Today’s Book of the Day is The Loudest Duck, written by Laura A. Liswood and published in 2009 by Wiley.

Laura Liswood is Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, which is composed of 72 women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. which she co-founded in August 1996 with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland.
She is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, and through her career, she has contributed to fostering leadership and diversity.

The Loudest Duck, by Laura Liswood

I have chosen to talk to you about this book as inclusion is one of the themes I always advocated and campaigned for. The book is a sort of fable that explains why organizations of every size need to move beyond the old-style diversity efforts to embrace the richness and the advantages of inclusion.

We live in a world where meeting and working with people coming from different cultural, geographical, and personal differences is frequent, yet sometimes we still see that there are organizations where inclusion represents a challenge both for the employees and the managers.

Promoting inclusion and multicultural environments enriches both the companies and the teams. Each different culture brings new values, habits, and knowledge that create a stronger cohesive feeling when properly managed.

The book speaks of a Chinese children’s story about how “the loudest duck gets shot.”

In the Chinese narration the duck who is more visible gets a negative outcome, while in the American one, coming from the idiom “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, the outcome is definitely positive.

So, it is clear that different cultures teach different views, and those ideas then translate into different, specific ways of doing business, working, and even living.

Promoting a better awareness and understanding of everyone’s culture is extremely important, and tells a lot about where we come from, what we think, why we think it, and how that way of thinking has an impact on our personal and professional life.

The book is an essential tool to reduce the chance of misunderstanding in the office and in teams. It also gives valuable, knowledgeable, and effective suggestions on how to overcome the challenges of an heterogeneous workplace where everyone can feel included, appreciated, and purposeful.

One key point of the book is that meritocracy should be one essential element in determining the growth in a company, whatever the cultural, social, and geographical background of the employee or manager.

I definitely recommend this book as it represents a milestone in describing inclusion in a business environment in a clear, knowledgeable, and wise way.


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