The Includers: A Book Review by Bob Morris

The Includers:The 7 Traits of Culturally Savvy, Anti-Racist Leaders
Colette A.M. Phillips
BenBella Books (January 2024)

How to create a workplace within which cultural intelligence is most likely to thrive

Major surveys of customers and employees indicate that feeling appreciated is first or second when they rank what is of greatest importance to them. It is no coincidence that companies annually ranked among those most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most orofitable, and havwe the greatest cap value in their induatry segment.

However different they may be in most respects, all of these companies have a workplace culture within which  cultural intelligence is most likely to thrive. Colette A.M. Phillips characterizes their leaders as “includers.” More specifically, at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise, these men and women create equal opportunities for preparation and then equal opprtunities for access to positions they can then create comparable opportunities for others. HOW?

o Leverage their own cultural heritage and limited experience to make authentic connections with others
o Have a genuine, sincere curiosity about diverse cultures
o Do their homework to show respect for others’ cultural heritage
o Leverage their own culture and limited experience to make authentic connections with others
o Welcome informal opportunities for camaraderie, getting to know others better and be better known to them

According to Phillips, includers demonstrate high levels of self-awareness, self-management, and relationship management.  make a total commitment to Thedy know their implicit biases, understand and respect others’ rights and privileges, lead by example, are committed to helping others to increase their own cultural IQ and their company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

These are among the passages oƒ greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the nature and scope of Phillips’s coverage:

o (The Six Pillars of Character Pages 37-39)
o Improving Your Cultural IQ (47-49)
o How Inclusive Leaders Use Cultural Intelligence to Drive Diversity (49-54)
o How Emotional Intelligence Can Fuel Cultural Intelligence (55-57)
o Cultural IQ Checklist (58-61)

o How Inclusive Leaders Use Connections to Drive Diversity (68-78)
o Cultural Networking Know-How (81-83)
o The Benefits of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Communications Strategy (92-93)
o Five Tips for Inclusive Language (101-102)
o How Inclusive Leaders Use Collaboration to Drive Diversity (107-118)

o How Inclusive Leaders Are Courageous in the Face of Racism (129-136)
o How Inclusive Leaders Use Conviction to Drive Diversity (140-150)
o DE&I Best Practices to Keep in Mind (152-154)
o Super Includers: Seven Leaders Who Became Champions for Anti-Racism (161-194)
o Epilogue: A Clarion Call to Corporate America (203-205)

Creating a workplace within which cultural intelligence is most likely to thrive requires “culturally savvy, anti-racist leaders” as well as wide and deep engagement by other stakeholders.  There must also be a compelling vision. I suggest this one, provided years ago by Martin Luther King Jr.

“This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

“And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

* * *

Here are two other suggestions to keep in mind while reading The Includers: Highlight key passages, and, record your comments, questions, action steps (preferably with deadlines), page references, and lessons you have learned as well as your responses to key points posed within the narrative. Pay special attention to the end-of-chapter insights and  calls-to-action.

These two simple tactics — highlighting and documenting — will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent reviews of key material later.


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