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The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion

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"What does a workplace utopia look like to you?"

This is the question Dr. Ella F. Washington asks company leaders, and often she hears about an ideal vision of an organization that values diversity and inclusion and wants employees to bring their whole selves to work.

But how can you get there? Organizations have largely missed the mark when it comes to creating environments where all employees thrive in an equal and equitable way, because they treat diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a program that gets done rather than the necessary and difficult journey it is. A truly inclusive workplace requires invention and reinvention, mistakes and humility, adaptation to a changing world, constant reflection, and sometimes significant sacrifice.

The road to an inclusive workplace is a difficult one, but you can traverse it, and there's help along the way. Start here with stories of companies making the necessary journey, including Slack, PwC, Best Buy, Denny's, and many others. Hear from company leaders about their successes and failures, the times they were on the vanguard, and the moments they realized they had much more work to do. These are profiles in perseverance from people who are keen enough to recognize the need for inclusive workplaces and humble enough to know they're not there yet. Along the way, Washington provides a framework for thinking about where these companies are on their journeys and where you and your company may be too.

Progress is hard won on the necessary journey to becoming an inclusive organization, but it must be won. John Lewis said it best: "You see something you want to get done, you cannot give up, and you cannot give in."


ISBN-13: 9781647821289

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Publication Date: 11-08-2022

Pages: 320

Product Dimensions: 9.40h x 6.30w x 1.40d

Dr. Ella F. Washington is an organizational psychologist who finds inspiration at the intersection of business, diversity, and leadership. Dr. Washington has global consulting experience in financial services, sports and entertainment, oil and gas, higher education, and government. Both her research and her client work focus on structural barriers to inclusion for diverse groups in the workplace and working with organizations to build inclusive cultures. She also works one-on-one with leaders to develop their inclusive leadership skills. Previously, Dr. Washington worked at Gallup as a subject-matter expert in diversity and inclusion. In that role she provided insight to clients on issues of inclusion, culture, strategic diversity, and engagement.

Dr. Washington is on the management faculty at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. She earned her PhD in organizational behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and her BA in Psychology from Spelman College.

You can find Dr. Ella F. Washington at ellavatesolutions.com and on Twitter @ellafwashington.