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Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

June 15, 2020

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In this groundbreaking guide, a management expert outlines the transformative leadership skill of tomorrow—one that can make it possible to build truly diverse and inclusive teams which value employees’ need to belong while being themselves.


Humans have two basic desires: to stand out and to fit in. Companies respond by creating groups that tend to the extreme—where everyone fits in and no one stands out, or where everyone stands out and no one fits in. How do we find that happy medium where workers can demonstrate their individuality while also feeling they belong?

The answer, according to Stefanie Johnson, is to Inclusify. In this essential handbook, she explains what it means to Inclusify and how it can be used to strengthen any business. Inclusifying—unlike “diversifying” or “including”— implies a continuous, sustained effort towards helping diverse teams feel engaged, empowered, accepted, and valued. It’s no use having diversity if everyone feels like an outsider, she contends.

In her research, Johnson found common problems leaders exhibit which frustrate their attempts to create diverse and cohesive teams. Leaders that underestimated the importance of group coherence and dynamics often have employees who do not feel like they belong; leaders that ignore the benefits of listening to different perspectives leave some people feeling like they cannot be their authentic selves.

By contrast, leaders who Inclusify can forge strong relationships with their teams, inspire greater productivity from all of their workers, and create a more positive environment for everyone. Having a true range of different voices is good for the bottom line—it allows for the development of the best, most innovative, and creative solutions that are essential to success.

Inclusify reveals the unexpected ways that well-intentioned leaders undermine their teams, explains how to recognize the myths and misperceptions that drive these behaviors, and provides practical strategies to become an Inclusifyer. By learning why uniqueness and belonging are so imperative, leaders can better understand what makes their employees tick and find ways to encourage them to be themselves while ensuring they feel like they are fully part of the group. The result is a fully engaged team filled with diverse perspectives—the key to creating innovative and imaginative ideas that drive value.

In the strange and disruptive time of COVID-19, where more employees are working from home than ever before, the concepts of inclusivity and uniqueness are even more important. Inclusifying may be the most important leadership skill to grasp in this moment of extreme workplace change. Diversity and inclusion are no longer buzzwords but are fundamentals to thriving organizations—they are the key to a strong and innovative workplace.


“Many leaders are talking about building more diverse, inclusive workplaces, but few are making real progress. Stefanie Johnson is here to do something about that. Along with being a leading researcher, she has extensive experience consulting and advising, and her book is full of rigorous evidence and practical ideas for making sure that people who stand out are able to fit in too.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife



Stefanie Johnson is an Associate Professor of Management at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Newsweek, Time, and on CNN. 


This giveaway is being brought to you by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.



Editor's Note: Porchlight Book Company has implemented the CDC’s recommendations for workplace cleaning, disinfecting, and social distancing. We continue shipping books even as employees nonessential to that operation have been directed to work from home, but book giveaway shipments may see a lag in shipping time as we prioritize shipping book orders. We do want to keep getting you great books to read during this time, so hang in there! 

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