“Better Balance, Better Business” was the theme for this year’s annual conference of The Women’s Business Forum held on 8 October at the Sofitel Heathrow – even bigger and better than last year.
Along with a great line up of interesting speakers was Dr Ines Wichert, Senior Psychologist at the Kenexa High Performance Institute. She helped to set out the business case for gender diversity using research conducted by Work Trends in 2012, presenting data which demonstrates that a strong organisational diversity climate delivers the following:
- almost 3x higher performance confidence
- 4x higher rates of innovation
- 2x higher customer orientation
From Ines’s presentation it would appear that one of the factors contributing to these important ‘business critical’ improvement factors are the researched differences in personality traits between men and women. These generally lead to important variations in their respective leadership styles.
Although there will be exceptions with a proportion of men displaying those traits most associated with women, and of course vise-versa – in general men tend to score higher on the ‘ASSERTIVENESS’ spectrum, which includes the following associated traits:
- Management by Exception
- Building Confidence
By contrast, women tend to score higher on the ‘NURTURANCE’ spectrum which includes the following traits:
- Developing Others
So… it would appear that when organisations support diversity and inclusion business benefits accrue, including at executive level where ‘better balance = better business’. Indeed another conference speaker, Ed Alford, Vice President of Enterprise Systems, BP Group plc was clear that team behaviours had rapidly improved following his commitment and action to drive an improved gender balance for his top team.
So the business case for gender diversity is clear, but for the purposes of this article, I want to also share a very useful career development approach – again presented by Dr Ines Wichert, the 11-Factor Model.
Have a look at the model and assess just how proactive you’re being right now on an individual basis?
And secondly just how effective are you at levering your immediate work environment to raise your reputation and profile?
Finally, in the coming “war for talent” don’t hold back from being ‘loud and proud’ of who you are, but also take steps to develop a more nuanced set of leadership skills – behaviours that develop followership and team engagement – and also take personal responsibility for not only being very good at what you do, but also for your next career move.
Give me a nudge if you’d like to explore further what all this might mean for YOU.