Getting ready for our Enabling inclusion in Business was a very interesting experience for me – it made me rethink the situation of women in business yet again!
Having been very involved in the area of women in politics in the Canton of Vaud for the last 10 months, you might like to have a look at the initiative of the CLAFV (www.clafvd.ch) and ADF (www.adf-vaud.ch) where these 2 associations have worked together with the Bureau of Equality to encourage more women to go into Swiss politics (www.politiciennes.ch).
This interesting initiative made it very clear to me that there is very little contact between the women politicians I talk with regularly and the women in business in Switzerland today! And this is a big problem.
Have you seen the Economist gender gap index? It is nothing short of horrifying. Switzerland performs very poorly in comparison with the OECD average and the 21 countries considered in this study. One big problem is the cost of child care, over 40% of the revenue earned. Is it worthwhile, one might ask to go back to work considering this high cost.
Looking forward to talking about this and lots more tomorrow in BSL. Updates of that meeting to follow!
Unless you have been stuck in a Swiss nuclear bunker for the last 5 years, you will have at some point during your daily social media fix, come across the term Gender Bias. Whether you’re a man who craves more family time with his children (but your boss raises an eye brow when you want to work from home because your kid is sick) or a woman who has her eye on the next VP role but your tendency to under value yourself gets in the way of applying – the power of gender bias (commonly known as stereotypes) is a root cause that prevents men and women from being able to bring their full and true selves to work.
Gender stereotyping can influence perceptions of leadership competencies and most talent management systems can reinforce and perpetuate bias that favors men over women. There are many stakeholders involved in talent management systems, from HR to senior leadership teams, and a Catalyst study carried out in 2009 showed that there are three key compounding effects:
Imperfect execution. When talent management practices and programs interact, gaps between the design and execution can introduce gender bias, even to systems already sensitive to the problem.
Checks and balances. Few companies employ effective checks and balances that mitigate gender bias in talent management and decrease gender gaps in senior leadership.
Perpetual loops. The cyclical structure of talent management appears to reward attributes based on bias inherent in the system, creating a perpetual cycle in which men dominate senior leadership positions.
Even though this study was published nearly a decade ago, these effects are still very much alive and kicking.
We believe effective talent management strategies which boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace, power performance and generate competitive advantage. This builds reputation for being a great place to work and ultimately, a healthier bottom line.
On May 10 2016, I will be helping facilitate a conversation on empowering inclusion in business at Business School Lausanne with 30 business and diversity thought leaders living and working in Switzerland. This collective intelligence session will be the first step in crafting programs which unravel the challenges we all face in the workplace daily and empower inclusive business within organizations.
Many people have pointed to the power of conversations and the importance of being present in the moment. Gurteen’s perspective is very similar. It is about the conversations that take place and not the harvesting of conversations, nor the outcomes that may be written down. It is what the conversations spark in people and leave with them to take forward; whether today, tomorrow or in six months. Like me, many participants were focused on what to do after the conversations.
What Gurteen emphasized is precisely not that. Gurteen asks us to stay away from writing what it is that we are talking about because it takes away from the moment. This brought me back to the concept of presencing which is found in in Presence by Senge, Jaworsky, Flowers, and Otto Scharmer, best known for the Theory U and U Lab.
The Journey – the process over the product
Connection before content
Listening – learning from silence
Developing and building trust; building relationships
Creative destruction of structure: breaking down structure
Democratisation of group conversation
Bringing out the Potential in people
Avoiding distractions such as pen and paper to write or take notes
Conversations that are personal and social, that come with emotions, behaviours and so much more
What works best with a group that gets together to discuss common interests, which comes together voluntarily as a stand-alone “tool”
In an organisational environment the knowledge cafe is one tool amongst many and could be used in a problem-solving or decision-making process.
Any sports person will confirm that it takes hours of practice to become a highly skilled player (see BBC’s article: Can 10,000 Hours Of Practice Make You An Expert?) yet, unlike the almost 10,000 young apprentices in Switzerland as of Fall 2015 (Le Nouvelliste, 25.08.2015 p. 7 « Près de 10,000 apprentis en cours ») many students expect to walk out of school perfectly ready for the workplace without any real life office experience. While on the job training is certainly a great help, students should actually take into consideration how much a classroom situation can indeed be akin to a business situation and honing behavior in class can help students be better prepared for business situations. Continue reading →
A group of BSL students from the Bachelor, Masters and MBA programs visited Nestlé today. The aim of the visit was to try to understand the complexity of a multinational organization like Nestlé in today’s globalized, interconnected world.
For this visit we were hosted by Nicolas Lorne, the person responsible for Promoting Corporate Culture, Values & Principles internally in Nestlé. To start off, we visited the 6th floor of the beautiful headquarters overlooking Lac Léman in Vevey where we saw an exhibition of the Nestlé products and were able to read their communications on who they are and what they believe in as an organization. Creating Shared Value for society is very important to this company, we heard and evidence of this commitment was very present on the 6th floor. Continue reading →
When I think of unleashed creativity, I think of the great artists and savants who have changed the world, and I tend to place them in the category of “superhuman”. At the “Make your Impact as a Creative Leader” event, we were all challenged to think otherwise. Creative leadership is attainable, but unlocking that potential requires us to go through the path less travelled – the path into ourselves. We are so busy looking outside for the right circumstances that we ignore the internal barriers that sabotage our potential. “Break your own rules” was the first lesson Elaine Frances taught us that afternoon. Break the rules inside your head and the rules in your life by listening carefully to thoughts that tell you “cannot”, “should not”, “must not”. The path of the creative leader starts with self-compassion, because there will be many opportunities to fail. With self-compassion, we can always learn, grow and see our failures as progress. Therefore, be kind to yourself, and set a framework where there are no bad ideas and all perspectives are valuable. Continue reading →
Heartfelt thanks to Elaine France, Founder of Women who move Mountains, for helping convene an amazing group of women to Business School Lausanne yesterday. Elaine has a dream; she wants to help women to develop their resilience, their creative and innovation skills. Why? Because she truly believes (and so do I) that women can move mountains. Continue reading →
The purpose of this article isn’t to convince you to volunteer, but to give you some real-life insight into what experience and skills volunteering can give you that can provide you with transferable skills for the workplace and vice versa, what workplace skills you can bring to a volunteer role.
If anyone would have said to me as a carefree student that I would have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of a synchronised swimming club in Switzerland, I would never have believed them! And then life happened and I am the mother of an 11 year old who has been swimming in a Synchro team for 5 years with Morges Natation. At first I simply drove her back and forth to her training sessions, then one day I was backed up against the wall by a member of the committee and asked to join them. Continue reading →
I recently read a fascinating book by Malcom Gladwell entitled “David and Goliath”. The subtitle of the book “Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” gives a good idea of its content.
The introduction explains how David beat Goliath in the Old Testament by using a totally different approach to fighting; his was based on velocity and mobility. It would be very difficult to summarize the whole book, given its diversity and the numerous topics dealt with, from David Boies becoming a famous lawyer in spite of his dyslexia, to the crucial role played by a picture in the history of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. How to use a disadvantage to win is the common element of the different chapters. Continue reading →
Learning has changed! As a university student I remember spending the majority of my time listening, reading and writing. All very passive, sedentary activities. Today as a teacher, if I use these same methods I have a group of students who sit glassy eyed in class snapping the occasional picture of the notes and diagrams I put on the whiteboard. The Millennials are a different breed, they’ve grown up with technology, are hyper connected and their engagement and motivation is contingent upon continuous real-time in situ (on-the-job, in class) interaction. Knowing how these characteristics are challenging the way organizations operate, I was keen to see whether the same would be true in class. Continue reading →