Difference Makers Book Summary By Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis

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Difference Makers (2016) is an important book that provides readers insightful guidance on the value of diversity in today's corporate environment.

Written by two leading voices in the field of inclusive leadership, this book helps us understand how to foster inclusion and non-discrimination throughout our companies.

The authors guide readers through processes to overcome bias, encourage open dialogue and motivate innovation in order to get more voices heard and included at the top level.

The approaches include creating strategies for personal change as well as offering boardroom strategies to cultivate a diverse and welcoming atmosphere.

Ultimately, the book offers actionable strategies that make a real difference in achieving greater diversity and inclusion in companies.

Difference Makers Book

Book Name: Difference Makers (A Leader’s Guide to Championing Diversity on Boards)

Author(s): Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Nicky Howe is an author and CEO whose experience spans business administration, management and teaching.

She has a deep understanding of what it takes to help individuals, organizations and communities reach their potential, making her an ideal person to write Difference Makers – a book that provides strategies for creating lasting change.


Howe is the perfect author for this project; she holds degrees in business administration and management and is a professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia's School of Business – giving her firsthand knowledge in how businesses can effectively make changes that will last.

Learn How To Foster “Diversity Of Thought” In The Workplace To Promote A More Inclusive Company Culture

Company Culture

If you’re a corporate leader, you know that diversity in the workplace is important.

But why? What does it do for your company? In their book Difference Makers, Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis explore this very question.

They focus not on visible differences between people but rather on different perspectives – otherwise known as “diversity of thought.” This concept is incredibly valuable in today’s world and can help foster open-ended dialogue in the workplace.

But creating a corporate culture dedicated to fostering such an inclusive environment has to begin long before hiring.

To do so, leaders need to look inwardly at how they think and act in the boardroom, relying cognitive tools to make changes where necessary.

Doing this allows companies to unlock the potential that diversity of though can bring: better decision-making, critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities all become heightened when teams are composed of individuals with diverse ideas – all coming together with the same goal in mind.

The Meaning Of Diversity: Not Just What You See, But Also What You Think

At first glance, diversity may seem like an issue of visible differences such as gender and race.

However, Diversity is and goes beyond that, with important intangibles such as personality and life experiences making up who we are.

This means that there is much more to each person than meets the eye – they are a complex blend of multiple factors such as age, culture, experience or ideologies.

In today’s competitive market landscape where companies have to scout for talent across countries and organizations in order to succeed, having a highly diverse board of leaders from different backgrounds has become essential.

With more competitive global markets, rapidly growing digitally innovative companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Facebook dominating certain sectors and the emergence of Asia’s middle class projected to be two-thirds by 2050 – being open-minded and flexible is critical for business success.

This is why understanding that diversity goes beyond physical appearance is important for any company – it provides innovation through various points of view on how to approach certain problems or seize certain opportunities in order to succeed.

Fighting Bias: Overcoming Prejudice In The Workplace Through Self-Awareness And Cultural Competency

Employers all over the world are realizing that diversity is essential for success.

Unfortunately, bias is a major obstacle to achieving true diversity in the workplace.

Bias takes many forms, such as implicit stereotypes linking certain groups with supposedly typical traits, in-group favoritism, and outgroup homogeneity.

These biases affect hiring practices and boardroom decisions and can prevent people from different backgrounds from advancing to positions of leadership or gaining representation.

Luckily, these prejudiced views can be unlearned.

Leaders can start by closely examining their own biases with tools such as the Harvard Implicit Association Test or by simply questioning any assumptions they make about any particular group or individual.

On top of that, trying to increase cultural competency – broadening one’s horizons through travel and meaningful conversations with people who may have different beliefs – is essential for improving one’s understanding of diversity and eliminating bias in favor of creating more inclusive environments.

How The Six Thinking Hats Can Help Your Board Avoid Groupthink


Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon, and one of the most effective ways to avoid it is by using different “thinking hats”.

These hats are a cognitive tool created by psychologist Edward de Bono, with each color representing a different approach to problem solving.

Used in the boardroom, these hats can make sure that an issue is considered from every possible angle and prevent any mistakes caused by groupthink.

The way these hats works starts with donning a White Hat, which signifies an unbiased consideration of facts without emotion.

Red represents emotions: when wearing it you’re able to discuss feelings on a matter.

Black stands for pessimism and helps consider the downsides of decisions while Yellow takes an optimistic approach and lets you dwell on pros more than cons.

The Green Hat is worn for creativity; it gives people free reign over new ideas without worrying about judgement.

Finally, there’s Blue which serves as an overall supervisor ensuring all six hats have been used correctly and that everyone has contributed in equal measure.

By using the Thinking Hats when making important decisions in your company or organization, you can help prevent groupthink — and get the best solution out of any situation!

Understanding Our Emotions To Improve Decision-Making In The Boardroom

When it comes to being in a boardroom – or anywhere else for that matter – emotions play a huge role.

Human beings are equipped with an intrinsic limbic system, which influences our moods and, consequently, how we interpret the world around us.

That’s why recognizing your mood can be a tremendous help when navigating through emotionally charged situations.

Take the book Difference Makers by Alan Sieler as an example.

It introduced the concept of ‘six basic moods’ which can each be triggered by one of three distinct components: Facticity (things out of our control), Possibility (where making change is possible) and Uncertainty (the unpredictable).

The trick, as suggested by Sieler, is to recognize when these different scenarios play out in our lives and adjust our response accordingly.

For instance, what if you have had a dispute with someone and you find yourself annoyed? Refocusing your attention away from resenting the situation can lead to inner peace – simply accepting that this has happened can help you approach the conflict constructively instead of passively ruminating on it.

So next time you find yourself struggling with emotional problems at work or anywhere else; take charge of your feelings by first acknowledging which of the six basic moods are affecting how you view things, then try to find a way forward that works best for all parties involved

Start A Conversation To Build A Diverse And Inclusive Boardroom Culture

Boardroom Culture

Frank conversations and an avoidance of “tokenism” are key when it comes to building a diverse board.

As the authors of “Difference Makers” state, tokenism often does more harm than good – so it’s important that all members of the board feel accepted and brought into the fold properly.

The best approach is to start an open dialogue with everyone involved – not just those who are already on the board, but also potential new candidates as well.

This means being transparent about any biases you may have, and asking questions that seek to understand how diversity can be nurtured in your company.

Things like inquiring about a candidate’s knowledge of other languages and cultures, or getting a better understanding of their views on working with people from diverse backgrounds are all great starting points.

You should also bear in mind that becoming truly inclusive takes time.

So when potential candidates join the team, give them real responsibilities and autonomy from day one, allowing them to make an impact as soon as possible!

This will ensure you don’t fall into tokenism practices, which could harm both your company culture and reputation.

Wrap Up

The takeaways from Difference Makers by Shelley Zalis is that embracing and encouraging diversity not only creates a more inclusive environment, but it can also have a positive impact on business.

The book shines a light on the biases that prevent companies from doing this and provides actionable advice for overcoming them.

It offers guidance on how to recognize negative moods, reject any oppressive tendencies that may be present and cultivate an open and inviting environment.

Ultimately, embracing diversity in the workplace is essential for businesses to thrive, and Difference Makers provides the strategies necessary to do just that.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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