How to Create Sustainable Change
U.S. companies alone spend $8 billion a year on diversity initiatives with lackluster results. Why lackluster? If the ultimate intent is to increase the percentage of women in leadership, then the numbers, moving at glacial speed, tend to speak for themselves.
The Gender Intelligence Group recently conducted a detailed study to assess the diversity programs that create a sustainable impact in advancing women into senior management. We gathered data from three technology companies, four financial services firms, and two accounting firms to determine what works and what does not work.
We first set out to understand the reasons the nine companies were focusing on gender. Why was it on their radar? In their order of importance, leaders in human resources, diversity and inclusion, and various heads in business units responded with this list of motivations. See how many of these ring true in your organization:
- A business imperative
- Problems recruiting women
- Problems advancing and retaining women at the senior level
- Higher turnover of women compared to men in mid-management
- Women at all levels scoring employee surveys lower than men at all levels
- Fierce competition for women’s talent
We then asked company leaders to define the organizational barriers they came up against in their attempts to advance women into positions of leadership:
- A male-dominated leadership culture
- Lack of understanding of the economic benefit of gender diversity
- Bias toward male characteristics in recruitment and traits of merit-worthy leadership
- Absence of role models for women leaders and for male leaders to witness women performing and succeeding in leadership positions
- Outmoded preconceptions and traditional mindsets about the strengths of women and their role in business
- A lack of mentoring and sponsorship of high-potential women
- Work-life flexibility programs that didn’t address the needs of women in senior leadership
When the leaders from the nine companies were asked what efforts they had taken to eliminate the barriers, the following eight programs were the most often mentioned. Four are presented here as those that are working well and moving that needle forward; and four others that have consistently failed to sustain any positive results and should either be modified to be successful or eliminated to free up resources.
To continuing reading you can find Results at the Top by Barabara Annis and Richard Nesbitt on Amazon.
Excerpted by permission of the publisher, Wiley from Results At The Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth by Barbara Annis and Richard Nesbitt. Copyright 2017 by Barbara Annis and Richard Nesbitt.
About the authors:
BARBARA ANNIS, CEO and Founder of Gender Intelligence Group (GIG), is a world-renowned expert on Inclusive Leadership through Gender & Cultural Intelligence, advocating the value and practice of this new type of leadership in Fortune 500 companies and numerous organizations worldwide. Her insights and achievements have pioneered a transformational shift in cultural attitudes across the globe on the importance of gender unity to organizational success.
Over the past 27 years, Annis and her 51 global associates have facilitated over 8,000 corporate workshops and conducted thousands of leadership assessments and executive coaching sessions. GIG has introduced breakthrough research on the practice and benefits of inclusive leadership and gender diversity, offering diagnostics, workshops, and coaching sessions both onsite and online. She is chair emeritus of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School and was recently conferred the International Alliance for Women, Lifetime Achievement Award. Annis has produced four transformational books including Gender Intelligence: Breakthrough Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Improving Your Bottom Line, co-authored with Dr. Keith Merron, and her newest book, Results at the Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth, co-authored with Richard Nesbitt, [Wiley; June 6, 2017].
President and CEO of Global Risk Institute, RICHARD NESBITT is also an Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto and chair of the Advisory Board of the Mind Brain Behavior Hive at the same University. Well known in the financial service industry, he serves on a number of community and corporate boards of directors and his experience includes Chief Operating Officer at CIBC and Chief Executive Officer at the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 2014, Nesbitt was awarded the Visionary Award by the organization Women in Capital Markets for work during his career on the issue of sponsoring gender-diverse management teams and boards in order to produce better companies. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service and the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto for his work with the school.