From Intention to Impact
A Practical Guide to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
192 pp., 6 x 9 in, 3 b&w illus.
- Published: February 6, 2024
- Publisher: The MIT Press
How business leaders can move their DEI efforts from intention to impact through strategy and culture change.
In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, corporate America has doubled down on its public intentions to be more inclusive and equitable. Yet beyond the pledges it is difficult to see which system changes make a real difference. In From Intention to Impact, Malia Lazu draws on her background as a community organizer, her corporate career as a bank president, and now her experience as a leading DEI consultant to explain what has been holding organizations back and what they need to do better. First and foremost, she recognizes that truly moving from intention to impact means targeting and changing the traditions and culture that normalize whiteness.
From Intention to Impact shows what organizations, leaders, and people at all levels must do to create more inclusive environments that honor and value diversity. Lazu shares a seven-stage guide through this process as well as a 3L model of listening, learning, and loving that readers can use from the initial excitement of doing “something” to the frustration when the inevitable pushback comes, and finally to the determination to do the hard work despite the challenges—on corporate and political fronts. Most compelling, From Intention to Impact shows that, while commitment from the top is paramount, for DEI to be most effective, it needs to be decentralized—among managers, within teams, and across the organization.
A crucial read for anyone looking to future-proof their company, From Intention to Impact goes beyond the “feel good” PR-centric actions to showcase the real DEI work that must be done to create true and lasting systemic change.
“Malia is an inspirational speaker and a wonderful prose writer who knows the difference between performative action and business performance. From Intention to Impact is destined to be an important guide to what might be the most pressing conversation of our time.”
Louis D. Maiuri, President & Head of Investment Services, State Street Corporation
“At a time when our history is being erased and rewritten by those who will not take accountability, Lazu brings us a personal journey that is a true legacy of the civil rights movement—showing us how to reclaim our story and move forward.”
Gina Belafonte, Executive Director, Sankofa.org
“Malia Lazu pulls no punches in From Intention to Impact. Her book is the in-your-face, tough-love roadmap that every leader looking for evidence-based solutions to building just workplaces has been waiting for. Anyone starting or growing businesses without this as their guide is likely going to find themselves lost or irrelevant.”
Nathalie Molina Niño, Cofounder and Chief Security Officer, Known
“A must-read, this DEI primer for business leaders taps into Malia's know-how and experience that utilizes an inclusive and sustainable economic well-being strategy resulting in competitive advantage for American enterprise.”
John E. Colón, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College (CUNY); DEIJ Consultant, VISIONS Inc.
“Malia Lazu has not only provided an in-depth understanding of why diversity, equity, and inclusion is a vitally important focus but has gone deeper into how it can best be implemented to achieve considerable value.”
Stanley S. Litow, Professor, Columbia University; Trustee, State University of New York
“Leaders from small to large organizations will benefit from Lazu's experience-based strategic and tactical insights into how to make real change that creates a more profitable and just country for all.”
Chris Oddleifson, Former CEO, Independent Bank Corp/Rockland Trust Company
“Malia Lazu has been a transformative figure in community organizing, minority business development, and DEI work for over twenty years. She is insightful, smart, and determined, and you see in this book how those attributes have led to many groundbreaking successes. She is also a master connector, which we all need today as attacks on MWBE businesses increase.”
Baye Adofo-Wilson, JV-Developer, Co-Owner of Hinchliffe Stadium