26 posts categorized "Leadership"

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 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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January 30, 2012

Optimistic in an uncertain world

Deloitte Davos installation - Why does your business exist?Last year, I described my Davos experience as being like going to Disneyland but not being allowed to try the rides. This year, attending as a delegate for the first time, gave me an Alpine rollercoaster experience – from the highs of meeting and hearing from inspirational innovators, entrepreneurs and experts in their fields, to the lows of some sobering economic debates.

The World Economic Forum has typically contained an element of future gazing – what is the 5-10 year outlook for business and society? This year, there was a much more short term feel, with a strong focus on solving the Eurozone crisis. Perhaps unsurprising, given the presence of Angela Merkel, David Cameron, and numerous finance leaders.

Davos is a great opportunity for me to spend time with the CEOs of our member firm clients, and to get a good sense of the latest thinking of political leaders, finance leaders, and regulators. It’s also a real opportunity to hear from experts in fields I wouldn’t normally hear from, for example, on the future of medicine. This broader agenda is not only personally interesting, but gives me new perspectives and challenges my thinking.

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January 25, 2012

Business leaders and ‘Millennials’ agree – the purpose of business is more than just profit

WEF_Annual_Meeting_2012_banner

The 2012 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum opened today in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Being here in Davos is exhilarating and inspiring – and the time always flies by so quickly.

One of the highlights of the day for me was taking part in a panel discussion chaired by London Business School professor Lynda Gratton. We discussed how the art and science of leadership are fundamentally changing in the 21st century. Another highlight today was helping lead discussion with other Forum delegates in a brainstorming session on the topic of the role of business in society.

These are subjects I feel strongly about. Earlier this week, Deloitte announced the results of a global survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), of business leaders’ attitudes on the purpose, impact, and leadership of business on society.

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January 05, 2012

Out with the old, in with the old

In his first-ever blog to start the new year, Simon Holland, Global Head of Strategic Change and Organizational Transformation, argues that it’s time for a radical review of leadership development programs

Most leadership development programs do little more than maintain the status quo. Long-term organizational change depends on behavioral change—and that depends on in-depth understanding of individuals and what motivates them

Jan 2012 resized imageHappy 2012. Given up giving up smoking/chocolate/drinking yet? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to research by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, often quoted at this time of year, more than four-fifths—88 percent to be exact—of all New Year’s resolutions end in failure. At this rate, the only resolution worth making is not to make a resolution.

Why is change so difficult for us? Why can’t we stick at things—even when we know they’re good for us?

I’ve been thinking about these kinds of questions a lot lately as colleagues get to grips with the problem of leadership development—and how it can be solved. Didn’t think leadership development needed fixing? Think again. Research by LEAD—Leadership Excellence at Deloitte—finds that only a puny 4.3 percent of leaders rate their organization’s leadership development as “very effective.” Most corporate efforts to make us better at our jobs fail to make a difference in the long term—much like those resolutions. Back at the office, lessons learned during a development program disappear faster than needles from the Christmas tree.

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December 21, 2011

When the consultant met Claus

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London
 
In its final blog for 2011, the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership marks the festive season with something a little different: an exclusive interview with the busiest boss in the world.
Happy Holidays

Working for the world’s biggest professional services firm can be tough. The hours. The globe-trotting. The expenses forms…

But it has its privileges.

Last week, a member of the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership team was lucky enough to meet one of the best-loved leaders in the world. A consummate strategist who has, for generations, controlled one of the biggest distribution networks in the West, using only the most basic technology and leaving minimal carbon footprint on earth, he shared his leadership secrets in a rare interview. And, as our gift to you this Christmas, we have pleasure in reproducing a transcript below.

Happy holidays!

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November 17, 2011

The shock of the old

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London

Forget innovation and originality, in the work of the consultant the old leadership lessons matter most.

Getting Unstuck imageA colleague recently complained to me that we don’t do anything new at Deloitte, just “re-visit old truths.”

“Would you prefer it if we re-visited old lies?” I replied—in an authoritative, yet avuncular way.

“Hmmm…” she murmured and returned, flat-footed, to her desk.

Had she been in the mood—and had I more time—I’d probably have treated her to a few “old truths” about consultants. But her loss, dear reader, is your gain.

The fact is we seldom trade in new things. Scientists offer discoveries and breakthroughs; consultants, generally, experience and insight.

In my field, leadership, a subject anatomized for thousands of years—think of the Tao Te Ching and The Republic—there’s little we can come up with that hasn’t been thought of before. Our job is not to re-invent the wheel but to add new value to those old truths—and help clients apply the lessons of leadership in ways that will benefit their organizations. We’re about practical solutions for old problems—transformations, possibly; revolutions, no.

Why do old problems keep recurring? Why can’t leadership lessons just be learned once?

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November 01, 2011

Get the meter running

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London

Forget the mission statement—poems and stories can be more powerful leadership tools.

08 Thinkstock - Image - FireworksIt’s the start of November, and some of the most well-known lines in English poetry are circling in my head: Remember, remember, the fifth of November/Gunpowder, treason and plot/I see no reason why the Gunpowder Treason/Should ever be forgot.

Yes, all over Britain, this rhyme is being reprised as people get ready to commemorate the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes and a band of fellow Catholics were, allegedly, “catch’d” in an attempt to blow up the House of Lords and kill James I, the Protestant king. Lock up your dogs, England. It’s the annual firework-fest again.

Originally meant as a time of thanksgiving for the failure of the gunpowder plot—and for the preservation of the king—Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night is these days an excuse for a party, not a show of patriotism. When it passed the Observance of 5th November Act in 1606, the English Parliament could ne’er have imagined the hooley the thing’s become. Firework displays now tend to be large-scale, organized affairs—designed to pull in the punters and the pounds.

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October 13, 2011

Mirror, mirror

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London

When people select leaders, their brains it seems are conditioned into thinking "might is right." Give the impression of physical frailty and you’re immediately on the also-ran list. Isn’t it time to reverse this ancient prejudice?

MirrorFall, or autumn as we call it here in the UK, is the season of shorter days and longer nights, barer trees, and bigger utility bills. Time to huddle round the focus of the home—the plasma TV screen—and pour yourself a glass of something restorative.

A word of warning, though: If you find yourself misty-eyed and mellow it might not be the wine—it might be the commercial break. According to research recently published by Dr Ian Cook of the University of California (UCLA), ads that feature good-looking models turn our minds—in layman’s terms—to mush.

Watch a commercial that links a product or brand with physical attractiveness and the level of activity in the emotional processing and decision-making parts of your brain falls. You’re more gullible, more uninhibited, less advertising-literate.

Dr Cook’s findings confirm what most of us already knew and they’re unlikely to keep anyone awake at night. Good-looking people influence the choices we make as consumers? You’ve probably already filed that nugget of information under “That’s Life.”

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