Author(s): Laura A. Liswood
A business fable that explains why organizations need to move beyond the old-style diversity efforts to actually benefit from difference In today's modern workplaces with their many different types of people, cultural and personal differences can be challenges-whether you're a team-member or a business leader. Different cultures teach different values and we carry those values throughout adulthood and into the office environment. Understanding the cultural and gender viewpoints of our colleagues is a major key to healthy, conflict-free work environments. This fable takes its name from a Chinese children's parable about how "the loudest duck gets shot." It's a parable that contrasts with the American idiom "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Comparing the two, it's clear that different cultures teach different views, and those views often translate into distinct ways of doing business. In today's global business world, understanding each other-where we come from and what we're taught-is more important than ever.* A business fable that points out how the old way of approaching diversity will never work, showing us how to understand and navigate the cultural and gender differences that cause conflict in the office* Perfect for managers and executives faced with leadership challenges in a heterogeneous workforce and who want to make sure their organization is a true meritocracy and a level playing field for everyone* Ideal for anyone, at any level, who wants more tools in their toolbox to get ahead in business in a global business culture Doing business today takes understanding and cultural intelligence. The Loudest Duck uses an entertaining story to share important lessons about why diversity efforts are bound to fail unless we really understand how we unconsciously respond to difference and how to move to beyond it. Praise for The Loudest Duck "Laura Liswood has both great theoretical and practical understanding of diversity-why it is important in organizations and why attempts to create it often fail to deliver. The Loudest Duck is essential reading for anyone who wants to maximize the effectiveness of organizations or just wants to understand why things are the way they are." -Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell Canada's 19th and first female Prime Minister "Diversity is a popular buzzword, but too many organizations treat it as window dressing. Laura Liswood explains how successful leaders learn to value diversity for the advantages it brings. This book is clearly written, savvy, and wise." -Joseph S. Nye Jr. University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University; Author of The Powers to Lead "The Loudest Duck is a must read for managers and leaders of multinational corporations and international organizations. It provides an insightful look and fresh approach to cultural and gender differences that must be better understood for a more effective workplace." -Ann M. Veneman Executive Director, UNICEF "Laura Liswood brilliantly shows us how to get to Diversity 2.0 and beyond. A workplace of people from different backgrounds can lead to tensions, but this book shows, with great insights and examples, how it can lead to real creativity instead. It's an indispensable guide for managers and leaders-and also for anyone who wants to succeed in any aspect of life." -Walter Isaacson President and Chief Executive Officer, The Aspen Institute "Laura's timing is perfect and her message is spot on. Embracing diversity creates competitive advantage. Her book should be mandatory reading for everyone in business today. In the most engaging, fun, and real way, Laura gets to the heart of the opportunity-enabling Noah's diverse floating Ark to fly to the moon and beyond." -Beth Brooke Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement, Ernst & Young "Globalized businesses are increasingly aware that diversity belongs in the boardroom, not the public relations department, so The Loudest Duck is beautifully timed. Liswood is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Best of all, she's practical, helping ambitious employees from nondominant groups to prove their worth, and advising leaders how to transform diversity from rhetoric into an engine for innovation and growth." -Kevin Kelley Chief Executive Officer, Heidrick & Struggles "Iconoclastic and savvy, Laura Liswood's The Loudest Duck reminds us that not all diversities in the Ark are equal: Some in the Ark are louder and they get heard most. Combining an impressive breadth of research with colorful stories from corporate life, this book is essential reading for anyone who is serious about reaping the promise of diversity at work." -Herminia Ibarra Professor of Organizational Behavior The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning Director, INSEAD Leadership Initiative "Brilliant! Liswood offers unique insight and fresh tools for a Diversity 2.0 world. Drawing on thinkers from Thucydides to Malcolm Gladwell, and on more than three decades of executive experience, she offers leaders ideas for building a meritocracy that will ensure corporate success." -Robin Gerber Author of Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way and Barbie and Ruth "The Loudest Duck is one of the clearest and most profoundly informative analyses of why, despite decades of effort and investment, most diversity initiatives fail to produce the promised benefits to organizations or their employees. This book goes beyond analysis and provides a new language of metaphor that captures the unexamined dynamics of dominance, unearned privilege, and unconscious bias that undermine our attempts to create truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. In her introduction Laura Liswood makes clear her goal to move us beyond Diversity 1.0. She is successful. The Loudest Duck has the potential to usher in Diversity 2.0, a new conversation and approach to changing our organizations and ourselves. It is a must reading for leaders who are serious about diversity and inclusion in their organizations." -David A. Thomas H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School Author of Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America
About the author:
Laura Liswood is a Senior Advisor and former managing director for Global Leadership and Diversity at Goldman Sachs and is Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders. She has held executive positions in the banking, cable television, and airline industries, and cofounded The White House Project.