Greatheart Consulting develops inclusive leaders for competitive and collaborative advantage.


The business case for global diversity and inclusion (D&I) is well established: D&I helps to open markets, increase sales, win and retain talent, fuel high-performing teams, build partnerships, innovate efficiently, and grow an inclusive culture and brand.

Diversity work has historically focused on programming in support of women and people from under-represented minority cultures. That is still necessary and useful, and we help it happen via our leadership development solutions. However, we are seeing that this work is only part of the solution. Increasingly it is becoming clear that it is essential to also engage people from normative groups in D&I solutions. Such engagement leads to ally development.

Business and social trends now push companies to optimize the results of diversity work by developing allies across every dimension of difference: men coming alongside women, white people building relationships of trust with colleagues and clients of color, etc.


This is disruptive inclusion at work: creating unexpected business opportunity with people dealing with disadvantage, by developing the savvy and accountability of people from majority cultures. Everyone is included.


Specifically, men—white and otherwise—are stepping up and learning to lead inclusively, at the very time their firms and their customers need them to do so.

Simply put, Greatheart equips all leaders to seize advantage via inclusive behavior, organizational practices, and business strategy.

When everyone is in, the company will win.

The 5 Stages of Transformation

Building Your Brand as an Inclusive Leader

Transformation is dramatic growth in an individual or an organization’s performance and character. The Five Stages define a process for cultivating inclusion as a source for transformative growth, to build your leadership brand – how others see you and to choose to work with you. Each Stage offers a new level of learning about how to lead with measurable influence and with dimensions of diversity in view. 

Defining the 5 Stages

As inclusive leaders, we progress through these Stages in order—we can’t skip one. Our learning curve is different for each dimension of diversity, and is influenced by our identity, experience, values, and role. Specific knowledge and skills align with each Stage. Here’s an introduction to the Five Stages in order.


Ignorance and naiveté operate freely here; “I don’t know what I don’t know.” In this phase, you are not yet aware of how diversity and inclusion can transform your leadership work. 


Interest and Necessity

Here’s where engagement kicks in. Your values and circumstances compel you to deploy awareness to counteract bias, to recognize and understand individual and cultural differences and similarities among colleagues and customers. In this Stage, you want to learn and you need to learn.  


Careful Skill Progress 

At this Stage, you experiment cautiously. Your expanding relationships, knowledge, and skills can get you into trouble, and can also get new things done. You evolve your leadership skills through a non-linear mix of awkward attempts and confident skill building


Adventurous Competence

This is the phase where your investment in leading inclusively starts to show real results. You effectively recognize inclusion opportunities at work, problem solve with sensitivity to diverse needs, and proactively manage multiple dimensions of diversity.

Relative Expertise

You are recognized by people in our sphere of influence as a source for information and help, as you mentor others through the previous Stages. Relative means you hold your expertise with humility; you lead across differences from your side, always remembering your limits so that you honor others’ experience and evoke their contribution. 

Formula Driven Growth

Within each of the 5 Stages, there is a natural order for learning. There’s a dynamism to this process, as we build relationships and achieve results by increasing knowledge and skill. The formula looks like this:



When you focus on inclusion with specific colleagues and customers (of diverse and shared identity), with trust and accountability

You are motivated to learn what you need to know, and…

Then you apply your knowledge to achieve results through your relationships.  


Here’s the Point

Your connection to real people drives your transformation. Knowing the 5 Stages process is a good start. And it’s not enough. Leading inclusively requires that you build your skills in actual relationships of trust (making and keeping promises over time) and accountability (tracking and rewarding kept promises, and fixing broken promises). When the people in your sphere of influence testify to your knowledge and skills, you build your brand as an inclusive leader.