Difference Makers Book Summary - Difference Makers Book explained in key points
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Difference Makers summary

Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis

A Leader’s Guide to Championing Diversity on Boards

3.9 (77 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Difference Makers by Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis is a motivational guide for anyone who wants to make a difference. It provides inspiration, insights and practical tips for turning ideas into action, based on the experiences of successful changemakers.

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    Difference Makers
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    Diversity is about more than visible differences, and it’s essential to success in today’s market.

    What is diversity? Lots of people answer this question by making reference to visible differences such as gender or race. That’s an okay start, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Just think of what makes you unique. Chances are, intangibles like your personality, life experiences and beliefs would rank pretty high, right? Well, that’s pretty much the point: there’s more to people than meets the eye.

    That’s why the Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management shifts the focus from obvious markers of difference to the wide variety of qualities of people within organizations. Diversity, in other words, is about recognizing that every person is a rich tapestry woven together from multiple threads. Age, education, abilities, disabilities, culture, experience, ideology, profession and, of course, race and gender – to name just a few factors – all shape who we are.

    Unfortunately, we often focus on what we can see and ignore the invisible threads. That leads to the common fallacy that people who look alike have the same views. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. And that’s the foundation stone of a broader, and more accurate, understanding of diversity: what really matters is diversity of thought.

    And why does it matter to companies? Well, equal representation is not only good in its own right, it’s also an essential part of doing business in today’s world. That’s because we live in an age which is increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – call it “VUCA” for short.

    The world is constantly changing. Just think of Asia. By 2050, two thirds of the global middle class and 20 of the largest 50 cities will be Asian – up from only eight cities in 2007. Then there’s digital innovation. Once iconic household names like Kodak and Blockbusters have been eclipsed by upstarts like Uber, Facebook and Airbnb. Globalization has meanwhile created a business environment in which companies have to scout for top talent across borders and organizations, not just across the city.

    If you want to keep pace with those changes and capitalize on the opportunities they present, your company’s board and management needs to be every bit as diverse as the markets in which they operate. And that’s all about being open, adaptable and flexible – something that’s a whole lot easier if you’re drawing your leaders from the largest possible pool!

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    What is Difference Makers about?

    Difference Makers (2016) makes a compelling case for the value of diversity at the top of today’s companies. Written by two leading champions of inclusive leadership, these blinks guide readers through personal and boardroom strategies to overcome bias, foster open dialogue and spark innovation by getting more voices to the table.

    Difference Makers Review

    Difference Makers (2020) by Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis is a book that explores the power of individuals to make a difference in their communities. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through compelling stories, it showcases the inspiring journeys of ordinary people who have made extraordinary impacts, demonstrating that anyone can create change.
    • The book provides practical strategies and tools for readers to develop their own leadership skills and drive positive social change in their own lives and communities.
    • With its engaging narrative and thought-provoking insights, the book challenges readers to think differently and empowers them to take action, ensuring it is far from boring.

    Best quote from Difference Makers

    How can we effect change in the world when only one half of it is invited or feels welcome to participate in the conversation? – Emma Watson

    —Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis
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    Who should read Difference Makers?

    • Founders and entrepreneurs
    • Team leaders, company managers and directors
    • Anyone interested in best business practices

    About the Author

    Nicky Howe is a CEO who specializes in helping individuals, organizations and communities reach their potential. She holds degrees in business administration and management and teaches at the School of Business at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

    Alicia Curtis is one of Western Australia’s leading social and business entrepreneurs and an award-winning speaker and leadership facilitator. She holds a degree in business leadership and was named in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence List in 2014.

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    Difference Makers FAQs 

    What is the main message of Difference Makers?

    The main message of Difference Makers is that small actions can create big impacts and anyone can make a positive difference.

    How long does it take to read Difference Makers?

    The estimated reading time for Difference Makers varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Difference Makers a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Difference Makers is worth reading because it offers practical insights and motivation to ignite positive change in our communities and ourselves.

    Who is the author of Difference Makers?

    The authors of Difference Makers are Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis.

    What to read after Difference Makers?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Difference Makers, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Leadership Blindspots by Robert Bruce Shaw
    • Inclusify by Stefanie K. Johnson
    • Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed
    • Reset by Ellen Pao
    • The Greater Freedom by Alya Mooro
    • The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh
    • Think Twice by Michael J. Mauboussin
    • Building an Inclusive Organization by Stephen Frost and Raafi-Karim Alidina
    • AI for Business Leaders by Michael Ramsay
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin