Smashing the glass ceiling
Attitudes might be changing, but lip service to diversity is still depressingly common. Ambitious women eying top jobs continue to hit up against the glass ceiling, denied the opportunity and confidence to succeed. The old boys’ club is very much alive and well.
Approached by a European Financial Services Client to design and deliver a talent development programme as part of their diversity agenda, aimed at levelling the playing field, their target of 35% female board appointments by 2019 was refreshingly ambitious; and way beyond anything set by the UK Government.
Operating a network of branches across Central and Eastern Europe they were conscious of the need to manage diverse expectations of female staff in different regions. Women working in Eastern European countries were characterised by a real confidence and belief they could move up to board level. Not so in Central Europe, where this expectation was egregiously absent.
Our Client already had an established Women’s Network with two clear developmental priorities:
- to help prepare women both physically and mentally – being more professional
- to develop a strategic network – ‘constructive politicking’.
Building from this base, we created a blended development journey focused on these key areas,
- Creating a powerful personal brand
- Networking and stakeholder management
- Influencing others and negotiating with success
- Becoming an effective leader
- Career enhancement.
OnTrack Measured Results
The first programme was a great success. Cohort one has emerged, not just with new skills, but with real self-belief. Entrenched attitudes towards Senior Leadership positions are giving way to a confidence and expectation that women can go all the way. And plans are already in place for a second group to start their development journey and make their mark at the top. More than tokenism, a new culture is taking root.
Feedback has been extremely positive:
“The topics chosen are a big part of the success of the course, but the participants chosen played a very important role since the ideas exchanged during the course were at least as useful as the information taught.”
“The networking events were absolutely great, because were inspirational, insightful and pleasant.”
“The opportunity to actually been given dedicated time, space and the guidance of a great team to facilitate our learning was invaluable in itself. The training encourages women in the professional world to reflect on the notions of leadership, where you are now and where you want to be and equips you with good theory and tools to continue the journey and be deliberate about it. An excellent idea and training.”