“Imagine Belonging” – A powerful new book to help workplace leaders build an equitable workplace.

Rhodes Perry with his new book

About two or three times a year, I do like to blog about new books in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) field that are powerful, practical and can truly help an organization grow their DEI strategy and execution. One such book is “Imagine Belonging – Your Inclusive Leadership Guide to Building an Equitable Workplace” by Rhodes Perry.

Belonging is becoming a key concept in the DEI arena. In fact, I have seen many organizations add the “B” and now talk about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Rhodes Perry defines belonging as “an emotional outcome that comes from feeling seen for your unique contributions, connected to your coworkers, supporting in your daily work and career development, and proud of your organization’s values and purpose.”

More information on both Rhodes’ books

This is Rhodes’ second book on this topic, with his first being the best-selling “Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take To Cultivate an Inclusive Organization.” When it came out in early 2019, I wrote this blog about it. This book focused on what all employees and leaders can do to build an inclusive workplace culture where everyeone can feel like they belong.

This new follow up book is now specifically targeted for workplace leaders who are the ones who need to drive and build a belonging workplace culture.

Here are some of the key points and topics in the book:

• Rhodes shares some of his journey growing into leadership as a transgender man, and introduces the importance of clarity, confidence and commitment in driving transformation.

• The criticality of addressing organizational culture in doing any kind of work around DEIB. This includes examining your own leadership style, your team and the entire organization, and how identifying and addressing dominant culture vs. belonging culture systems is crucial. This also includes six key questions to explore in doing a “belonging culture audit.”

• How all efforts can get derailed by conforming, and the need to have courage, which Rhodes defines as a the opposite of conformity.  (See my June, 2022 blog “The importance of courage in being an inclusive leader.”)

• The book includes a fantastic practical table of “12 belonging culture traits.”

• Comparing competitive teams (and their issues) with cooperative teams (and their advantages.) The book also discusses the pros and cons of individualism and traits of a relationship driven team

• How to transform organizational culture to build belonging and trust, and the business advantages of doing this.

I highly recommend this book if you are leading transformational diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work in your organization. To check out the book an to order it, link to www.imaginebelonging.com. And if you want to connect more deeply on the topic of belonging in the workplace, please check out Rhodes’ newest podcast, Imagine Belonging at Work, at https://imaginebelongingatworkpodcast.com/.

“Inclusive 360” by Bernadette Smith – NOT Just Another Diversity Book!

Bernadette Smith, author of “Inclusive 360: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization”

This new book launched on September 21st !!

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As a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultant and trainer, I do like to read various books on this topic and blog about them. And every so often, an author I personally know sends me a pre-publication book to review and blog about.

Such is the case with “Inclusive 360: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization” by Bernadette Smith. I met Bernadette several years ago at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s annual conference (our companies are both certified LGBT-Business Enterprises via the chamber) and later enjoyed coffee with her when I traveled to Chicago where she shared about her plans to write with me.

Seriously, this is one of the very best diversity books for organizations I have read in years, and I plan to use it as a resource in my consulting work. So why is this book so outstanding? Five reasons:

1. The book is packed with ideas and dozens of examples of various innovative and impactful actions organizations have taken. Bernadette covers employee belonging, diversity in product and offering design, inclusive recruiting, pay practices, employee benefits, procurement practices and more. I cannot think of an area of business she did not cover. And all of this in under 200 pages!

2. She structures the book within the 3 main topics often included in all diversity work – part 1 is diversity, part 2 addresses equity and part 3 addresses inclusion.

3. Bernadette provides a very useful construct that she repeats in each chapter called ARC – Ask, Respect and Connect:
• Asking is about being open and inquisitive; asking good questions to better understand someone’s issues, struggles or position and then listening intently
• Respect is about actively listening and then accepting the input provided or data with an intention to honestly gain insight from it.
• Connecting is then providing appropriate responses and actions
Bernadette uses this ask, respect, connect methodology as she explores the various aspects of DEI

Order your copy today!

4. A high percentage of the book contains realistic actions that organizations can take on the various areas of DEI ranging from basic and intermediate tactics up through leading edge, truly inspirational actions.

5. And finally as appropriate and when totally relevant, Bernadette is authentic and transparent and shares some difficult parts of her own learning journey around diversity, equity and inclusion.

I highly recommend this book as a great tool to help you and your organization in your DEI journey no matter the size of your company or what stage you are in.

Here is the link to order your copy now, and I hope you are fortunate as I am and get to meet Bernadette in person some day.