It is risky business to write a management parable. It rarely achieves the level of good literature nor the rich content of good management books. Inclusief leiderschap doesn’t completely avoid these traps but it nevertheless offers an engaging story about a business leader who sets out to build a diverse team.
Anton, the main character, is a member of the executive board of The Company. He wants to do the right thing, ticks all the right boxes, drives a Tesla, and is likeable. There is nothing wrong with him and that makes him a slightly boring protagonist. Anton is the white knight in the story; the black knight is Eduard, who is surrounded by his old chums from university and who is prepared to do everything to achieve his targets, including collaborating with a morally dubious partner. Anton is good, Eduard is bad.
Anton is convinced that building a diverse team is not only the right thing to do but it will also contribute to better performance. Spoiler alert: it does. He aims for diversity in behavior, cultural diversity and emotional intelligence. The book follows him in his journey to attract the right people, to convince the CEO of the rather traditional Company to allow him to do this, how he onboards his new colleagues by sharing their lifelines, the tensions resulting from the differences (more diversity results in less mutual understanding, unless it is underpinned by inclusion), how he collaborates with HR, a headhunter and an external consultant, understanding and dealing with his own biases and those of his CEO.
The authors are an experienced business leader with a bicultural background and a trainer in leadership and storytelling. Don’t expect haute cuisine if you read this book but enjoy a happy meal of worthy messages, awareness of unconscious biases, practical tips, served with dashes of emotion, wonder, recognition and insights.
Inclusief leiderschap. Veranker diversiteit in je organisatie. Henk Jan Kamsteeg & Ugur Özcan. Business Bibliotheek, 2021