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Business & Finance Series: Expert Comment

Taking radical action on inclusion

New book shows how organisations can bridge the gap between the promise and practice of inclusion

by Amy Ripley (PR and Communications Manager)

At a time of disruptive global challenges and shifting workforce expectations, it is more important than ever to get inclusion right.  Organisations need to draw on the strengths and perspectives of the widest possible mix of people to find creative solutions and adapt to these changes.

A new book co-authored by Alison Maitland, Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, responds to this challenge, arguing that organisations need to take radical action to bridge the gap between the promise and practice of inclusion.

Alison Maitland

In INdivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results, Alison and her co-author Rebekah Steele challenge today’s piecemeal approaches to inclusion.  They provide a comprehensive framework to achieve visible impact for business, society, and sustainability, showing how everyone – senior leaders, middle managers and individuals – has a part to play.

In this powerful book, Alison and Rebekah show why inclusion is indivisible from the way organisations operate and the results they achieve. They give solid facts supporting the business case and step-by-step guidance to make inclusion happen. Drawing on their unique Inclusion IMPACT® approach, the authors present a clear picture of what inclusiveness looks like, compelling case studies, and practical, immediate actions for senior leaders, middle managers and individuals to take.

The book contains a whole-system strategic framework, novel measures and scorecards to demonstrate progress and the difference it makes, innovative ideas to design inclusion into the work environment, and a vision of cross-industry collaboration contributing to sustainability and to a more cohesive and caring society.

Enhanced with powerful illustrations by Rodes Gardner, this ground-breaking book shows how to harness ‘the power of everyone’. It is for all who want to create more human and successful organizations – for the leader with the formal title, and the leader inside each individual.

“When inclusion flourishes, it galvanises the whole working environment: attracting talent, fueling innovation, cultivating positive internal and external relationships, raising performance, and preparing organisations for the challenges ahead.  Yet many companies struggle to achieve these desired business outcomes and too often focus on isolated initiatives,” Alison said.

“Inclusion has to be more than an afterthought, more than a few questions in an employee engagement survey, more than offering people a sense of belonging, more than focusing only on single-identity marginalised groups, and more than an end in itself. Our book addresses the the limitations of current initiatives, showing that an integrated strategy is needed to fully understand, measure and take action on inclusion,” she said.

Praise for INdivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results

“Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele have written the book on inclusion we've all been waiting for. Not a 'tick the box' recipe but a holistic and strategic guide for enduring organizational transformation. Engaging and informative, INdivisible is a must read for any executive who cares about building better organizations for a better society.” Herminia Ibarra, The Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behaviour, London Business School

INdivisible offers useful advice to senior leaders, middle managers, and individuals about actions to knit a diverse workforce into a powerful whole. This compact book explains why productivity, innovation, and sustainable success depend on ensuring that every idea is heard.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time

“Most business books are explicitly written for leaders. INdivisible starts with a radical premise: it's a book for everyone. Executives and individual contributors, general managers and those in finance, operations and R&D, Board members and external stakeholders. Then it hits you. This is the first book about inclusion that's inclusive. This valuable book shows that in inclusive companies, everyone has a role to play.” Jon Spector, former President and CEO, The Conference Board

INdivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results is published by Young & Joseph Press and available for sale here. The authors are Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele.


Alison Maitland is a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass and Chair of the Cass Global Women’s Leadership Programme Executive Board. She is a former Financial Times journalist and co-author of the books Future Work and Why Women Mean Business. She is a Senior Fellow in Human Capital with The Conference Board.

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