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The CEO of Nokia, a Fortune 500, global company with a diverse workforce of 92,000 people, wanted to accelerate their journey to become a more inclusive workplace. Research revealed through a company-wide Inclusion Survey, that many underrepresented groups did not feel they had equal access to opportunities within the organization. As a result, the biases at play were negatively impacting the business and the CEO made inclusion and diversity a business priority. As a long term partner, we were asked to customize a manager curriculum focused on bias recognition and mitigation in a rapid scale environment.
Leading NOW customized and delivered a “Navigating Bias with Inclusion” program with Nokia leaders selected as the primary audience. We tackled this sensitive topic in a very approachable and non-threatening way, but were careful to build in accountability to change. Core to the learning was Leading NOW’s research on the mindsets that affect our thinking, and which influences our actions that lead to (often unintended) consequences. Unpicking this typically unconscious process and focusing on the mindset triggers, helped participants to see and name biases, and then identify checks and solutions to mitigate the impact of those biases.
To accelerate the roll-out of the program and achieve rapid scale, we co-selected and intensively trained a cohort of 72 key ombudsmen, business leaders, HR professionals and high potentials–including some existing trainers–to deliver the training for both virtual and face to face, in-classroom delivery to 7,300 people managers in 10 months. Despite a global pandemic, we stayed on track and the feedback from the ombudsmen and participants was a 97.5% satisfaction rate! In addition, Nokia received recognition from the World Benchmarking Alliance, which assesses how companies are helping to advance a more inclusive digital economy and society–Nokia ranked #5 out of 100–and our program was highlighted in the company’s 2020 People & Planet report. Now that most of Nokia’s people managers are aware of bias, have strategies to check it, and understand how to create a culture of inclusion, plans are in motion to engage the rest of the employee population.
The Women’s Advancement Initiative at this enterprise field-based financial institution with 70K employees led the mission to develop, advance and engage women across business lines.This included training and preparing mid-management females to increase female representation in senior leadership roles. In planning for this effort, the HR leader identified a need for a leadership development program with a networking framework that could be deployed to thousands of women In the field in an efficient and effective manner.
Addressing the clients needs, Leading Women customized, structured and delivered content for an in-house solution that was adaptable to various locations. Over 1200 women in nine cities participated in a conference like setting of half day sessions that identified barriers to inclusion, introduced them to The Missing 33%™ research, strategic mentoring and how to structure networking opportunities.The format provided a compelling way to reach a high volume of women in the field and resulted in one of the most effective investments for the company, and for their future.
Supporting this global multi-billion dollar company’s stated goals of a diverse and inclusion-focused culture, especially with technically trained women. The client needed a strategic partner that would help them achieve this goal.
Leading Women developed a tailored multi-month Reverse Mentoring program as a pilot for one of the organization’s business units. This involved pairing a male senior leader (protege) with a more junior female (mentor) to explore gender dynamics that often create barriers to women’s advancement, and to gain a shared understanding of these challenges.
Fundamentally, the success of the program depended on the senior protege, those who were driving the culture, to be transparent and to listen acutely. It also required them to think differently. Upon the conclusion of the program, the senior protege response was so significant, so positive, and impactful that they, in turn, became advocates for the continuation of the program and recommended that it be rolled out across the organization. Further, they identified actions that could help transform the culture: 1/ senior proteges started mentoring women; and, 2/ high performing women were identified and given the opportunity to advance to more senior level roles. The organization is currently expanding the reverse mentoring program for the second year. Leading Women’s solution provided the catalyst to activate transformation of the workplace culture. There is more work to do, but this organization is on the right path.
Working with Leading Women, the task force supported our multi-tiered solution that included important research around identifying gender bias in their talent and performance systems. We recommended curriculum enhancements, online leadership resources and a leadership development curricula for women employees at every level. Combined, these efforts would provide a long-term robust platform for recognizing, developing and progressing women leaders. Additionally, we helped the company develop structured criteria and a strategy for identifying talent to support a more inclusive women’s leadership development program.
The company's Chief Diversity Officer recognized the importance of aligning their three-year diversity and inclusion strategy with the overall business’ strategic plan. A requirement included a more structured approach and process to leverage and optimize the new leadership platform, “Champion Inclusion” across the company.
Based on our “Secrets of Strategy” model for building strategic acumen, Leading Women in partnership with the D&I team, defined a solution developing a methodology that established core metrics, improved alignment and crafted a comprehensive engagement strategy that would ensure executive buy-in for the D&I strategic plan. We recognized the need to define and communicate what it means to “champion inclusion” and instituted a three-level accountability model for employees to rally around and adopt.
The company had endorsed and supported an initiative to advance top female talent, yet the APAC region HR professionals required special focus to ensure progress and full engagement in this strategic initiative.
Leading Women, with experience in Asian cultures, provided a road map to assist the local HR team. Annual virtual meetings with company-wide updates on the gender initiative and specific gender dynamics and changing manager mindsets content were adopted along with a forum for sharing best practices that supported the overall goal for women’s advancement.
A division of a global enterprise organization’s personnel data revealed that while women were recognized as high performing leaders one year, many would fall off the list the following years. As a result, the female talent leadership pipeline was seriously impacted and there were an insufficient number of women advancing into leadership positions.
Leading Women advocated a more disciplined approach to gender-related leadership challenges. To set the foundation, executives and managers were invited to sessions on The Missing 33%™ and PIE (Strategic) Mentoring. This provided important insights into the subtle ways men are groomed for leadership positions whereas women were stalled in mid-management. Leading Women’s solution included coaching sessions that introduced women to more strategic discussions around the business, and a leadership development program was structured on capabilities, skills and insights for advancing into leadership roles through live, self-paced and virtual learning modules.
An international gaming company had few women in senior leadership roles yet women were motivated and ready to succeed at every level. A structured program to support their career paths was desired and any potential barriers to advancement needed to be identified. With that objective, changing managers mindsets and gender dynamics awareness was needed to ensure any biases or gender barriers were removed, and that talent decisions were equitable in all global offices.
To advance female talent within the company, it was determined that executives needed to develop the capability to strategically mentor these high potential women. It would require engagement, commitment and training of the organization’s regional executives in order to prepare them to deliver strategic mentoring. In order to best prepare them for this new responsibility they needed a state of the art solution to ensure a successful outcome..
In collaboration with the client, Leading Women proposed a comprehensive, tailor-made program of interactive webinars as the most suitable training platform. The CEO and executive/regional teams were introduced to The Missing 33%™, Gender Dynamics, Talent Decisions and P.I.E. Mentoring™ solutions. The program was complemented with actionable plans they could immediately activate as mentors.
The CEO of this global enterprise believed and committed to increasing the percentage of women in senior management by 20% by a specific year target. This commitment was communicated across all segments of the company. In order to achieve this goal, HR leaders recognized that it was imperative to train and equip senior leaders and managers on gender dynamics - how mindsets can impact talent decisions and women’s career advancement.
Leading Women delivered a customized global solution focused on training managers (both women and men) to recognize and take action to understand how their mindsets created barriers for women’s advancement. Interactive gender dynamic workshops were delivered in 15 countries, sensitising managers to how mindsets create barriers for women and how these mindsets often get in the way of developing top talent. Additionally, global HR teams have now been trained to conduct these ongoing internal workshops..
This division of a global advertising agency was challenged with many female leaders hitting a “glass ceiling”. Female leaders needed a specific solution to help them transition from managing clients to a broader, more strategic role in managing the business.
Leading Women advocated for a comprehensive curriculum that targeted high performing female managers across its regional offices. The curriculum was customized and delivered to equip these new leaders with strategic thinking, business and financial acumen and leadership skills required to drive planning and meet financial targets.
Leading Women designed a customized solution implementing comprehensive leadership, business, strategic and financial training. The program established the foundation for a multi-month mentoring program administered by Korn Ferry.
The Chief Diversity Officer recognized the low percentage of women of color in their organization and initiated a multi-year, multifaceted leadership training program to ensure their talent pipeline included high potential women of color.
In collaboration with the client, Leading Women proposed a phased approach to leadership training for this targeted group of women. Starting with an introduction to The Missing 33% ™, they were exposed to leadership fundamentals, career advancement skills and established mentoring relationships. Subsequently, women of color from across the global businesses participated in a two-day learning conference designed to master leadership skills and develop rapport with senior executives. The conference, organized by the Global Diversity & Community Affairs office, focused on topics including leading for outcomes, making the most of mentoring, business and strategic acumen, and an introduction to the company’s organizational structure and respective business reviews. In addition to the learning sessions, they participated in their first-ever interactive discussion with members of the executive leadership team. Discussions focused on business growth initiatives, advertising and marketing strategies and offered guidance on developing their business and financial acumen.
The population of female employees within this corporation was geographically dispersed and had little access to leadership development opportunities or training.
Leading Women proposed a large scale program to train internal facilitators who would be licensed to instruct their Self-Managed Solutions curriculum.
This included a years worth of customized leadership development content that was adopted and utilized in every site across the country.
"This outstanding solution enabled us to potentially reach every woman in our company for what we've previously paid for a day-long program for women in headquarters."
ACJ, Corporate Manager - Diversity
It was apparent that women’s career paths were impeded or stalled. Numerous high potential career-start women resigned or thwarted their careers. There was also a significant imbalance in women at the lower levels versus women at the top levels. The organization realized it needed to address these challenges with the objective to build a pipeline of female talent and to strengthen their leadership and career advancement skills with a defined program.
Leading Women’s solution addressed two segments of female employees. For the emerging leaders a 4-part series, “Ready. Set. LEAD” focused on building foundational leadership skills, strategies to avoid behavioral career derailers, i.e. Inappropriate dress, behavior at business functions, use of IM/social media, etc., and exposed them to senior female leaders. For the more senior managers, they participated in a Leadership Mastery program offering more advanced leadership skills in conjunction with the opportunity to network and build relationships with regional women leaders.
Understanding the unique opportunity of a board assignment, Leading Women developed a workshop to highlight what a business leader can provide a non-profit board in terms of leadership, experience and business networking, as well as how to optimize those networking skills for career impact.
The organization was challenged with the gender make-up of their leadership teams. The vast majority of women were stalled in mid-management roles while was a very small percentage of women at senior levels. The organization needed a process to prepare future women leaders and enhance their female talent pipeline.
In collaboration with the client, Leading Women customized a comprehensive training program targeted to high-performing women with the goal to enhance their leadership, business and strategic skills, prepare them for broader responsibilities and a path toward advancement. Leading Women conducted several programs including Ready, Set, LEAD!; Amplify Your Career; and, Breakthrough Leadership. As a follow-up we received this unsolicited email reporting on their progress:
"I want to keep you informed of recent promotions which continue to serve as inspiration and confirmation of our work on advancing women leaders here. KL was recently promoted to Project Leader in our IT area. This is a management role that she had in her sights when she enrolled in your Ready, Set, LEAD! program a few years ago.
In addition, NB and TW were recently promoted to Directors in our Field Operations area. They are both graduates of your Breakthrough Leadership program and will serve as regional directors within our primary line of business operation.
As you know, these promotions accompany MF and AH's promotions to our Senior Management Team and these two are also graduates of your leadership programs.
I appreciate the partnership we have and the support of Leading Women in our efforts here to ensure our top talent is as diverse as possible."
In collaboration with the client, Leading Women developed a comprehensive, customized leadership development solution that spanned several months. The program, targeted to their high performing female talent, included a variety of leadership and business-focused workshops, webinars, mentoring, team projects and other related development initiatives.
The president of this company’s internal women’s network was preparing the annual meeting of SBU network leaders from around the country. As part of her succession plan, it was her intent to transition the focus of the meeting from social/support to a concentration on strategic business and leadership topics. She reached out to Leading Women for guidance on how to action and structure this effort.
Leading Women developed a strategic planning model structuring the next phase and future evolution of the internal network. Leading Women recommended that women leaders and role models within the company be appointed to participate in panel discussions where they could share first-hand the importance of learning business functions and financials. The format provided insights and key learnings that demonstrated a clear shift in the discussions and tone of the annual meeting.
Understanding that challenges in the economy were impacting the company’s performance, budget reductions in all operational areas was imminent. Given the reality of the situation, the head of the women’s network wanted to protect the integrity of the upcoming quarterly meeting to ensure high quality content and broad reach yet at a more economical cost.
Meeting this challenge, Leading Women provided a customized solution that achieved high impact to a countrywide audience of women. Delivering one-hour Leadership Lessons On DemandTM via live webinars, participants were exposed to strategic topics - Adding Value in Today’s Economy and Self Promote with Grace & Authenticity. The programs were well received and resulted in positive feedback.
The Diversity & Inclusion and Executive Talent teams of this US headquartered global company, already recognized for their high percentage of executive women, wanted to see stronger performance and results coming through its leadership development programs. How could they accelerate the advancement of high potential women into senior and executive roles? They needed to identify a partner with strong leadership development credentials, known for delivering substantive business focused content, that would align with internal business and leadership requirements. The program had to be expansive and relevant for top executive women as well as other director/management levels.
After collaborating with the client, Leading Women developed a customized solution that would address their critical needs. A comprehensive multi-month program of strategic, financial and business oriented content blended with leadership fundamentals aligned to the company’s business and leadership model was developed and delivered to three tiers of internal high performing women: 1/ Emerging leaders at the individual contributor and first line supervisor level; 2/ Middle managers, and 3/ Senior managers in their first executive level position.
Years 1 & 2: customized 6-part series of speakers and and skill development on 9 tools critical to successfully building strategic relationships. Four learning modules on topics including Being Ready When You Get the Call, Creating a Success Mindset and the Language of Power. Year 3: Self-Managed Solutions™ facilitated by Pfizer senior women combined with live workshops taking content and skills to deeper level with on-the-job application.
"Pfizer's Groton/New London Women's Leadership Network (WLN) has worked with Leading Women to strongly align the WLN with the organization's diversity and talent management strategies. Leading Women's live and Self-Managed Solutions™ provide exceptional programming, help us reach hundreds of members and engage senior women - all at a reasonable price point. Leading Women's substantive content is making a difference in the careers of our network members and the credibility of the WLN. "
Debra Hanna, Pfizer Global R & D