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ProversityTM. Getting Past Face Value and Finding the Soul of People—A Manager's Journey

  • ID: 2241105
  • Book
  • January 1997
  • 196 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
"Lawrence Otis Graham is totally original and always deft." —The Washington Post

"A most timely book for managers and employees alike. Proversity affirms the U.S. motto 'E Pluribus Unum' — Out of Many, One." —Loida Nicolas Lewis Chairman and CEO TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc.

"Graham's deep understanding of how to make companies diversity-friendly can help America replace recurring racial and gender tensions with a positive spirit of inclusion." —Rosabeth Moss Kanter Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of World Class: Thriving Locally in the Global Economy

"The human resource management field is searching for a new direction to take diversity programs. Look no longer. Proversity is a giant leap forward in helping organizations embrace the most important asset of all —people."—Michael R. Losey SPHR, President and CEO Society for Human Resource Management

Proversity oun 1. progressive diversity: the product of bringing together individuals who appear different, but who have many common characteristics. 2. a more advanced and progressive form of diversity planning. 3. a description of individuals who look different on the exterior, but are actually quite similar. 4. the condition of having similar characteristics on a deep level in spite of existing surface characteristics that look different.

Have you ever quickly judged people at face value before really getting to know them? Does that make you racist or sexist? Have you ever been startled by a biased thought that's passed through your head? You are not alone.

Nearly three-fourths of the nation's largest firms have diversity programs. But almost every day, the newspapers unearth shocking new allegations involving bias in the corporate world. Diversity-training seminars are increasingly being derided as window-dressing. Hiring and promotion quotas are under growing attack as unfair and counterproductive. When it comes to achieving true diversity in the workplace, Corporate America still has a long way to go.

Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, Lawrence Otis Graham is one of our most credible authorities on how bias in the workplace hinders productivity and what managers can do about it.

Now, in ProversityTM, Graham offers a new approach for transforming diversity, affirmative action, and multiculturalism in the workplace from a hindrance into a powerful competitive advantage. "Proversity" is Graham's new term for progressive diversity. While diversity focuses on what makes us different—be it race, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion —Proversity does just the opposite: it looks for the things we all have in common.

Written in the form of a business novel, Proversity chronicles the education and enlightenment of Percy McGee, an average manager in an average company, as he overcomes his bias and learns to see beyond people's differences in order to recognize their strengths. As you observe Percy's interactions with various coworkers, you are given a revealing glimpse into the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) ways in which bias works to undermine teamwork and productivity. Proversity presents characters who embody the different forms of bias, ranging from overt bigotry (Active Bias) to self-deceptive bias (Passive Bias).

By starting to recognize and eliminate his own Passive Bias, Percy McGee learns how to effectively follow the Four Steps to Becoming a Progressive Manager. Throughout the course of the story, Graham explains how to discover and apply the power of "Proversity" to everyday and long-term work situations. Along the way, Graham introduces his original, proven progressive management tools and concepts, including a checklist to help you recognize bias in yourself and others, and A Progressive Manager's 12 Commandments.

Proversity is an enlightening, entertaining, thought-provoking, and extremely practical look at one of the most complex management problems facing the corporate world today.
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Those Were the Days.

"Regular People" vs.

"Different People." The Incident.

The Three Faces of Bias.

How to Kill a Company.

"MY NAME IS PERCY AND I AM A PASSIVE BIGOT." "Is That What I Sound Like?" A Meeting of the Minds.

The Face Value of Diversity.

Hostile Territory.


Hard Lessons.

The Soul of Proversity.

The Proversity Awareness GameTM.

A Progressive Manager's 12 Commandments.

Meeting Others Halfway.

Big Brother—Big Sister.

A Universe of Contacts.

The Enlightenment.


About the Author.
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LAWRENCE OTIS GRAHAM is a nationally known business author of eleven other books, including Member of the Club and The Best Companies for Minorities. He is also President of Progressive Management Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that has advised companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies on progressive strategies for managing a changing workplace. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Graham is on the faculty of Fordham University where he teaches the course "Minorities and Women in Corporate America." He is a frequent TV commentator on workplace issues on CNN, CNBC, The Today Show, and Politically Incorrect.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown