Stepping Up - Preface & Contents



Stepping Up is for leaders in business and society who are looking to increase productivity and achieve growth in the Asian Century. By building greater diversity in society and the workplace we can unlock productivity potential that is lying dormant.

Allowing both genders and people of all cultures who live in Australia to fully participate in the workplace will enable us to increase social cohesion, stimulate innovation, boost productivity, raise income levels and thereby improve individual net worth and GDP.

Realising full participation requires that everyone has the same opportunity to be appointed to positions that reflect their skills and experience, reach the level that reflects their performance and capability and be free to climb up the ladder unencumbered without bumping their heads on the glass or bamboo ceilings.

Stepping Up presents economic and social arguments for greater diversity and how the culture changes needed to achieve it are the same changes that would help to boost the growth of our industries and communities. Australia’s future  and  the  future  prosperity  of  its  people  is  reliant  upon  us  keeping our nation at the forefront of Western nations and taking advantage of our proximity to, and engagement with, the fastest-growing region of the world.

Stepping Up challenges and empowers leaders to drive culture change to achieve gender and cultural diversity and enable growth. It questions our success at assimilating immigrants and supporting them to build productive careers, at welcoming home expatriates who have been away to gain valuable international experience, and at creating equitable working environments where females can develop and ascend the organisation on merit in the same way as men.

The facts are that relative to many of our global trading partners Australia is challenged by much of this. Australia needs its political leaders and leaders of business and society to collaborate, create a shared vision that will inspire the people of Australia to follow and lead us in culture change to join the more progressive societies of the world.

In this book we look at how greater diversity in society and the workplace requires culture change in the groups we belong to that shape our attitudes and behaviours. We take an in-depth look at three main cultures – country culture, organisation culture and your own culture. We also take a brief look at other cultures that impact us at home and at work such as sports clubs, communities, associations, chambers, universities, schools and places of worship.

This book raises awareness of opportunities and possibilities; provides insight into current issues through the voices of 100 leaders interviewed from across Australia and Asia; and presents readers with culture-change solutions to shift attitudes and adjust behaviours that limit our performance. The voices of the 100 leaders interviewed reflect strong consensus on many key issues and confirm the call for action. At the same time there is some disagreement amongst the leaders, which highlights the disparate nature of our society.

The scope of Stepping Up is broad, from leading cultural change to increasing national diversity and advancing Australia’s productivity and growth in Asia. It includes discussion about things that impact these ambitions, such as the Australian culture and its values, skills shortages, gender roles and education, women on boards and quotas, multiculturalism and immigrant integration. It also discusses where we should look for leadership on diversity and the pluses and minuses of being an island nation.

Stepping Up provides readers with inspiration, knowledge and motivation to lead change in their community, company, club or clan to help make Australia a more diverse, highly productive and regionally connected country. The potential is enormous.

If you would like to be part of the nationwide community of people who are leading the way to our future, please share your thoughts, initiatives and change projects on this website. I would also welcome your feedback on the ideas and opinions presented in this book.

                                           "The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and
                                                           the responsibility that we all had.
                                       It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."

                                       John Lennon, (1940-1980) English musician and singer-songwriter with The Beatles


Part One: The Power of Diversity

Chapter 1 – Taking the Mantle                          
Leaders, step forward please    
Economic and social gains    
It’s time for change
Acceptance and inclusion boosts participation    
Full participation boosts productivity    
Clarifying ‘full participation’    
Culture: A blocker or enabler?    
The Culture Iceberg    
The Culture Circuit    
Leadership and followship    
100 leaders contribute    
Approach to reading Stepping Up    
A rich collection of views    
Navigate your way    

Chapter 2 – Listening        
100 leaders share their stories    
Key research themes    
Can Australia grow through Asia?    
Impact of Australia’s culture on growth
Cultural diversity and the opportunities    
Gender diversity and the opportunities    
Future development of Australian society    
Where to from here?    
Chapter 3 – Discovering Diversity    

Leaving home    
Experiencing a new culture in Asia    
Total immersion in Asia    
At work in cross-cultural Europe    
Contrasting cultures across the globe
Returning ‘home’ to Australia
An ‘immigrant’s’ view    
It’s time to help with diversity    
The journey ahead    

Part Two: The Issues Impacting Growth

Chapter 4 – The Asian Opportunity  
Asking 100 leaders about Asia    
Opportunities for business in Asia    
Australians abroad in Asia    
Asian languages and culture    
Shaping up for success    
Australia, a world view    
Asian people in Australia
2012, a year of bold plans    
Key messages about Asia    
No doubt: we need to act now    

Chapter 5 – The Australian Opportunity 
Australia’s customs and traditions    
Without direction cultures can drift    
Exploring Australian culture    
What’s fabulous about Australian culture?    
What‘s not so fabulous?    
What are Australia’s core values?    
What attitudes do people hold?    
What do our behaviours convey?
What cultural challenges need addressing?    
Key messages about Australian culture    
Chapter 6 – Cultural Diversity    
First in, first served    
Some sectors, certain conditions    
Language-learning chronically undervalued    
Break through behavioural barriers    
Cultural diversity in Australia    
Integration or ‘embracing difference’?    
Two encouraging personal stories    
Key messages about cultural diversity    

Chapter 7 – Gender Equality    

Hope is not a method    
Australia’s relative position on gender    
More women, better performance    
100 leaders’ gender perspectives
What do you think about women on boards?
What do you think about having quotas?    
How well are women supporting gender equality?    
What about gender roles, mentoring and education?    
What does gender bias look like?    
What issues do we need to address?    
What opportunities are there to consider?    
What strategies have you employed?    
What advice do you have for others?    
Three stories: discrimination, sexual advances and bullying    
Key messages about gender diversity from 100 leaders    
Why so little change?    
Let’s rethink gender roles and games    
Quicken the pace with mixed-gender teams    
The elephant in the room    
Need for cultural change    
Beyond delusions and myths are courage and pride    

Part Three: Changing Cultures

Chapter 8 – How Cultures Operate    
Defining culture    
Elusive culture    
Changing culture is the ‘hard stuff ’    
The Culture Iceberg    
Language in culture    
Culture blind spots    
The Culture Circuit    
Culture Zones    
How to unlearn behaviours    
Sustaining change: Making diversity stick    

Chapter 9 – Redirecting your Country Culture  
Country culture dominates    
Strong characters can impact country cultures    
Norway shifts assumptions    
How country cultures form and operate    
Challenging elements of Australian culture    
Outside influences on performance    
How do we evolve Australia’s country culture?    
How can you contribute to change?    

Chapter 10 – Redirecting your Individual Culture    
Influences on your own culture    
Proving assumptions wrong    
Identifying assumptions    
How you can shift assumptions    
Being open to changing assumptions    
Three men adjust their Icebergs    
Be the leader that will honour you    
Chapter 11 – Organisation Culture    
Leaders deliver gender diversity    
Evolved cultures foster women-in-operations    
Woolworths: Sponsoring women to grow business    
McDonald’s: No barriers, no limits    
Ernst & Young: A conscious redirection    
Professional service firms’ cultures    
Organisations and the Culture Iceberg    
Organisation Culture: Contrasting your culture with another    

Part Four: Leaders and Society

Chapter 12 – Who should lead?    
Many good ideas    
Who should lead on diversity in society?    
Who should lead on diversity in business?    
Who should follow?    
Is Australia ready for change?    
Leading culture change    
Australia in the Asian Century    


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