The Rady School Blog

  • 4 Ways Leaders can Foster Inclusion in Diverse Groups and Organizations

    October 28, 2014
    by Bernardo M. Ferdman

    You may very well already understand how diversity is important and useful to your work groups and to your organization. After all, research indicates that we can derive many benefits from social diversity, including more creativity, more diligence, and harder work, among others. But how can you actually make this happen? How can we truly put diversity to work on our collective behalf, in ways that are productive, healthy, and empowering? These are often the questions that leaders find challenging.

    The key to deriving benefits from diversity is the practice of inclusion. At its core is the experience of inclusion, which requires people to feel safe, trusted, respected, and supported; to believe that they can work with others and contribute without having to hide or give up important aspects of who they are; to be proud of their identities and particular strengths and able to bring them to work in ways that lead to growth and productivity; and to see that others who are similar to them are also valued and engaged. The experience of inclusion is fostered by inclusive behavior, together with inclusive policies and practices in our workgroups and organizations.

    Figure 1. Inclusion is a Systemic and Dynamic Process. (Note. Adapted from “The Practice of Inclusion in Diverse Organizations,” p. 15, by Bernardo M. Ferdman, in Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion, B. M. Ferdman & B. R. Deane, eds., 2014, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass)

    What can you do, as a leader, to increase experiences of inclusion in your organization and its work groups? Leaders have a special role to play in fostering inclusion. Leaders make sense of organizational-level values and processes and help to translate them into everyday behavior. And they also take everyday behavior and experiences and give them meaning and visibility in the larger context of the organization. So leaders can take what people do to include each other and support these behaviors in a way that makes them both more likely and more meaningful in the organization.

    These are a few key ways to make this happen:

    1. Talk about inclusion, diversity, and their benefits.  As a leader, you need to explain how diversity matters in your particular group or organization. What benefits might it bring to the members, if everyone were to behave more inclusively and begin to experience more inclusion, across multiple differences, including those based on culture, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical ability, and many others? What might inclusion look like in your group or organization? What do the members believe they need to help them experience more inclusion? What can they do to foster more inclusion for others?
    2. Be curious about and appreciate difference; encourage its expression. You are more likely to foster inclusion when you help create a climate in which differences are explored and valued. Encourage the expression of differences in constructive ways. Even when it is uncomfortable, help your group to process its differences and avoid shying away from difficult conversations, including those that might touch on topics related to race, culture, gender, and other typically hard-to-discuss issues. But do this in a way that is mutually supportive and encourages learning. Build your own skill for dialogue, and help others build theirs.
    3. Support others in being themselves and not have to hide valued identities (and model this yourself). Be as authentic as you can, in a way that empowers others to do the same. Note and highlight strengths in others, and hold everyone to appropriately high standards, while encouraging collaboration and mutual support.
    4. Help create inclusive policies and practices, and apply them fairly and consistently. Do your part to create an inclusive climate and inclusive norms for your groups and for the organization as a whole. Speak up when necessary to prevent exclusion, and create positive and ongoing ways for inclusive behavior to become the norm.

    Inclusion requires attention, intention, effort, and ongoing learning - individually and collectively. Leaders have a critical role in making this happen, and therefore in making sure that diversity achieves its promise.


    For more details on inclusion, see my recent book, Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion, which I edited with Barbara Deane and which includes 23 chapters by 34 authors from over 10 countries. For more information about me, see

  • Kill the Cup, Oktoberfest, and Fantasy Football

    October 21, 2014
    by Drew Beal

    Hey there! I’m Drew Beal, a Full-Time MBA 2013 alum. I’m one of those guys that stuck around San Diego after graduation, working on his Lab to Market project. In fact, I’m writing to you from a co-working club in University Heights, 3rdspace, where I spend most of my days...
  • Looking Back at the 6th Annual Rady Golf Classic

    October 14, 2014
    by Ashley Dittmar

    The 6th Annual Rady Golf Classic, on October 6, 2014, was a success due to our many sponsors, participants, volunteers and the La Jolla Country Club. Thank you to everyone who made this day fun and memorable.
  • 3 Ways to Build More Self-Sufficient Employees

    October 7, 2014
    by Joanie Connell

    One of the complaints I’ve been hearing from leaders lately is that they have to spend so much time managing their employees that they don’t have enough time to get the rest of their work done. This is particularly true for Millennial employees who tend to want more direction and feedback than other generations of employees. Leaders, here are three simple ways to develop your employees...
  • Day at the Movies Inspires Business Incubator for Women

    September 30, 2014
    by Maria Contreras-Sweet

    Four years ago, after a marathon grant-writing session at University of California at San Diego, scientists Lada Rasochova and Rosibel Ochoa decided they needed a break and went to the movies. Playing at their local theater was...
  • Here's to the Next 10 Years!

    September 18, 2014
    by Dean Sullivan

    The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at Rady! It thrives through our StartR Accelerator Program, which will graduate its second class...
  • This is Pablo, Signing Off

    September 11, 2014
    by Pablo Valdivia

    It’s been nearly a year since my first Rady blog post reflecting on my first month as an intern, and I am sad to say this will be my last.
  • Getting Real about Leadership

    September 9, 2014
    by Bill Treasurer

    There are some differences between the leadership theories and ideals that you learn in college or graduate school and the actual practice of leading in the workplace.
  • You’ve Got Mail: 10 Tips to Conquer Emails

    September 2, 2014
    by Pablo Valdivia

    According to the McKinsey Global Institute, we spend an average of 13 hours—28 percent of our workweek—reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails. As cumbersome as it may seem, emailing is a necessary evil in the professional world...
  • Please Follow the Highlighted Route

    August 26, 2014
    by Pete Major

    Please Follow the Highlighted Route
  • Bay Area or Bust!

    August 21, 2014
    by Keri Robbins

    Bay Area or Bust!
  • Lumena Pharmaceuticals: A Rady Success Story

    July 17, 2014
    by Niall O’Donnell

    Lumena Pharmaceuticals: A Rady Success Story
  • Startup Summer

    July 15, 2014
    by Kristine Page

    Startup Summer
  • How to Build a New Career Through Networking

    July 10, 2014
    by Aimee Lim

    How to Build a New Career Through Networking
  • Summer in San Diego

    July 3, 2014
    by Elia Hu

    Summer in San Diego
  • How Rady is Going to Match Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley (MIT, We Love You, Too)

    June 26, 2014
    by Joey Hinson

    How Rady is Going to Match Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley (MIT, We Love You, Too)
  • Lab to Market

    June 24, 2014
    by Amanda Edelson

    Lab to Market
  • Go Green, Go Rady

    June 5, 2014
    by Chen Chen

    Go Green, Go Rady
  • Growing Up Rady

    June 3, 2014
    by Lisette Acevedo

    Thank you for making my daughter part of the Rady Community
  • Why Doctors Should Go to Business School

    May 29, 2014
    by Marci Bothwell

    Medicine Might Leave Us Behind