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New DDI eBook Helps Leverage Diversity and Inclusion for a Stronger Competitive Edge


DDI’s latest eBook, “Unleash Hidden Potential: Build Your Competitive Edge Through Diversity and Inclusion,” offers clear strategies to help businesses focus their diversity efforts to produce stronger business outcomes

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PITTSBURGH (July 24, 2018)—It’s time to rethink your diversity strategy as a survival strategy, according to the authors of DDI’s new eBook, “Hidden Potential: Build Your Competitive Edge Through Diversity and Inclusion.”

Written by Mark Busine, Tacy Byham, Ph.D. and Stephanie Neal, the eBook takes a critical look at the failure of leadership diversity efforts over the past decades. The authors contend that the focus on diversity as a social justice issue rather than a business imperative have undermined the success of diversity programs. But research continues to prove that companies that embrace diversity and create an inclusive environment excel in terms of innovation, growth, and profitability. To compete in today’s fast-paced, disruptive business environment, companies can no longer afford to ignore diversity.

“One of the big mistakes companies are making when it comes to diversity and inclusion is framing it only as a social justice issue,” said Byham, CEO of DDI. “While there certainly are social benefits to ensuring that many disadvantaged groups have opportunities for leadership, companies need to be thinking about diversity in terms of the value of uncovering hidden potential to fuel innovation and creative problem-solving. It’s not optional; it’s survival.”

The book emphasizes the benefits of multiple types of diversity, which include both identity and cognitive diversity. Identity diversity encompasses characteristics such as a person’s age, gender, or ethnic background. Cognitive diversity represents a range in thinking, which is related to things like personality, educational and professional experience, and mindset.

“Too often when we talk about diversity, we focus just on the things we can see, such as gender or ethnicity,” said Busine, general manager. “But the value of diversity is in the different perspectives that people bring to the table which improves problem solving.”

The eBook is informed by a wide range of research, including the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, published by DDI, The Conference Board, and EY. Key research in that study showed that diverse organizations—particularly ones that had more women in leadership—were financially more successful than their more homogenous peers. Importantly, these organizations were not necessarily succeeding because they were seeking to fill specific diversity quotas, but rather that they had inclusive cultures that valued diverse perspectives, enabling people of any background to thrive.

“Diversity alone will not deliver benefits unless you also have an inclusive culture,” said Neal, a research scientist at DDI. “You can have a diverse group of people in the room, but if they don’t feel comfortable sharing and discussing their various viewpoints, you’ll still end up with singular ‘groupthink.’ The key is that your people need to know how to lead conversations that invite diverse thinking, and be open to new ideas. Ignoring the opportunity to act inclusively creates a huge risk that good ideas will walk out the door and straight to your competitors.”

The eBook also recommends practices and clear solutions that organizations can implement to accomplish their diversity goals, including how to:

  • Ensure fairness and remove bias by integrating objective assessments into the hiring and promotion process.
  • Create an inclusive environment through personal interactions that build trust, involvement and provide support for growth.
  • Implement strategies for accelerating women and igniting change in their male allies via women in leadership programs, among others. 

“The bottom line on diversity is that it comes down to overlooking hidden potential,” said Byham. “Organizations that ignore this hidden potential in their workforce will either find themselves losing talent, or will have a sluggish workforce that struggles to innovate and compete with more inclusive competitors. In today’s fast-paced digital world, diversity isn’t a soft-hearted company value—it’s a critical survival strategy.”                                                                

For more information about DDI’s approach to unleashing potential and to download the eBook “Unleash Hidden Potential,” visit


About DDI

DDI is a global leadership company that helps organizations transform the way they hire, promote and develop leaders at every level. With more than 100 industrial-organizational psychologists on staff, DDI has dedicated itself to the science and practice of leadership since 1970. Clients include half of the Fortune 500 and multinationals in every industry across more than 90 countries. To find out more information about DDI’s leadership expertise, visit