Tag Archive | "leadership"

Redefining Leadership: How One Leader Changed His Ways

Behind every good company culture, there’s an even better leader, reports Forbes. In my experience, a workplace takes on the personalities of their leaders, for better or for worse. In fact, an honest evaluation of your employees’ opinions will likely clarify the exact places where leadership and culture meet, or in some cases clash to create a disconnect – and that disconnect really matters. When employees are unhappy with leadership, productivity drops, turnover rates spike and bottom lines suffer. This begs the question, why isn’t there more of a focus on people as the leading indicator of company success? Are we aware of how our employees perceive our leadership styles?

For over a year now, I’ve been working closely with a senior leader at our company, Chris. Through his story, I want to convince you to side with me on one big idea: that the “directive” form of leadership, where we simply tell people what to do and they do it, is not the best route to success. Although it is often revered as the default model in the corporate world, there’s an approach that is much more effective – and leaders like Chris prove that it is possible to change your ways.

Having moved from running my own small company to working in a large, public company, I got to know many leaders like Chris, who had climbed the corporate ladder very successfully, hitting or exceeding their targets and getting that next promotion. Chris had been promoted multiple times, he regularly met and exceeded goals and metrics – and he subscribed to a traditional form of leadership. Like many, Chris attributed his achievements to his blend of command and control leadership with a non-apologetic drive for success. But when our company executives emphasized the notion that effective leadership meant not only hitting targets, but also covering the people side of things, we challenged his understanding of success.

As a first step, I worked with data from our most recent employee engagement survey. Our leaders were used to understanding things in terms of metrics, so this proved to be the most effective way to deliver the message.

As suspected, we found that while some of our leaders met and exceeded their company targets, their teams were feeling left behind. The data showed that Chris’s team was reporting low engagement and personal investment, and often felt disconnected from him as a leader. When Chris received that feedback, he was not only shocked – he was hurt. Nobody wants to hear that they’re viewed poorly, especially by their own team. As such, I had to approach him with great sensitivity and work to earn his trust.

Aligned with this traditional mode of leadership, leaders like Chris prioritized goal attainment over everything else – even the well-being of their own employees. With a little guidance, I hoped to help Chris realize the positive impact of growing the careers and lives of his own employees and to feel inspired to adjust his approach.

Because Chris was so emotionally impacted by the results of the survey, I found that he was receptive to the idea of working with me. Chris was realizing that his upward mobility in the company would depend on his ability to adopt a more collaborative leadership style – and personally, he wanted to be more well-regarded by his team. Although we all operate differently, most of us want to be liked by our peers. That base desire is a great motivator to start what can otherwise be a daunting process.

It was time to get to work. We started in on a series of coaching sessions that provided Chris with small steps that could make a big impact on his team. We set realistic goals that came down to simple adjustments in style – how to be inclusive in meetings, how to listen to employee ideas, and how to care for employees by showing them compassion in the totality of their lives. We conducted focus groups with front-line team members, we moved away from delegation and embraced inclusion – Chris even attended a team bowling night.

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Dave Anderson to Bring Leadership Training to Agent Summit

LAS VEGAS — Leadership expert Dave Anderson has agreed to deliver a motivational keynote address at Agent Summit, courtesy of EasyCare, organizers said Tuesday. The event will be held May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“We are excited to share Dave Anderson with all of the participants at Agent Summit,” said Larry Dorfman, CEO of Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO), home of the EasyCare brand. “His leadership and accountability teachings have been instrumental in the record growth of EasyCare over the past few years, and we know that everyone he touches with his powerful message will have a chance to be more successful if they apply it to their businesses and their lives.”

Anderson is the founder and president of LearnToLead, an Agoura Hills, Calif.-based sales and leadership development provider, and an automotive retail veteran. He is the author of 13 books and has contributed publications within and outside the auto industry, including The Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report, and has delivered more than 1,000 workshops and speeches in 16 countries over the past decade.

“Vision without strategy is hallucination, and strategy without execution brings exasperation,” Anderson said. “Thus, I’m excited to share an incredible five-step process for exponentially increasing your business results with my ‘How to Master the Art of Execution’ presentation at Agent Summit in Las Vegas!”

Registration is open at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email. Attendees who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount.

To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities at Agent Summit 2016, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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IAS Announces Internal Promotions to Senior Leadership

AUSTIN – IAS, a leading provider of F&I solutions to automobile dealerships, today announced a series of senior management changes designed to advance the adoption of the company’s complete F&I solution.

Frank Klaus has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer for the IAS Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Dublin, Ohio offices. Mr. Klaus had previously served as President of VSC.

IAS also announced that Eric Mélon with take on the national role of President of Sales. Mr. Mélon, who has been with the company since 2004, most recently worked as Sr. Vice President of Dealer Development.

“Frank and Eric are seasoned and trusted leaders who consistently deliver results,” said Bob Corbin President, and Chief Executive Officer at IAS. “One of our greatest strengths is our management team and as a result, we are blessed with an outstanding talent pool that is ready for expanded executive responsibilities.”

Frank started his career in the automobile industry in 1980 selling vehicles at an Oklahoma dealership. In 1987 he expanded his experience by joining General Financial Systems, where he learned and honed his reinsurance expertise. Frank founded First Dealer Resources (FDR) in 1989 and due in large part to his leadership, FDR became one of the largest independent general agencies in the country prior to their acquisition by IAS in 2014.

“As IAS continues to transform from a pure product provider to a complete aftermarket solution, we must continue to operate at a high level to deliver innovative products and solutions that set our agents and dealers apart,” said Klaus. “I look forward to working with the leadership team in a new capacity to position IAS for continued success.”

Eric brings with him nearly three decades of experience in the automotive industry. Eric joined First Dealer Resources, now IAS, in 2004 to direct their sales training initiatives and grow dealer relations. Prior to joining FDR, Eric worked as a dealer development consultant for Stuker & Associates and before that enjoyed a successful career working in automotive retail, with extensive experience in sales, sales management, and upper management.

“I am thrilled to start the New Year with this exciting challenge – leading the sales organization for one of the most dynamic innovators in F&I,” said Mélon. “IAS’ strategy has never been more compelling and I am incredibly energized to lead this company to the next level.”

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90 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Business Leadership

Editor’s note: “The First 90 Days” is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business.

Over the next 90 days, you can build not only your business but also your personal leadership beyond what you may have thought possible.

Let this be the year you become the leader you want to be–in your business and in life.

1. Know yourself. The best leaders truly know themselves. Learn to recognize your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

2. Create a personal mission statement. As a leader is it important to have a personal sense of mission crafted into something you can reflect on daily and measure your performance against.

3. Lead your own way. Find out what your personal leadership strengths are so you can make the most of them.

4. Lead with conviction. Know your values–not just opinions, but the principles that guide your decision making every day–especially where matters of integrity are involved.

5. Set goals. Goal-setting is an important part of being a great leader. It’s your job to always get from where you are to where you need to be, and it’s your goals that are your roadmap for success.

6. Focus on the big picture. Set individual and team goals that are large in scale but realistic and measurable, and communicate your expectations in the context of the big picture.

7. Accept criticism. Get past defensiveness and always look for something useful and constructive in any criticism you receive.

8. Control stress. As the old ad used to say, never let them see you sweat. Your confidence in yourself will inspire others to have confidence in you.

9. Keep your focus. Remember what you’re here to do. Don’t let distractions and shiny objects distract you, or those around you.

10. Accept risk. The best leaders are great risk takers, because they are open for opportunity. Fear of failure causes many people to avoid taking chances, but when the risk is worth taking, leaders must be ready to take it.

11. Be determined. Surprisingly often, success is simply a matter of perseverance. Keep trying and trying again until you get there.

12. Keep multiple perspectives. Try to understand how things work from all angles; be aware of what’s going on from the front lines to the executive level. This wide perspective, plus meticulous attention to detail, will allow you to recognize problems and opportunities that other miss.

13. Be honest. The best leaders are honest at all times. Honesty is a crucial trait to anyone who depends on the respect and trust of others.

14. Be authentic. Being true to yourself is the necessary first step in leading your team with consistency.

15. Believe in yourself. If you want others to believe in you, you must first believe in yourself.

16. Be a great communicator. Communication is a critical component of leadership. You need top communication skills for giving direction, providing encouragement, giving feedback, and listening.

17. Be ambitious. Ambition doesn’t have to mean becoming cutthroat and aggressive. Use your ambition wisely to set and maintain high expectations for yourself and your team.

18. Embrace failure. To embrace failure means you’re open to risk and willing to find lessons in mistakes.

19. Be confident. No matter how terrible you may feel and no matter how dire the circumstances, as a leader you have be sure to put on a brave face and let the world know that you’re still going to succeed.

20. Reward effort. Don’t reward only results; reward the people who work hard and show great effort. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful effort.

21. Do the right thing. It’s simple. If you are asked to do something illegal or unethical, or something that goes against your values, refuse.

22. Make relationships important. Fostering good relationships leads to mutual trust and respect in the workplace.

23. Be trustworthy. Trust is the foundation of success; it needs to be given so it can be returned.

24. Be accountable. As a leader it is your job to be accountable; you must be able to deliver on your promises and keep your word.

25. Be committed. A visible commitment to your work and your promises will increase the respect you receive and boost your team’s productivity.

26. Get feedback. The most important feedback that you can get is from the people you are leading. It is a good idea to ask for feedback at least once a quarter.

27. Admit mistakes. When you’re wrong, say so. When you mess up, apologize and do what you can to mitigate any damage.

28. Be available. If you work in an office, leave your door open. If you lead remotely, make sure people know you are available. Let people be able to approach you with ease.

29. Be forgiving. This one is hard, but the best leaders know that forgiveness is a tool they must master. It’s how you let go and move on.

30. Encourage creativity. There will always be a time when you need someone to think differently. Foster creativity in your team for incredible results.

31. Delegate tasks. Become a master at the art of delegation. With a killer team and everyone working on something in their area of strength, you can make almost anything happen.

32. Don’t settle. Look for the best solutions to your biggest problems, not just the first acceptable answer. Make sure innovation is part of the problem-solving process.

33. Appreciate others. The worst thing you can do is take people for granted. As a leader it is important to make people feel valued. Doing so helps you retain your best people and inspires those around you to work harder.

34. Be decisive. The worst thing you can do for your business is be a leader who cannot make decisions. Be decisive even when the situation is difficult.

35. Keep people growing. The best leaders are always thinking of how they can develop and grow their people–by giving them training, teaching them new skills, or just equipping them with what they need to go as far as they can go.

36. Boost your team’s self-esteem. Go out of your way to boost the self-esteem of your people. When people believe in themselves, they can accomplish amazing things.

37. Share the credit. Nothing great was ever accomplished alone; it takes a group of talented people to make something truly wonderful happen.

38. Unlock potential. Give your team time and space to develop their talents and cultivate their creativity. Leadership is all about unlocking people’s potential to become better.

39. Make learning indispensable. Leadership can’t happen without learning, so build it into the daily routine for yourself and your team.

40. Be a mediator. Learn to be a mediator so you’re prepared when someone becomes aggressive or hostile. Listen with understanding, and do your best to foster a positive solution.

41. Be consistent. Consistency shows your team that you are confident and steady.

42. Celebrate small wins. Most people wait to celebrate the big wins, but celebrating the day-to-day victories makes a huge difference.

43. Be positive. It’s always easy to get discouraged, but the ability to maintain positivity is worth its weight in gold to you and your team.

44. Don’t tolerate gossip. It’s among the most toxic forces in the workplace. Take no part in it and discourage it in every way possible–primarily with good communication that makes it unnecessary.

45. Be humble. Let your success make the noise.

46. Encourage collaboration. Collaboration builds strong teams and generates great ideas from the interplay of multiple intelligences.

47. Be an active listener. Communication is vital. When you listen, you learn. Leaders need the ability to really listen in order to understand.

48. Become an advocate. Show your team you have their back. Understand their needs and be willing to put yourself out there on their behalf.

49. Honor everyone’s time. Don’t waste time with petty demands and endless meetings. Let everyone say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done as efficiently as possible.

50. Be a planner. Without a good plan, it’s easy to put off important tasks and waste a lot of precious time.

51. Solve problems. The best leaders are problems solvers; they do this by managing conflict and helping people accept solutions and change.

52. Make time for questions. Always leave time for people to ask questions. Making time for questions shows that you are a leader who cares.

53. Genuinely care. The driving force of any successful organization is the people within it. Honor those people with caring.

54. Maintain good technical skills. Keep current on technology and social media platforms so you can push your organization to the next level.

55. Be organized. Your own level of organization sets an example and can greatly improve productivity.

56. Prioritize tasks. Know exactly what needs to get done when so everyone can be successful.

57. Keep a schedule. Find a way of tracking your daily responsibilities and follow it impeccably.

58. Set big-picture goals. When planning and setting goals, be sure to focus on both the long and the short term.

59. Think proactively. Be ready for change. Thinking proactively can help you stay a couple of steps ahead and avoid preventable problems.

60. Embrace diversity. It takes a team of diverse talent, thinking, and perspectives to create something innovative.

61. Be adaptable. As a leader you must be willing to be agile. Things are always changing, and you have to be able to go with the flow.

62. Trust your intuition. When you learn to trust yourself, it is much easier for others to trust you.

63. Be fair. It is part of your role as a leader to insist that everyone be treated fairly and equitably.

64. Be solution-driven. Of course you will face obstacles, so it’s important to be mentally prepared with a perspective that keeps you focused on finding solutions instead of deflecting blame.

65. Challenge assumptions. Especially in a world where change is paced quickly, willingness to challenge the status quo will keep you ahead of your competition.

66. Embrace change. Change is the only constant, it’s been said, and good leadership requires anticipating and accommodating change of all kinds

67. Practice persuasion. When you can convince others to believe in your cause, their belief will spur them to work hard and be creative.

68. Be a coach. Lead, guide, and educate your team members to produce maximum results.

69. Be a mentor. The best leaders are the best mentors. They guide others through the territory they have come through before.

70. Be a supporter. Help your team members obtain whatever they need for success and growth.

71. Find a coach. Leadership is about helping others, but finding your own coach will help you stay on top of professional and personal development

72. Be flexible. A strong leader doesn’t always want or need to be right. Be open to the opinions of others.

73. Be a negotiator. Finding solutions that are fair and beneficial to all parties will mark you as a great leader.

74. Be resourceful. When you don’t have an answer you need, rely on your resourcefulness to find one. Let others see how you respond so they know they don’t have to pretend to know everything.

75. Always be a student. To stay on top of your game, always be learning something new.

76. Develop new skills. Keep your skills current so you can put in a peak performance as a leader.

77. Be passionate. Keep your purpose front and center, and your passion will be contagious throughout your team.

78. Celebrate achievements. Be quick to praise. Celebrating achievements boosts morale and motivates others to give their best.

79. Dress the part. In today’s laid-back atmosphere, take pride in your appearance to boost your self-confidence and inspire others to do the same.

80. Read every day. The best way to keep up with what is going on in the world is to stay current with your reading. Be diverse by reading books, magazines, and online sources.

81. Be empathetic. Understanding what other people are thinking and feeling is valuable in forging deeper connections.

82. Be interested in people. Encourage people to talk about themselves. Show genuine interest in their lives outside of work.

83. Manage time wisely. The better you can manage your time, the more time you have to get things done and enjoy your life.

84. Accept your flaws. Even if you’re striving to be a perfect leader, learning to work with your flaws gives you a chance to be human.

85. Breathe through stress. When stress is off the charts, don’t forget to breathe. It will help settle you and clear your mind.

86. Be fearless. As a leader you have to know how to take risks. Don’t be afraid to take chances.

87. Embrace mindfulness. Staying in the moment helps you concentrate, focus, and do everything better–even unwind, when the time comes.

88. Be inspiring. Leading others to do great things is part of setting goals, expanding your company, and running a successful operation. It’s at the heart of inspiration.

89. Work out. Leave time each day to exercise your mind, body, and soul.

90. Show gratitude. One sure way how to improve any difficulty or complication is to pause to be grateful for what is going right.

This article was written by Lolly Daskal and published in Inc.

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10 Habits Of Ultra-Likable Leaders

If you want to be a leader whom people follow with absolute conviction, you have to be a likable leader, reports Forbes. Tyrants and curmudgeons with brilliant vision can command a reluctant following for a time, but it never lasts. They burn people out before they ever get to see what anyone is truly capable of.

When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the best and worst leaders they have ever worked for. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the leader’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.

These words, and others like them, describe leaders who are skilled in emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that leaders who possess these qualities aren’t just highly likable, they outperform those who don’t possess them by a large margin.

Becoming a more likable leader is completely under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

What follows are 10 key behaviors that emotionally intelligent leaders engage in that make them so likable.

1. They Form Personal Connections

Even in a crowded room, likable leaders make people feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation, as if they’re the only person in the room that matters. And, for that moment, they are. Likable leaders communicate on a very personal, emotional level. They never forget that there’s a flesh-and-blood human being standing in front of them.

2. They’re Approachable

You know those people who only have time for you if you can do something for them? Likable leaders truly believe that everyone, regardless of rank or ability, is worth their time and attention. They make everyone feel valuable because they believe that everyone isvaluable.

3. They’re Humble

Few things kill likability as quickly as arrogance. Likable leaders don’t act as though they’re better than you because they don’t think that they’re better than you. Rather than being a source of prestige, they see their leadership position as bringing them additional accountability for serving those who follow them.

4. They’re Positive

Likable leaders always maintain a positive outlook, and this shows in how they describe things. They don’t have to give a presentation to the board of directors; they get to share their vision and ideas with the board. They don’t have to go on a plant tour; they get to meet and visit with the people who make their company’s products. They don’t evenhave to diet; they get to experience the benefits of eating healthfully. Even in undeniably negative situations, likable leaders emanate an enthusiastic hope for the future, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.

5. They’re Even-Keeled

When it comes to their own accomplishments and failures, likable leaders take things in stride. They don’t toot their own horns, nor do they get rattled when they blow it. They savor success without letting it go to their heads, and they readily acknowledge failure without getting mired in it. They learn from both and move on.

6. They’re Generous

We’ve all worked for someone who constantly holds something back, whether it’s knowledge or resources. They act as if they’re afraid you’ll outshine them if they give you access to everything you need to do your job. Likable leaders are unfailingly generous with whom they know, what they know, and the resources they have access to. They want you to do well more than anything else because they understand that this is their job as a leader and because they’re confident enough to never worry that your success might make them look bad. In fact, they believe that your success is their success.

7. They Demonstrate Integrity

Likable leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but likable leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Even a leader who oozes charm won’t be likable if that charm isn’t backed by a solid foundation of integrity.

8. They Read People Like A Book

Likable leaders know how to read people as unspoken communication is often more important than the words people say. They note facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice in order to get what’s really going on with their people. In other words, they have high social awareness, a critical EQ skill.

9. They Appreciate Potential

Robert Brault said, “Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around.” Likable leaders not only see the best in their people, but they also make sure that everyone else sees it too. They draw out people’s talents so that everyone is bettering themselves and the work at hand.

10. They Have Substance

Daniel Quinn said, “Charisma only wins people’s attention. Once you have their attention, you have to have something to tell them.” Likable leaders understand that their knowledge and expertise are critical to the success of everyone who follows them. Therefore, they regularly connect with people to share their substance (as opposed to superficial small talk). Likable leaders don’t puff themselves up or pretend to be something they’re not, because they don’t have to. They have substance, and they share it with their people.

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Women In The Workplace: Three Questions To Ask Your Leaders

As a mother of a professional working daughter, the under-representation of women at every level of the workforce concerns me, reports Forbes.  Women are 33% more likely to gain a college degree than men, and make up 47.5% of the country’s labor force, yet the gender gap remains.

In 1972 Katherine Graham of the Washington Post Company became the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 firm. Today 4.8% of Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs, while the percentage of women executive officers has remained flat at around 14% since 2010.

New research entitled “Women in the Workplace,” conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey, surveyed 30,000 men and women at 118 North American companies, and paints a disturbing picture of how much work needs to be done to reach gender equality in the C-Suite. In fact, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Co-Founder of LeanIn.org says it will take more than 100 years to reach the progress my daughter and I are looking for in the workforce.

Challenges In Reaching Gender Equality In C-Suite

The barriers to progress are well documented in the Women in the Workplace report. While 74% of companies reported that their CEOs are committed to gender diversity, less than half of employees believed that to be true. Meanwhile, companies which have flexible programs for men and women find they are underused. More than 90% of men and women feel that taking the family leave they are entitled to will harm their careers.

This is particularly troubling as in just under 10 years Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce and Millennial women are seeking out employers with a strong record on equality and diversity. According to recent PwC survey of 40,000 Millennial respondents across 18 countries, entitled Next Generation Diversity: Developing Tomorrow’s Female Leaders, 82% of female Millennials identified an employers’ policy on diversity, inclusion, and gender equality as an important factor when deciding whether or not to work for an organization. Employers must do more than “talk the talk,” on gender equality. Instead, they must put into place a mix of inclusive talent and advancement strategies, which demonstrate results. The business case is simple: every company is waging a war for the best talent to meet the ever-accelerating rate of change. Why would any CEO want to cut out 50% of their options?

Three Key Questions to Ask Your Leaders

Let’s assume you are in a meeting and want to dig deeper on how your organization is progressing on gender equality. Here are three questions to ask your senior executives:

1) Where and in What Roles Are Women in Our Talent Pipeline?

The easy first question is: how many women hold senior executive positions in the organization?

The tougher question is: how and where are women moving through the talent pipeline, from entry level to high potential, and what targets if any are being set by the organization?

Marc Benioff, Co-Founder of Salesforce, recently created the Women’s Surge and set a target: achieve 100% equality for men and women in pay and promotion and make sure that at least one third of all participants at any Salesforce meeting are women. As a first step, Benioff asked his senior team to identify their top female executives who would then receive additional leadership training.

Once the pipeline is visible then the next question needs to be asked: what percentage of women is occupying line and staff roles?

In the USA, about two thirds of women in Fortune 500 companies start in line positions (positions with profit and loss responsibility) but with time these numbers are reversed with two-thirds of C-Suite women in staff positions. Women in the Workplace research notes that more than half of women at the VP level hold staff roles.Men, on the other hand, are more likely to hold line roles at every level of the organization. This difference poses a potential problem because line roles frequently feed into senior leadership.

2) How Is Our Organization Dealing With Unconscious Bias?

One of the biggest barriers to making progress in gender equality rests in the minds of men and women, and it is known as unconscious bias. Catalyst, a non-profit organization promoting inclusive workplaces for women, defines unconscious bias as an implicit association or attitude about race or gender that operates out of our control, informs our perception about a person or group of people, and can influence our decision making and behavior toward a person or group of people. Companies deal with unconscious bias in various ways from formal training on the topic to recognizing it exists and setting goals to change it. The latter is much more effective as we how difficult it is to move from awareness to changing behavior

One company that stands out for their commitment to closing the gender gap is Kimberly Clark, who since 2009 has seen a 90% increase in the number of women holding director-level and above leadership positions, and received an award from Catalyst in 2014 for making developing diverse talent one of the metrics by which it judges its leaders across the globe. It even ties bonus money to it. “To be an exceptional leader at Kimberly-Clark Corp, you have to develop talent that looks, thinks and behaves like the people who use our products,” says Sue Dodsworth, Chief Diversity Officer for Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Recently the company put into place a Rule of Two: for appointments at the VP level and above, leaders must bring three candidates for consideration and no more than two of them should have a similar demographics profile.

3) Now What: What Policies Can We Put into Place to Move Our Organization Toward Gender Equality?

While acknowledging unconscious bias is a first step toward understanding how stubborn the barriers are to making change, companies also need to put into place a range of new policies to effect change. Anne-Marie Slaughter, in her recent NYT article entitled A Toxic Work World, proposes a number of policy changes companies need to consider to compete in the global war for talent, and they include:

  • High quality and affordable childcare and elder care;
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave;
  • A right to request part-time work;
  • Comprehensive job protection for pregnant workers;
  • Higher wages and training for paid care givers;
  • Reforms at elementary and secondary school schedules to meet the needs of our digital workplaces.

To this impressive list, I will add one more: not just paid paternity leave, but mandatory paid paternity leave. Sounds far fetched? Some countries are already doing this: Sweden offers a generous family leave policy of 16 months of paid time off to care for newborns, and this is split between both parents. A new law will go into effect in January 2016 requiring fathers to take a mandatory three months of paid paternity leave, encouraging fathers to take part in bonding with their child. This also is a major step in reducing the perception that childcare is a women’s issue.

Are you a working Mom or Dad? What policies would you like to see your company offer you? How can women be more equally represented in the C-Suite and in executive leadership positions in your company?

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