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Achieving the next level of diversity and inclusion within your organization – Laura Liswood

Experts say diversity and inclusion are essential to leading or managing a successful team. On this edition of Diversity in Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome back Laura Liswood, award-winning speaker, author, and the Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders. Today, Liswood discusses her latest book, The Elephant and the Mouse: Moving Beyond the Illusion of Inclusion to Create a Truly Diverse and Equitable Workplace.

Liswood hopes to convey with her book that there’s this next generation of thinking around diversity efforts. She says business organizations have to get past the “Noah’s Ark” phase, which is making sure you have two of each on the ark.

We’re in diversity 2.0 at this point, says Liswood. We’ve got to think further. One of the most crucial things for leadership to do in an organization is to get a much better idea of the lived experiences of everyone within the organization, particularly diverse people. That is one of the driving inspirations behind Liswood’s new book, The Elephant and the Mouse. Business leaders have to start asking themselves—How are we going to make sure that we’re getting the most out of our diversity? How will we make sure that people feel included and respected? How can we encourage employees to want to participate within our organization fully?

The notion is that if you are the elephant in the room, the dominant group, what do you really know about that non-dominant group? The mouse. Not much, right? However, if you’re the mouse in the room, you better know everything about the elephant.

Dominant groups need to have a better understanding of the experiences within an organization that non-dominant groups are having. Many senior leaders can often get confused and think, well, the way the world works for me is the way the world works for everyone else.

For more great insight from Laura Liswood, watch the entire interview above.


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