Take Steps to Crack the Glass Ceiling

Take Steps to Crack the Glass Ceiling

We still have some way to go before we can honestly claim to have shattered the glass ceiling. That invisible barrier between minorities and women that prevents access to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder still requires our attention and action. The Economist’s glass ceiling index for 2015 reveals that the United States ranks below the OECD average, behind Germany and Australia and well behind countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden which rank highest. The Glass Ceiling Index combines data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs. It draws on data from a range of sources including the OECD, European Commission, World Economic Forum and others. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on nine indicators. The interactive version of this chart allows you to see how the weightings can modify the results, showing how that a focus on specific factors can transform a whole country’s performance. You can hover over each country to delve into the figures for each country – and when we do this for the US, the data is revealing – especially when we contrast it with some of the other countries in the list. Let’s extract the data for a few countries: USA Canada Britain Finland Higher ed gap 5.0 11.3 2.2 12.9 Participation gap -11.5 -7.0 -11.4 -2.5 Wage gap 17.9 19 17.5 18.7 Exec positions 42.7 36.0 34.3 32.0 Board roles 21.2 18.3 22.6 32.1 Childcare cost 35.1 29.3 45.7 22.5 Paid maternity 0.0 8.0 11.7 14.1 GMAT exams 38.3 38.5 27.4 53.6  Women in parliament 19.3 25.2...
New Horizons

New Horizons

This week I start in a new role as Chief Product Officer, leading global product and commercialization strategy for NTT Innovation Institute (NTT i3). NTT i3 is the Silicon Valley-based open innovation and applied research and development center of NTT Group. I will lead the development and commercialization of NTT i3‘s groundbreaking platforms and solutions aimed at today’s Digital Businesses. You can read the full press release here. This is an incredibly exciting time to be stepping into this kind of role – one I see more and more leading businesses creating. We are living in a time where our lives are increasingly connected – not just in terms of people and devices, but also “things”. We used to think of these as trends, like the “internet of things” or “social networking”. But the truth is, they are now our realities. The technology that we use consciously or unconsciously shapes the way we live, not just how we live. It is this that excites me. As Srini Koushik, President and CEO at NTT i3 says: Like all major drivers for change, the interplay between technology and the evolution of human experience is complex. Just as the first human societies were shaped by their use of tools—the technology that we are inventing now is re-inventing us. This new role will be a challenging and exciting one. It will require invention and re-invention. Leadership and innovation. And I look forward to sharing my insights with you...
Is the Digital Age Over and, If So, What “Age” are We in Now?

Is the Digital Age Over and, If So, What “Age” are We in Now?

View image | gettyimages.com In speaking with colleagues recently, the question came up as to whether or not we are now post the Digital Age and, if we are, what would we call this next wave? Some robust discussion and debate followed. One perspective is that we haven’t even scratched the surface of the Digital Age. With the Internet of Things (IOT), advancements in mobile still unrealized, eye-sensor technology that merchants now can place on shelves to assess how long a consumer is looking at product, the virtual dressing room, wearable and gesture-based technologies that are coming of age, it could appear that we still have a long way to go before calling an end to the Digital Age and the dawn of the next age. To me, the personal computer followed by the internet ushered in the “Information Age.” For the past 2 decades or so, we’ve seen amazing advancements based upon these technologies. But, today, we see that computers and the internet are more or less making improvements on the fringe within these two areas (i.e. faster computers, more memory, etc. and faster, more broadly accessible internet). The real exciting stuff, in my opinion, is the interpretation of all of the data and information being generated by computers, mobile devices, wearable technology, beacons/sensors, etc. If we are moving beyond the Digital Age, and I am not suggesting that we definitively are, then perhaps what we are moving into is the era of the Age of Insights. And, in short, it is all about the data! One can argue, for example, that companies like Nike, divesting themselves out...
Are You CEO Ready? Start with a Principle not an Idea

Are You CEO Ready? Start with a Principle not an Idea

Each year Inc. carries out research with some of the nation’s top private company CEOs focusing on the areas of business launch, growth and innovation. It provides a fascinating snapshot into the lives of the people behind these fast-growth companies. And for aspiring leaders, it reveals just how hard, and how much hard work, being a CEO can be. Be sure to take some time to read through all areas of the report. The sections on social media use, focus in innovation and leadership potential provide plenty of food for thought. But I’d like to focus on the first section – what does that first year as a CEO look like? What works and what doesn’t. And importantly, what can we learn to help make our own businesses better. Based on this research, 33% of CEOs felt that entrepreneurship suited their skills and capabilities. Another 11% wanted to be their own boss and 10% wanted financial success. Think about this for a moment. Only 18% of CEOs were motivated by an idea. This flies in the face of what we hear about entrepreneurial culture or the cult of the startup and has some salient lessons for leaders. In fact, I am pleased to see that the vast majority of CEOs in the survey are motivated by other factors – especially internal, motivating forces. For when we are faced with the hard choices that leadership requires, ideas seem less important, while solid, internal principles and goals can help see us through. What do some of the other statistics reveal? Leadership is collaborative: Forty-seven percent launched or run their business as...
Five X-Factors that Mark Out a Leader

Five X-Factors that Mark Out a Leader

When we think about leadership, we are often conceptualizing it in terms of the very top level of leadership – the CEOs, directors and other senior executives. But in my experience, leadership can be found at every level of a business – in fact, it should be. For without a culture of leadership, organizations suffer under their own weight, perform poorly and lose connection with their customers, stakeholders and employees. But what do these leaders look like? I tend to agree with the breakdown from this infographic by the Harvard Business School. They identify five “X-Factors” that mark a leader out for the C-suite – passionate curiosity, battle-hardened confidence, team smarts, simple mindset and fearlessness. Allow me to expand these from my own point of view (and I’d encourage you to reframe these from your own experiences as well): Passionate curiosity: The leader must not only show an interest, but also have the drive to follow that interest. Where will this lead you? Perhaps into conflict with your current boss – or up the corporate ladder. But many of us lose our curiosity and our passion as we grow older. This cannot be allowed to happen to you – for the challenge of the leader is to cultivate their curiosity in all circumstances and situations. Battle-hardened confidence: A leader, and particularly a CEO, must wear their experiences as a badge of honor. We must use our experiences in a way that shapes and feeds our sense of confidence, which in turn, radiates through the organization. For the aspiring leader, this means not shying away from difficulties but dealing with...
The New CIO – The Chief Impact Officer

The New CIO – The Chief Impact Officer

There once was a time when the driving force for corporate innovation was comfortably at home with the office of the CIO. It was a time when technology was vast and confusing – and in the corporate world – had newly emerged as a powerful way to drive efficiencies, transform supply chains and bring financial accountability to ever more complex global operations. And at the core of all this was information. Coupling the information of a business with the technology that helped accelerate and make decisions across that business generated untold billions in value for organizations around the world. But over the last decade, there has been a shift. There has been less emphasis on the strategic role of information technology and a greater focus on technology responsiveness. Less interest in business cases and capital expenditure than rapidly deployed apps and operational improvement. And there has been more of a demand to balance the back office needs with front-of-house expectations. Today’s CIO has a broad ambit – covering what I call “all things ‘I’”. Insights – CIOs have always been aware of the potential of big data, but the next generation of analytics platforms are turning our data warehouses into a ready storehouse of insights that can power everything from our marketing campaigns through to changes in our supply chains, partner networks and CSR programs. Interactive – As investments in digital marketing begin to outstrip more traditional forms of advertising, technology is no longer on the back end of the customer experience, but front and center. CIOs have an increasingly important role supporting front-of-house activities, feeding insights, data and...