Statistics, gender quotas and corporate pledges. We’ve all seen them, questioned them and then dismissed them – but why? Even as a strong advocate of initiatives to encourage more senior female hires, I’m not surprised that approaches derived from mathematical equations aren’t getting the traction they deserve.
Having worked solely in the change & transformation space for the last 10 years, I find myself thinking that surely the culture and DNA of an organisation needs to change first before this particular deliverable can be hit.
SWITCH (Senior Women in Transformation & Change) is a women-only network, set up purely for those who operate in this space. This specialist agenda makes it very different from corporate diversity groups. It helps members address wider business challenges such as digitalisation and operational efficiency, while at the same time exposing organisations to the qualities women possess in a business context.
Launched by WBMS in July 2016, SWITCH provides both formal workshops and more relaxed networking events which help facilitate introductions between organisations who want to transform and the professionals who are skilled enough to execute. The only difference is that they all happen to be women.
It could be argued that this approach is a far more effective way to close the gender gap than trying to hit quotas for board members, because hiring female change professionals has ‘business success’ as its primary objective. The secondary objective is to show-case talent – which is a subtle, yet effective way of gaining business buy-in to the necessary investment needed at all levels to support the organic growth of a truly diverse workforce.
The art of delivering successful change is to engage with those being effected- at all levels, clearly demonstrate the benefits and communicate throughout the process. Follow this less scientific, less tangible equation and you are definitely heading for success.
I believe that closing the gender gap should be less about corporate image and female board presence and much more about showcasing female talent at all levels. Engaging with female interims is a fantastic way to marry business success with female hires. And over time, this will mean that transformation, re-branding, digital innovation and efficiency will increasingly be associated with women.
JOIN THE SWITCH NETWORK
If you feel you are a senior consultant working within the transformation and change profession who would benefit from the opportunity to network with your peers, as well as attend high level workshops, feel free to get in touch. Please note that this is an invitation only network.