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7 posts from February 2012

February 21, 2012

Reflecting on 'The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment' workshop

BIAC, AMCHAM France and OECD workshopThe recent joint workshop on the business case for women’s economic empowerment which I chaired at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris was, I hope, another small step to integrating women’s experiences, perspectives, and voices into the fabric of our organizations, systems, and societies. Over 120 experts from around the world had gathered, including the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD and the OECD Deputy Secretary General, and representatives of business, government, and investor communities.

It was a joint meeting between the OECD; BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD; and the American Chamber of Commerce in France and the aim of the day was to provide a business perspective and best practice experience to the OECD’s Gender Initiative. A report on the shared ideas will go forward to the 2012 OECD Ministerial and Forum to be held in May.

The levels of engagement in the discussion reflected just how important an issue this is for many, and for many reasons. What was being discussed didn’t seem to be mostly about the research and the data. It was much more grounded in common-sense and shared experience. Several people mentioned President Obama’s recent remarks on the subject and used them as their starting point. He had said that what we are talking about when we talk of women taking a much greater place in the economic structure is very simply that we want the same opportunities for our daughters as we want for our sons. Put like that the issue becomes very simple and almost unarguable.

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February 14, 2012

Once more with feeling

In his second blog of 2012, Simon Holland, Global Head of Strategic Change and Organizational Transformation, explains why making emotional connections with people is one of the hallmarks of great leadership

Emotions have always been a business taboo. It’s time to redress the balance. Feelings not facts move people to action when implementing decisions

Valentine's cork boardIt’s Valentine’s Day and my thoughts are turning inevitably to warm and fuzzy things: feelings and relationships. However, my inspiration for this month’s blog is not Saint Valentine himself, but some of the most eminent leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

A couple of books, The Corner Office and The Language of Leaders, have been brought to my attention. The former is by Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist Adam Bryant; the latter by communications expert Kevin Murray, a South African who’s spent most of his working life in Britain. They’re both based on transcripts of interviews with leaders, many of them big names, and they offer some strikingly similar lessons. Chief among them is this: the soft stuff matters—and it matters hugely. Leaders who don’t understand people and know how to communicate with them are lost. Business, as Jeff Swartz of Timberland reminds us in The Corner Office, is personal.

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February 10, 2012

Public sector, disrupted

Dollar bill arrowThe global public sector is under massive financial pressure. But that’s only one of its challenges. Citizens—the public sector’s customers—are also demanding better value for their taxes. And that includes dealing with government in new ways. With every sector of the modern economy and society changing in response to new technologies and social practices, citizens can’t help but wonder why so many government offerings remain shackled by the practices of yesterday.

These conditions indicate that the time is right to bring the principles and practices of disruptive innovation to the public sector. As a recently retired U.S. government senior executive, I am, of course, quite familiar with government’s ability to avoid change until it in fact becomes unavoidable. This persistent late adoption of new and more efficient technologies and processes costs government money, efficiencies, and, perhaps, most importantly, credibility. That’s why public sector executives everywhere need to become familiar with the concepts behind disruptive innovation and consider where in their organization they can plant the seeds of change.

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February 06, 2012

Ladies first

Ladies First ad banner

Ladies first: An old adage, but one that was top of mind on 2 February 2012 at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), AmCham France, and OECD joint workshop on the economic empowerment of women. And so it should be. Women are a critical resource in facing the challenges of our global economy, both as an emerging market and as a significant pool of human talent.  Further, gender diversity creates the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide.

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February 03, 2012

Davos…A thrilling experience

WEF Davos villageLast week at the World Economic Forum in Davos was a whirlwind - the three days go by in a heartbeat. The DTTL Global Manufacturing Industry group is serving its second term as the executive industry partner for the Forum’s Chemical sector leading a project focused on Collaborative Innovation. Because of our involvement, this was my second opportunity attending the Annual Meeting.

Each day at Davos is filled with activities from day to night. My first day (Wednesday 25 January) started off by attending a panel led by DTTL CEO Barry Salzberg entitled The New Context for Leadership. Barry cited several interesting observations from DTTL’s point of view on Business: Society. The panel joining Barry was a diverse group that discussed a wide range of topics focused on leadership. One interesting statistic from the report that Barry pointed out was that 73 percent of business leaders believe that their core business activities make a positive contribution to society, but only 25 percent think it is well know by their customer, consumers, and clients. The panel shared with the audience interesting observations about the impact their company’s contributions are making to society.

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February 02, 2012

Call to action: Bringing together politics, business, and individuals for global solutions

Blog_wef_annualmeeting_gathering“Knowing is not enough; we must also apply. Willing is not enough; we must also act.”

This quote by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has accompanied me through the days in Davos at this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Seeing the pressing issues to be resolved has filled me with a sense of responsibility, corporate as well as personal. Yet no one person, company, or nation can achieve this alone. Change will only happen through dialogue and mutual respect; Davos offers a perfect forum to foster this conversation and build this respect.

Only together can we address and hope to resolve the big themes our world is facing:

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February 01, 2012

Harnessing the potential of women in the workforce

Yoriko Goto in DavosI have just spent a fascinating week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The theme for 2012, The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models, covered several topics such as shifts of geopolitical and geo-economic power, multiculturalism, technological innovation, and job creation. For example, academics and business leaders put forth the idea of job creation that focuses on the hundreds of millions of people that will enter the job market in the next decade. Businesses that will gain a competitive advantage in the future will be those that focus on talent by fostering entrepreneurial risk-taking and achieving true gender equality.

Against this backdrop of gender equality discussions, one of the highlights of the week for me was the Gender Parity session on Friday. As the leader of the Japanese Financial Services Industry practice at Deloitte Japan and the first female represented on the Deloitte Japan Executive Board, I am passionate about shaping employment and leadership opportunities for women. I had the privilege of talking to leaders from around the world in this interactive workshop about their experiences, and how to improve opportunities and career paths for women leaders in the future.

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