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Reviews of Putting Our Differences to Work


David Lee
Reader Review via
Putting Our Differences to Work is a must read for all professionals in the work place today. Debbe Kennedy offers invaluable insight in to the ever changing work environment, and emphasizes the importance of innovation to the success of an organization.

This book presents fresh ideas with diction that flows very naturally. At its core, it truly is a motivational book; but it also presents a personal challenge to its reader and provides step-by-step action items that can be directly and immediately applied to your current profession, regardless of position or industry.

For experienced professionals - how have you driven innovation in your company? How do you differentiate yourself from those that you lead? What defines you as a business professional?

For new professionals entering the workforce for the first time - how do you define your goals? What defines you as a future leader? How will you prepare for a work place that is full of different ideas, cultures, and beliefs?

As a young business professional myself, Putting Our Differences to Work has truly given me the ability to understand the inevitable relationships that exist between diversity, innovation, and leadership.

Understand diversity. Drive innovation. Lead the way!

I definitely recommend this book.

Todd Cherches
Big Blue Gumball Consulting - Reader Review via
In her beautifully-written and thought-provoking book, "Putting Our Differences to Work," Debbe Kennedy creatively and impactfully puts a human face on innovation. Drawing on her own personal experiences as an executive, Debbe creatively weaves together effective storytelling, a variety of useful models, and a collection of inspirational quotes to frame innovation not around technology, but around people.

Leaders at all levels and in all industries will gain a new awareness, and new insights, into how to leverage the diversity of their people and their teams to foster a culture of innovation within their organizations...and within themselves. And if Debbe's sole contributions were not enough, as an added bonus this book features additional insights on innovation from futurist, Joel Barker -- the writer of one of my all-time favorite business books: "Paradigms." So this book is definitely a must-read, a tremendous resource, and a valuable addition to any business library...

u of j iconDr. Wendy Luhabe

Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
South Africa
Learn more
“What an amazing contribution to the debate on innovation and where it comes from… simple and at the same time impossible to achieve. I have to tell you that I am exhilarated and tingling with excitement by your concept of Putting our differences to Work… I am blown away by what you have to say. The two stories that you have used to illustrate your point are simply phenomenal. I am totally and completely inspired in a way I have never been inspired by a book before. ... what a powerful, profound and compelling argument for DIVERSITY! You give so much HOPE for the future."

Other INTERNATIONAL Reader Reviews [PDF]
Xuan Feng, M.A. Master graduate, researcher and practitioner
Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Shanghai, China

Lee Say Keng, Founder, Owner & Principal Consultant
Optimum Performance Technologies

Integral Leadership ReviewIntegral Leadership Review
Volume IX, No. 3 June 2009
Differences, Diversity and Development:
A Review and Exploration

An Extended Review of Debbe Kennedy's
Putting our Differences to Work by Russ Volckmann

“Debbe Kennedy has produced a remarkable book, Putting Our Differences to Work, in which she provides a convincing case for the importance of differences at work for fostering innovation. She also offers a framework for engaging differences and putting them to work to foster changes in organizations (in all domains) that are essential in engaging effectively and developmentally with the turbulence of our time. ...This review shares some highlights of her work with you with a strong recommendation that this book is an important read for those stepping into leader roles in organizations today. Read full REVIEW text.

Business Book Review

Putting Our Differences to Work was selected from "the very top business books" for review
by Business Book Review in August, 2008:

"Putting differences to work – creating an environment where diverse individuals can work more effectively to drive innovation and performance – has unlimited potential benefits. Unfortunately, however, organizations often overlook these differences, failing to tap into the wealth of insight that could improve innovation and outcomes in a mutualistic process. In Putting Our Differences to Work, author Debbe Kennedy provides a practical guide that will facilitate putting differences to work within any organization. To this end, she introduces the Five Distinctive Qualities of Leadership and a six-step road map to guide the way."
-- Business Book Review (BBR)

Learn about 10-page book summary in PDF and mp3

Other editorial and reader reviews
Select a link to read a review:

  Vasundhar V. Boddapati Rich Brandt
  Michael Ray Frances Hesselbein
  Mike Wing John Renesch
  Emily J. Duncan Bruce Lloyd
  Lane A. Michel John Perkins
  Joel A. Barker Alex Pattakos, Ph.D.
  Christopher G. Kenny, J.D. Oguchi Nkwocha, M.D.
  Customer and Editorial Reviews Jeff Pasternak


"Debbe Kennedy has raised and resolved the Biggest challenge all the corporations are facing today. In Putting Our Differences to Work, she takes you through case studies that made a difference, and will make difference in your style of thinking by showing how your differences can bring synergy in what ever field you wish to succeed."

Vasundhar V. Boddapati
Systems Engineer, IBM India

“This book is a celebration. It's also a handbook for a revolution in leadership, relationship and creativity. It celebrates and gives guidance for a future that is happening now and is accelerating and touching, thank God, every part of life around the world. Debbe Kennedy has worked and lead at the heart of this revolution of turning the 'problem' of differences between people into the gold of creativity and innovation for organizations and the planet. She guides you with fascinating stories, poems, art, visuals, solid approaches and heuristics, and resources that will be relevant for years to come. She'll amaze you by the breadth of examples from a wide variety of walks of life, types of organizations and all corners of the globe. You'll experience in almost a visceral way the ultimate creative act of leading people with all their differences, quirks, needs, and journeys to breakthroughs in relationship, innovation and fulfillment. You'll see how technology, much of it done by Debbe in her Global Dialogue Center and working with her many clients, is changing the game of communicating, solving problems and creating opportunities. Finally, and most importantly in my mind, this is a beautiful book."

Michael Ray
Professor Emeritus, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
John G. McCoy-Banc One Professor of Creativity and
Innovation and of Marketing, Emeritus
author of Creativity in Business and The Highest Goal

“Rarely has there been a more relevant, more needed guidebook for leaders of the future than Putting Our Differences to Work. Debbe Kennedy has illuminated diversity, innovation, and leadership in a way that will help leaders across the sectors to redefine the future in our times of massive change.”

Frances Hesselbein, Chairman and Founding President
Leader to Leader Institute; Former CEO, Girl Scouts of America


"The dangers of ‘groupthink’ are painfully apparent across our world. That’s why diversity, broadly understood, is so essential to innovation and progress – as Debbe Kennedy reminds us in this pragmatic and wise guide for leaders."

Mike Wing
Vice President, Strategic Communications, IBM

“Debbe Kennedy flips the paradigm of differences on its ear. Instead of using our differences to divide us or as fodder for gossip and time-wasting judgments about others, she champions the practical advantages to employing our differences for good use. Excellence, creativity, wisdom and - dare I say it - magic become reliable deliverables!”

John Renesch, global futurist, author, Getting to the Better Future,
compiler/editor, Leadership in a New Era, compiler/co-editor, Learning Organizations

"The power of Debbe Kennedy's storytelling helps us all see our own accomplishments in a new light. At the same time, the stories encourage us to take our leadership to a new level. The six steps she offers provide a roadmap to leaders and organizations on how to effectively put differences to work."

Emily J. Duncan
former Vice President, Culture and Diversity, Hewlett Packard

Emily Duncan Consulting

"Personal, reflective, insightful and inspirational. Full of great ideas and a very powerful story that shows how we need to redefine leadership and diversity in order to help make the world a better place. Needs to be widely read – urgently!"

Dr. Bruce Lloyd
Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management
London South Bank University

Dr. Lloyd spent over 20 years in industry and finance before joining the academic world a decade ago to help establish the Management Centre at what is now London South Bank University. South Bank (since 1892) is one of London's largest universities known for preparing its 23000+ students to be skilled ready for the workforce.

“Leaders must find new sources of growth more than ever today. After questioning what leadership means while reading Putting Our Differences to Work, I found myself focused on one thing: I, the leader, must first harness our people’s rich and diverse experiences, cultures and perspectives to attract growth.” Debbe Kennedy compels us to see the source of unimagined growth that is locked within the people in our organization. Unlock, innovate and win… together.”

Lane A. Michel
Executive Vice President

Quaero Corporation
Accelerating Marketing Performance

"We know that to create a sustainable, peaceful, and socially just world, we must change our attitudes toward relationships and the ways we conduct business. Debbe Kennedy's Putting Our Differences to Work spells this out eloquently. It blazes a trail down the path to this new paradigm, offering us guidelines, solutions, and hope. A book for this amazing time of challenges and opportunities!"

John Perkins
NEW YORK TIMES bestseller author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
and The Secret History of the American Empire; and

"Debbe Kennedy has written a book that approaches innovation and leadership in a unique way. It focuses on the power of bringing differences together to create new products, services, and new levels of contribution. It is based on her work of the last fifteen years, and every idea has been tested and proven. In a world in which diversity is becoming more important every day, knowing how to use that diversity for innovation is a huge competitive advantage. That’s what Putting Our Differences to Work offers.

"What Debbe has done is create a series of easy-to-follow guidelines, instructions, and suggestions for your organization -- and every leader in it -- on how to utilize diversity to increase innovation. Every one of her ideas has been tested by her in multiple settings. She’s also included a special section referencing key studies, tools, and other resources for you to do your own explorations."

"What I like best about Putting Our Differences to Work is that Debbe teaches us how diversity accelerates innovation to everyone’s advantage. This is a win-win-win book in which you and your people win, your organization wins, and the world wins."

Excerpt from FOREWORD by Joel A. Barker
Futurist, filmmaker and bestselling author,
Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future

SPECIAL NOTE: Joel Barker also contributed Chapter 10: Innovation at the Verge of Differences, a partner to Chapter 11: Collaboration at the Verge of Differences. Together, these two chapters in Putting Our Differences to Work by Debbe Kennedy chronicle findings and lessons learned from the Barker-Kennedy mutualistic collaboration spanning over a decade.

"It has been said that diversity is the beginning of synergy. Yet creating synergy out of differences is much easier said than done. In Putting Our Differences to Work, Debbe Kennedy provides a conceptual framework and practical guide for leaders who are authentically committed to the value of diversity at work and to what diversity ultimately means, both individually and collectively, for their broadly-defined community of stakeholders. More than a treatise on participatory democracy (that is, the power of the people) in organizations, here's a book that seeks to harness the "collective wisdom," known as demosophia in Greek (that is, the wisdom of the people), in order to drive performance and innovation to new heights."

Alex Pattakos, Ph.D.
Founder, Center for Meaning and Principal, The Innovation Group
author, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles
for Discovering Deeper Meaning in Life and Work

"Debbe Kennedy is one of those rare business book writers who "gets it." She understands that the true value of a business book is the degree to which the book can actually be applied. Putting Our Differences to Work is valuable precisely because it can be applied by organizations of any size, starting TODAY."

"Debbe uses a clear, welcoming writing style to communicate real-life stories of change agents across the for-profit and non-profit spectrum who have employed the principles outlined in this book not only to transform their organizations, but literally to change the world for the better."

"The good news, as Debbe shows us, is that whether you are an owner, C-level executive, manager or "rank and file" employee, we ALL have the resources necessary to transform our own organizations. That's because "diversity" goes beyond the traditional notions of gender, ethnicity and cultural diversity to include the myriad of as-yet untapped skills and talents of our co-workers, suppliers and customers. And these diverse talents, skills and resources are available to every one of us, every day. Debbe shows you how to identify and harness the power of these resources to transform your organization (or at least your piece of it)."

"Read this book for the wealth of information it contains. More important, learn from this book and APPLY IT. Debbe shows you how. Follow her lead and you'll enjoy watching your organization - and the world - change for the better."

Christopher G. Kenny, J.D., President, Star Consulting Group

"'Siemens chief says its managers are too German, white and male" by Richard Milne in London, Financial Times, USA, Wednesday June 25 2008, p.1, col.3."

"The article above is a report ready-made for Putting Our Differences to Work, underscoring the pertinence of the subject matter of Debbe Kennedy's book: Siemens is not alone."

"However, this book goes beyond the trite '"Diversity" solution' parroted by many industrial leaders; in fact, in so many ways, it is not quite about diversity. Nor does the book apply to Industries and Businesses alone: from self-help / personal growth to family to management of Nations and States, there is use for, and value in, this book."

"And, do not expect the kind of pedantic presentation of material typically seen in Industrial and Business white papers, executive summaries, consulting reports and the sort. The story-telling style used for this type of material is entirely refreshing (especially coming from an author steeped, as it were, in the tradition of Business and Industry): it makes for easy reading and mass appeal."

"Often, one reads a book quite mindful of the title and generally oblivious of the subtitle: not this book. The title is married to the subtitle: keep this tight couple in mind in order to reap the most benefit from Putting Our Differences to Work...the fastest way to innovation, leadership, and high performance."

"If there's only one book to read this year, make it Putting Our Differences to Work. You will be richer for that. Of course, considering what its chief is quoted as saying as above, Siemens could sure use the book, and there is Siemens everywhere!

Oguchi Nkwocha, M.D.
Igbo visionary from Biafra/south-eastern Nigeria

"I find Debbe Kennedy's approach to diversity original (many books on diversity focus on the negative; this one approach is all positive), visionary (particularly linking inclusion to innovation & technology), inspiring (especially the stories & personal examples), and practical (I think the Putting Our Differences to Work Model is a profoundly simple and useful tool)."

Rich Brandt, Principal
author, Connecting with Others
RDR Group, Inc.

"With so much currently at stake economically in this world, Debbe Kennedy has written her own powerful and inspiring story that reflects on her last fifteen years as a corporate problem-solver. Putting Our Differences to Work clearly demonstrates step-by-step methods and proven guidelines for success. Anyone ready to rally behind this book shall discover individual and personal leadership. The reader, after completion of Putting Our Differences to Work, can only appreciate new opportunities in and out of the workplace. Debbe Kennedy’s accomplishment benefits us all."

Jeff Pasternak, Brave Heart, song writer and artist

Customer and Editorial Reviews

Debbe Kennedy's newest book, Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance (Berrett-Koehler, Hardcover, May 2008 - Pre-Order at is a compelling follow-on that takes Kennedy's earlier pioneering work to a new level, offering a practical guide for leaders at all levels.

The customer and editorial reviews below give you a glimpse into the quality and value of her pioneering work in 2000, Diversity Breakthrough! Strategic Action Series. (Berrett-Koehler 2000)

"Debbe Kennedy has given us multiple gifts -- first, the gift of her deep experience with diversity work, and second, her creative gifts of presenting these ideas in a way that makes them intriguing and compelling. We have a great need for her work, because until we learn to work together in all our awesome, disturbing, and intriguing diversity, we will not be able to create organizations that can dance through these turbulent days. Thank you Debbe!"

Margaret J. Wheatley
author, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time
and Leadership and the New Science
co-author, A Simpler Way

"Totally overwhelmed with the excellence of the materials. I think Diversity Breakthrough! is an enormous contribution."

Frances Hesselbein
Chairman of the Board of Governors
Leader to Leader Institute (formerly Peter F. Drucker Foundation)
author, Hesselbein on Leadership

"The topic of diversity has been an ongoing challenge to every element of modern society. Debbe Kennedy has taken on this challenge and produced, with her new book series, a process which, I think, does the best job of generating action and growth toward understanding diversity and utilizing its extraordinary advantages. Particularly important is the powerful and novel set of activities and exercises that draws in everyone and enables them to climb to a new plateau of understanding and commitment."

Joel A. Barker, futurist, filmmaker and author
Five Regions of the Future and
The Business of Paradigms

"Outstanding! In Diversity Breakthrough!, Debbe Kennedy performs a "triage" on the myriad of action management technologies and comes up with the bare essentials that are tried and true. The author reduces years of management experiences to simple common denominators that can be read and appreciated in a short time period.

"I had a sense all the way through the books that the author had been there, herself. This, more than any other one factor, influenced my acceptance of her methods. Her message: individuality, simplicity and diversity are virtues to be treasured because they lead to innovation."

Irving W. DeVoe, Ph.D.,
Chief Scientist and Vice-Chairman
MR3 Systems, Inc.

"Very impressive! Wonderful tools for individuals, teams and organizations. Really like the models and processes. Kennedy has a gift for getting to the heart of things and communicating insights in simple, yet powerful, ways. She has also been able to personalize the tools through stories, and through the meaningful quotations. So many tools are presented as dehumanized abstractions, but Debbe Kennedy's have color and flavor."

Terence Brake, Vice President
TMA-US/London/France and
author, The Global Leader

"Once in a great while, someone comes up with a truly unique approach to human relationships. Debbe Kennedy is that someone. Her approach to diversity is the most innovative, insightful, practical, helpful set of concepts and tools I've seen in a very long time. Diversity Breakthrough is destined to become a 'classic.'"

Barbara "BJ" Hateley
author, Yes Lives in the Land of NO: A Tale of Triumph Over Negativity
Co-Author, Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Tale of Diversity and Discovery

"I took a tour of Debbe Kennedy's new work one evening, and was immediately (the next day) able to utilize her tools with a client. And, I was a hero! Her package is superb and moves (even the most sophisticated) into deep dialogue. Debbe Kennedy has pulled together the best of the best. Her exercises, ideas, stories, and assessments will add significantly to any effort. She provides both insight and action for any practioner at any size company with the topic of diversity on their plate! A perfect set of interventions for the beginner or the skilled professional."

Bevery Kaye
President, Career Systems International, Inc. and
Beverly Kaye & Associates, Inc.
Co-Author, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay

"An easy read-not too daunting-compact in size and condensed information which doesn't allow the reader any excuse for procrastination. Encourages everyone to follow their dream and take 'Action' as the title suggests. Loved the quote from Mother Theresa...."Don't wait for leaders. Do it alone-person to person."

Catherine DeVrye
Sydney, Australia

"... provides a framework for understanding and planning responsible action for a fundamental yet emotionally charged topic. The books give real insights, examples and inspiration. Our valuing of each other is the secret to success. This series makes it easy for all to accept.

Leslie Yerkes
Cleveland, Ohio

"Our organization has been trying to become inclusive for some time. The stories in this book are inspiring and the ideas for measuring and celebrating helped me see "achievement" with a new perspective. Recommended!"

Kathleen B.
Los Angeles, CA




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