
Hardcover: 294 pages
ISBN-10: 0814416497
ISBN-13: 978-0814416495
Publisher: AMACOM

"Diversity has become a smorgasbord from which companies are taking what they desire and leaving the rest. The partial use of the diversity concept has resulted in the formation of a persistent racial ceiling in corporate America", writes award-winning investigative journalist and columnist Susan E. Reed, in her research based and eye opening book The Diversity Index: The Alarming Truth About Diversity in Corporate America...and What Can Be Done About It. The author describes how white women, as beneficiaries of gender diversity, have become part of the roadblock to racial diversity.

Susan E. Reed presents compelling evidence that racial diversity has taken a back seat in the corporate agenda, and in the public mind, to environmental sustainability. The author points out that sustainability is not possible without developing and implementing diverse employment and advancement strategies. Susan Reed acknowledges that men and women, from racially diverse heritages, have made tremendous strides and have advanced within corporate America. For the author, the advances have not gone far enough in providing racially diverse representation in all of America's largest companies. Women of color have even farther to go toward achieving top management positions than their male counterparts.

Susan E. Reed (photo left) demonstrates, through her in depth research, that white women have moved up within company hierarchies, but even the corporate female diversity levels have only achieved partial application. The incomplete diversity activity, on the part of corporations, has advanced many racially and gender diverse people, while creating a ceiling for others. Susan Reed shows how these ceilings are not simply a civil rights issue, to be addressed through laws and the courts, but are also a serious impediment to overall company performance. The author's comprehensive study shows clearly how racially and gender diverse companies consistently outperformed their non-diverse competitors on the bottom line.

To achieve the goals of a fully integrated and diverse work force, while achieving gains in overall business performance, the author recommends several steps:

* Combine diversity and ethical goals with overall business strategy
* Create a communications system to share feedback and concerns with leaders
* Provide diversity training and ongoing learning as part of the company culture
* Have diversity as part of management compensation
* Reach out to and develop new sources of diversity talent within communities
* Invest in local communities, public schools, and opportunities

For me, the power of the book is how Susan E. Reed combines her groundbreaking research findings with practical steps to facilitate real change, not only within companies, but within the entire community as well. The author provides solid data to back her important statements about the shortcomings in corporate diversity programs, and to point out how many companies are failing to address the critical issue of diversity at all.

The crucial research finding that diverse companies were more competitive, productive, and out performed their non-diverse counterparts, offers a powerful incentive for corporations to reconsider and re-evaluate their own diversity efforts. To help guide all companies, regardless of their progress in the area of diversity, Susan Reed shares an excellent ten step plan to build a more diverse and top performing company.

I highly recommend the landmark and must read book The Diversity Index: The Alarming Truth About Diversity in Corporate America...and What Can Be Done About It by Susan E. Reed, to anyone in corporate leadership who is serious about developing and implementing a racial and gender diversity initiative to sharply increase the number of women and people of color in their executive ranks and in their boardrooms. The author shows clearly as well how more diverse companies are also more profitable than their less diverse counterparts.

Read the important and company transformational book The Diversity Index: The Alarming Truth About Diversity in Corporate America...and What Can Be Done About It by Susan E. Reed, and out the power of diversity to work for your organization. Gender and racial diversity is not only the right moral and ethical choice, but it's the most productive and profitable one as well.

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