The Female Lens: Shaping the Digital Frontier for Success
In the modern business world, the concepts of leadership, innovation, and success are undergoing a transformation, and businesses that don't adapt to these changes will struggle to thrive. One of the concepts that are being transformed is gender equality, the “we need more women in business” stance. It is changing from “let’s build a fairer society for all regardless of their gender” stance to “we are hurting as a society for the lack of female perspective”. From a “nice to have” to a “must have”.
We dedicated the spring series of The Innovation Room, “Digital is From Venus” to explore this change. I was delighted to host Laz Dzamic in Episode 22: Post-Heroic Leadership Is The Key To Digital Excellence, where he shared his views on how the business is craving the leadership qualities and psychological traits that are more often associated with the female mind.
Having mentored many females in my career and especially with the work we do as part of the #Geekess project, I see first hand how difficult it is to bring more women into tech and in business, but also how much more challenging it is to help them grow into senior levels. Many times I have heard from my male CEO colleagues about their struggles to hire, mentor and promote women in their businesses as well as their success stories. So for the rest of the series I asked Kate Fletcher, our board advisor, who works with many CEOs (male and female), to explore mentoring, coaching, and growing the females in the business.
In Episode 26: Release The She-Ra, Kate hosted her former hockey coach, Danny Kerry MBE, former head coach of women's field hockey for Great Britain. Danny shared his experience of coaching a successful women’s hockey team and how different it was from coaching the men’s team. But my favorite takeaway was how Danny changed as a coach in the process and how he is now using the experience to help business leaders do better. His message was to empower women leaders need to lift up their own leadership skills first and along the way.
I met Baz Bennett at a conference last year, and the fascination of his experience as a former Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the British Army, stayed with me for many days after the conference. So he had to be on the series, Kate and I agreed. Kate hosted Baz in Episode 27: Real Models not Role Models. If you think it’s hard to create gender diversity in your business, you will change your mind after listening to Baz Bennett’s insights and experience of creating it in one of the least gender-diverse organisations. His challenges and success stories are very educational and inspirational. His voice of “We need real models, not just role models” will stay in your head forever.
"If Not Now, Then When?" is the familiar tone of a maverick CEO, Sally Pritchett, who was Kate’s 3rd guest in The Innovation Room in Episode 28. Sally shared her experiences of being a female leader and how she has worked to create a culture of diversity and inclusion within her organisation. Her no-nonsense, humorous approach to leadership challenges business leaders to think differently, act boldly.
I hope we have been able to bring a fresh and thought-provoking perspective with “Digital is From Venus”, that you are not being fair or nice if you are working towards gender balance in your organisation, you are being a sensible business leader. The ones who have been able to notice the shift in the concept. Leaders who understand their business survival is dependent on unlocking their own leadership skills, their organisational culture, and the urgency of the matter. The ones who are brave enough to ignite the feminine power within themselves and their organisations to innovate and to be more successful.