Leveraging Female Talent to Drive Innovation

Leveraging Female Talent to Drive Innovation

One of the most significant factors limiting the growth potential of countries around the world is the fundamental participation and engagement of women in their workforce. The second annual research study by Mercer on gender diversity in the workplace suggests that eliminating the gap between male and female employment rates could boost countries’ GDP by up to 34%.  How do we get there? We need to leverage the talent of women to drive innovation in our businesses – and this goes beyond lip service. It needs to become a strategic imperative. How Investing in Female Talent Produces Dividends To capitalize on innovative thought, businesses need to invest in a diverse workforce which includes funding, supporting, and mentoring female talent. These investments pay rich dividends for companies as a recent Babson College report shows that “businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have higher valuations at both first and last funding (64 percent higher and 49 percent higher, respectively).” The Harvard Business Review report agrees that women are essential to growth and innovation: … employees who work for companies [that acquire and support female employees] are 45% more to likely report that their company improved market share in the last 12 months. And they’re 70% more likely to report that their company captured a new market in that time frame. Hiring a diverse workplace is the first step to harnessing female innovation, but businesses also need to foster women’s ideas. The Harvard Business Review further reveals that the “full innovative potential of women” remains largely untapped within corporations largely because the leadership doesn’t know how...
The Four Styles of Mentoring

The Four Styles of Mentoring

People often picture a mentor as someone older or at least someone who has been in a particular business for a long time, but mentoring is not always about age or the number of years of experience a particular person has in a certain field. Instead, mentoring is about inspiring or helping another person, no matter the age or experience level of the people involved in the mentoring relationship. Kim Getty, president of Deutsch LA, an advertising agency which markets for companies such as M&M’s and 7up, talked in a recent article about how people of all ages can be mentors to others. She talked specifically about how younger people make great mentors. Getty, who also teaches journalism classes, said her students act as mentors, as they keep her up-to-date on trends in the media. She focused upon the four types of mentors which are essential for any professional. First, you need a Peer-to-peer mentor. This is someone who works in your field and who is on the same professional level as you. This person is someone you can turn to for advice when you are just frustrated or otherwise worked up about something at work. Second, people need a Reverse mentor. For Getty, this is her students. Overall, it is someone younger and newer in the industry, someone who can give the seasoned professional a fresher outlook, and at times this the person who can explain new terms or gadgets which might be essential to the success of the company or the individual. At the beginning of someone’s career, he or she will be this type of mentor,...
The New CTO – Chief Transformation Officer

The New CTO – Chief Transformation Officer

When we think of technology, we mostly think of the most visible, in your face, technology – like computers or mobile phones. Or we might think of the changes that have occurred due to the digitization of business or our personal lives. But it’s not just in the obvious places that technology is having an impact – and in the world of business, that means opportunity. As I suggested recently, CIOs are being called upon to deliver more innovation and corporate impact. Likewise, the chief technology officer (CTO) is being challenged – not just around the notion of technology, but in the way that technology is transforming the business landscape. Let’s take a look at one small example – wearable tech. Once upon a time, business people would wear pagers on their belts. They would carry BlackBerrys in their pockets. And this would provide them with connectedness – with email and business applications wherever they may be. This meant that the time between client meetings could be productive. It meant that business travel didn’t separate business leaders from the running of the organization.We could not only make calls to prospects, check in on our teams and so on, we could make decisions, email colleagues and act on the information that we received. But wearable technology was still clumsy and simplistic in its impact. Over the last five years, technology has improved and become smaller. We know from Moore’s Law that computing power doubles approximately every two years, and at the same time, that technology shrinks. The average smart phone now carries more processing power than was used to put...
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...
Five Leadership Tips to Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Five Leadership Tips to Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

We talk about success as if it was a one-time-only event. We celebrate the overnight success of the startup entrepreneur without seeing the years of patient effort, change, modification and even failure that has taken place. In many ways, we have patience for the headlines but not the attention for the story. Think, for example, of Tony Hsieh, the driving force behind online retailer, Zappos. It’s easy to be carried away by the $1 billion price tag Amazon paid for the revolutionary online shoe store. It’s simple to look at the stock valuation and how it grew beyond expectations. But there was a grander vision than simply growing and selling a business – back in 2005, Hsieh rebuffed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos back in 2005: … we told Jeff that we weren’t interested in selling at any price. I felt like we were just getting started. Clearly, Tony Hsieh had a vision. There was an over-the-horizon prize that Hsieh was chasing – but it was one that not everyone could see. And the difference was leadership. I believe that leadership while it can be awe inspiring, also comes with an aura of mystique. Leaders that we know and respect seem to project their presence into our lives in a “super normal” way that is beyond the understanding of many. But true leadership is anything but mysterious – and it boils down to some fundamental elements that anyone – and I do mean anyone – can apply to their professional and personal lives. Inspired by David Cottrell’s book, Tuesday Morning Coaching, these five leadership tips can be used to start...

It’s Time for the Do-able Strategy

Every organization has politics. Every business has a power base and a structure. And every organization has internal and external barriers that need to be straddled, worked-around or overcome. This often means that success comes not from following the rules but from delivering outcomes. And this also means that success also comes with inherent failure – after all, governance processes are in place for good and valid reasons. But as we reach the last quarter of the year, leaders will be turning their attention to closing what business they can before the year end, as well as planning for the new year ahead. With the economy remaining tight, we may be tempted to focus only on the short term – securing business, bringing in every last dollar of revenue and squeezing out extraneous costs – leaving the 2010 plan open ended or only half-baked. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider what I call “Do-able Strategy”. Direct business engagement – work with your leadership team to identify and prioritize the new business opportunities in your sales pipeline. Determine where best you can inject yourself into the process with a view to closing the deal – or get out of the way and let your team do its job. Objectives – scan your opportunity pipeline for the emerging “need states” of your top customers. Are there new issues or business problems appearing on your customer’s horizons? Use these to begin feeding your 2010 strategic objectives. Make sure that these are folded back into any customer discussions that are taking place during the last quarter. Authority...