Posts Tagged "women on boards"

on Mar 8, 2015 in Blog

  A tough job that needs both women and men If you’re the kind of person who wakes up in the morning feeling like a heroic leader, ready to jump into their super(wo)man suit and save the world, then this article probably isn’t for you. But it should be. Because the working world is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA), and no hero can do it alone any more. Organisations are facing unknown monsters and are embarking on great quests with unknowable ends. With so much going on, the job of leadership is simply too tough for individual heroes. Instead we need a more multi-facetted view of leadership in a VUCA world. We need leadership that goes up and down and across organisations, leadership that spans and connects organisations. In a changing world, we need leaders across organisations who can tune into what’s going on, who notice and share what they notice, who can connect with others to make sense, and who can respond in different ways. In a changing world, we need leaders who bring different perspectives and who think differently. While social diversity doesn’t necessarily mean thought diversity, it’s probably a pretty good place to start. Engaging leadership means more leadership, and more diverse leaders. It’s a tough job. And it’s one that needs both women and men. 8th March is International Women’s Day and the rallying cry for 2015 is #MakeItHappen. The question I’m asking is; how do we make an engaging leadership culture happen? A culture where both women and men can flourish as leaders? To develop engaging leadership in organisations, we need more people who see themselves as leaders, who recognise that the qualities they bring that are so valuable in a VUCA world. And we need more people who recognise those leadership qualities in others. To achieve that, here’s what we need to do: ditch the old stereotypes of heroic leaders be far more ambitious about gender diversity in leadership. Ditch the old stereotypes The old might and fight stereotypes of heroic leaders and their younger cousin, the ‘rockstar CEO’, are out of step with the leadership required in a VUCA world. And because these stereotypes tend to value a small...

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on Jan 23, 2014 in Blog

Recently I’ve found myself reflecting on gender diversity in business. What kicked it off was a report by Cranfield School of Management entitled Women on Boards. The headline shouted: ‘Cranfield report reveals 25% target is in sight’. A few days ago, the FT announced: ‘Proportion of women on FTSE 100 boards tops 20%’. Shortly after, we heard that the London Stock Exchange (one of the last remaining FTSE 100 companies with only male directors) had just appointed two women as non-executive directors, that the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, had claimed that Britain is ‘on the home stretch’ towards improving boardroom diversity. The gist of these stories is that progress is being made towards the target set by Lord Davies in 2011; that is to increase female board membership of FTSE 100 companies to 25% by 2015. It’s good news right? Oh, but so uninspiring… I’ve never had particularly strong views on gender diversity. Perhaps because I always thought we were aiming for a rough 50:50 split of men and women at the top of organisations, weren’t we? WEREN’T WE?? Is the best we can imagine really just a minority of women on boards? (This is not a quota, remember, 25% of women on boards is a target – something to aim for). And are we happy with that? C’mon, it’s 2014. And I’m uninspired. I sense a similar lack of enthusiasm from Lynda Gratton, who comments in her Future of Work blog: “Despite all our hopes to see more women at the top of leading organisations, the speed of change has been glacial”. And on Twitter today @duncanbhr and @MorgenWitzel seem similarly underwhelmed with progress towards gender parity in the business world. But, if we’re making progress (there were only 12.5% of women on FTSE 100 boards in 2011, and now there’s 20%), then what’s the problem? For me, there are two problems with targets that accept a lack of gender parity on Boards. The first problem relates to the societal case for diversity. Simply put, the societal problem is that ‘for society to thrive, women must thrive’. Yet, targets that accept a minority of women on boards (albeit a growing one) mean that we probably don’t have to challenge...

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