News and Views

Drive for more female CEO's Stalls, according to The Sunday Times

In order to get promoted in big companies, women typically need to be significantly better than men, a chameleon in nature and very visible. 

Promoting anyone out of their comfort zone involves risk. Consequently, promoting people with a different background, who do not look like the incumbent leaders is extremely hard for anyone. Historically the women that have succeeded are significantly better than their male counterparts. These women have also been able to break into male-dominated networks with ease; something that men, in general, do not have to work at.

To ensure 'change,' large companies, in my opinion, need to invest in collaborative leadership skills training for the  CEO -1 level, something that I call the permafrost. Because it is this level (divisional leaders) who are currently, often unintentionally, acting as blockers.

Collaborating successfully within the C-Suite, and close to it, is substantially different from collaborating with other teams in an organisation. As a result, senior teams and boards can often be ‘nominal’, rather than ‘real’ teams.  Unfortunately, many at the top fail to appreciate the differences and are not open to women joining them.

To ensure women have nailed the language of interview and can 'win' at a C-Suite stretch interview we run a leadership programme called 'Getting to the C-Suite'. For more information, click on this link and get your company to sponsor you to attend!

Gender Pay Gap Reporting - What now? (11 Apr 2018)


Following the publishing of the UK’s corporate Gender Pay Gap data, a number of our individual subscribers, who are not corporate members, have been in touch to ask ‘what now’? They have seen their company’s top line numbers, are not impressed, and are wondering what they can or should do to further the careers of women/minorities in their companies. Too many are telling us that they have no further information on their division’s, or department’s gender pay gap data, and are fearful of asking for a breakdown for a whole host of reasons. What now => tips and trick article for you, Link.

Why is visibility important? 


If you are visible, managers tend to think that you are more committed to the organisation and therefore to your career.  However the research shows that commitment can come in different packages.  According to UGM Consulting and their research “not everyone – for reasons of gender culture or personality – feels at ease being visible and using assertive impression management tactics to increase their visibility”.   Good leaders recognise this and know that you need to recognise talent and reward ability in all its manifestations, not just one and not just yours. 

UGM ’s research shows that visibility, like it or not, is pivotal in most successful careers because to get to the top you need to be seen to be capable and committed.  The vast majority of women find that they are excluded from influential male networks, often unintentionally, and this can hit hard at promotion prospects by restricting knowledge and connections. This is as true in the executive world as it is in the non-executive world and is a key reason why Women on Boards (WOB) exists.  These are a few of UGM’s tips and research insights;

1.    Make sure you know your managers KPI’s (key performance indicators)
2.    Build a dynamic network and remember it’s not just about numbers of people 
3.    Use every opportunity to connect with others …………. imagine everyone you meet is your friend
4.    Take advantage of those small-talk opportunities at the margins of meetings
5.    Prepare well for meetings and make reasoned arguments whilst being visible!

For UGM Consulting’s full article on ‘How to unlock opportunities by being more visible’ then click on this link.  As an organisation WOB work alongside UGM.  With their knowledge and support we run workshops called ‘On Track for Success’, ‘Managing your Career’ and ‘Getting to the C-suite’, the latter a 6 month modular leadership programme (info link).  If you would like WOB to run an in-house ‘careers’ workshop for your organisation (men included), then please connect with or visit this website page link.

Getting to the C-Suite, why do women find it so hard?

There are multiple reasons why women struggle not only to get promoted but even to get interviewed for vital ‘stretch’ jobs. For starters, they don’t usually look like the incumbent leaders, which sadly means they are less likely to get interviewed than the male candidates who are often younger versions of the existing leaders.  Research shows that women are in general more collaborative in style, and as a consequence may answer interview questions sounding more like managers than leaders. Further, women often have less ‘inside information’ than the male candidates, which makes it much harder to position themselves convincingly as the best candidate.   
Today, most progressive organisations want .............. To read Fiona's full article about Getting the the C_Suite then click on this link.

Transforming Culture in Financial Services


The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are finally getting serious with regard to the need for boards to outline and understand their company’s culture. Read my full article here about company culture and what you should be doing as a board member. 

Does your company operate a 'Zero Harm' policy on psychological safety?

As Directors you are probably well aware of the importance of Health & Safety but have you thought about your responsibilities around employees' psychological safety? Read the full article here on phychological health & safety and some of your responsibilities around this.