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Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Customer Experience

How to Become an Advocate for Change within Your Organization

Shep Hyken interviews Lenora Billings-Harris, an award-winning authority as a diversity strategist, researcher and author. They discuss race and racism within the workplace, and how leaders and employees alike can dismantle biases within their organizations.

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Top Takeaways:

  • Many people assume (wrongly) that diversity is about equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, which are actually government regulations. Diversity is about who’s on your team.
  • All metrics prove that if diversity and inclusion are part of your company, you will outperform your competitors.
  • Diversity of thought on your team helps you become more innovative, make more money and ultimately succeed.
  • You must ensure that your corporate culture is both diverse and inclusive.
  • It’s important to remember that for many questions and issues related to diversity and inclusion, there is no one absolute right answer.
  • It’s one thing to have good intentions. However, people cannot read each other’s minds to determine intention; we can only measure the impact our words and actions have.
  • Racism shows up in the workplace and has a huge impact on both the employee and customer experiences. It is five times harder for Black people to get their foot in the door as it is for white people. It comes down to unconscious bias and microaggressions.
  • There is a difference between an ally and an advocate. Allies will speak up in the moment if they see something happen. Advocates do this and more; they intentionally disrupt bias and seek multiple ways of breaking down barriers.
  • In order to enact change within an organization, leaders must become advocates for diversity and inclusion. They must do their personal work to overcome bias (conscious and unconscious) first, then actively advocate for the people in their organizations.
  • Don’t remain silent. Speak up and take action, even (especially) if you make mistakes along the way. If you want to help, become an advocate.


“Diversity of thought allows you to be more innovative and make more money. All the business metrics say that if you have diversity and inclusion in your company, you’ll do better than your competitors.”

“The next step after diversity is inclusion. If you have diversity without a culture that includes people who are different, then you’re still going to make the same mistakes.”

“We’re all imperfect and we’re going to make mistakes. The point is to not wait until you’re perfect, because that’s not going to happen. Lean into the discomfort. If you’re coming from a place of good intention, people will understand even when you mess up.”


Lenora Billings-Harris is an award-winning author, thought leader and international speaker in the areas of inclusion, diversity and unconscious bias. She is a Certified Professional Speaker (CSP) and a Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE) Speaker Hall of Fame inductee.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is diversity and inclusion?
  2. How does racism affect the customer and employee experience?
  3. How can I become an ally and an advocate within my company?
  4. What actions can leaders take to become better advocates and build respect and inclusivity in the workplace?
  5. How can I incorporate diversity and inclusion into my company culture?

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