hiring for gender diversity


on the 1st of September 2012, I set myself the goal of hiring 50 of the best female engineers in Asia during the following year. The context is a chronic low ratio in the individual contributor and management population of my teams combined with a rapid rate of growth that allows for these positions to be opening up. With 400+ staff, an attrition rate of 5% opens up 20 jobs and growth rates expected to be even larger – 50 is a reasonable target.

Why am I driving to make an impact here? it’s a moral issue 1st and foremost. A moral issue of fairness, we should leave no-one behind and opportunity should be fairly distributed. However, it is also an issue of strategic imperative  – as diversity and inclusion trend toward the norm, our environment changes. At the cutting edge we have to move faster to stay ahead and in a diverse customer reality, we will gain a commercial advantage in having a rich pool of diverse talent to serve those customers. the third, not completely irrelevant fact is that the more diverse the workplace, the more fun I have!

what I am hoping to learn are transformational behaviours, process and tools that will give me a competitive edge in what would be a proud legacy of diversity and inclusion hiring in Asia.

when starting to prepare some research – there are unlikely to be many more bald a reminder of the attitudes of many past and present. this from http://www.analytictech.com/mb021/gender.htm

In the past, all women in the workplace were automatically assigned to temporary or part-time or low responsibility jobs because it was understood that their first priority was taking care of their families. Unmarried women were likely to quit as soon as they married (often to an up-and-coming executive in the company), and married women were likely to quit as soon as the became pregnant. Women with children were understood to care more about the children than about work. In addition, there was a widespread belief that women were not as capable as men, either physically or mentally or emotionally.

action plan:

1) sourcing : it’s illuminating to compare Computer Science degree and CCIE pass rates and ratios of women to men with the workforce – indeed, I will be using this as the baseline for success in building the pipeline

2) hiring : there are ways that we tell the story of our jobs and careers that inhibit or accelerate attraction to diverse workforce; then there are ways we handle prospects that get in our way, or build even stronger pipelines

3) retention : great! you made the new employee orientation meeting 🙂 but now – how do we ensure and build a career for you?

Advertisements

What does work life balance really mean?


what does work life balance really mean?

Balance and Fulcrum

most weeks I have a coaching session with a colleague or client that involves some discussion around their “work life balance” and what that really means so I will share here what I have learned and encourage you to contribute your own learning: but the most important thing is to understand the role of the fulcrum in achieving balance and understanding what it all really means.

Here we go then. The challenge presented is “how do I achieve a good work / life balance”?

Q1: what do you mean? what I hear is “how do I balance the things I must do with the things I would chose to do” – starting to look more interesting?
Q2: do you understand that the pressure you wish to release is you as the fulcrum with the desire to complete the things you must do with the things you would choose to do?

As soon as you understand the questions above there is a “penny drops” moment – the problem is not so much the balance but the overloading either end of the scales. Too much on either end, even when in balance, is simply too great a pressure on the fulcrum (you).

Take a little bit off both ends… find some things that just don’t matter that much and ease back on just a little of the stuff you merely want to do.

some reference questions I squirreled away:
@Ghrow
#WorkLifeBalance How many hours a day do you work? Should employers help their staff find a more efficient way to work within shorter hours?

You deserve what you tolerate

Working more than 11 hours a day increases the risk of heart disease by 67% compared to 8 hours! #WorkLifeBalance http://t.co/covIc7h

4 tips for how to give great review feedback


It’s that time of year for many of us, when staff reviews are due. If like me, you are snowed under with requests for feedback – here are some thoughts on how to make the input you give great and the process as painless as possible for you!

1) Remember it is a privilege to give actionable feedback to peers and colleagues. Authentic engagement in the growth of others is a wonderful attribute (I admit it, this can be challenging after the first 5 or 6). To make it actionable I love the advice Kathryn Britton gives to

  • Tell people what to keep (what you love them to do)
  • Feedback that leads to higher goals
  • Reach for the best of you (not be more like me!)

2) Imagine a face to face conversation. You do need to be honest but don’t say something you would not say looking the colleague in the eye. Most likely you will be very specific with either your good or bad feedback if you are face to face – so don’t waffle with bland hints in your written feedback.

3) Be fearless. Just as Edmond Burke said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil was for good men to do nothing” The same is true for reviews and the opportunities to provide feedback for colleagues. Your choice here is to stand up and be counted. It is increasingly important to many corporations that just getting the work done is necessary but not sufficient. This is a great time to pull out the Corporate Values, tenets or other PR / HR material that the organisation uses to set it’s aspirations if you are struggling to benchmark a behaviour that you feel it appropriate to give feedback on

4) Take time: I can’t do more than 3 reviews in a row justice. So if I have fifteen to complete, 3 before lunch each day for the week is my goal.

Other resources:

7 ways to make feedback more valuable

How to give feedback so people can hear it

Critiquing etiquette: six ways to provide gracious feedback

Advocating: a leaders muscle


It is an important challenge to address, and I’ve learned the hard way, that the most powerful advocate for the team is the Leader; the most likely to be out of touch with the will of the group is also me, the Leader.

My enemy is my growing emotional intelligence, which will lull me into believing I am super connected to the zeitgeist when more likely I am growing more influential and powerful which means there is no question that many are beginning to tell me exactly what they think I want to hear. The Emperor is beginning to have New Clothes!

If you take the study of leaders and leadership seriously (highly likely if you are reading this!) are beginning to learn that your experience and growth in part depend on an instinctive intuition, your growing inner compass helping you be more and more effective as a leader – but my experience is that it is exactly this that starts you on a fork from what is really going on in the team.

  • As a wiser soul you spot this and embark on a tactical set of methods to keep your connections
  • Informal chats with co-workers at ‘off duty’ numeral ground, the coffee pot, the corridor, the lunch queue
  • skip level one to ones
  • Listening tours
  • Office hours
  • Employee polls
  • Formal feedback tools

But it is all a waste of time if you have already decided, are not actually listening or even if you are listening slip into post rationalization as a method for proving your intuition was right all along.

It is important to know what is on the mind of the group and not because you should parrot it. That lacks authenticity and I am not a fan of the concept of ‘servant leader’ (not because I am not a fan of the excellent and nurturing shepherd) but because I believe leadership is more than administration, requires risk and inspiration, creativity and failure making the shepherd role necessary but not sufficient for great leaders. It is important because of the critical role of advocate. To trust and to follow you your constituents need to know you will advocate for them with fairness, equity and consistency. How can you do that if you don’t know what matters?

As well as not parroting, you are not seeking popularity – if you learn what the group believes and you know it to be wrong, mistaken, misguided still you must stand against it, offer another way while giving the belief validation and representation anyway.

To hear and not listen is about as stupid as a leader can be. Exercise your advocates muscle every day. Go! Start now..

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

So you want to be a leader? Be an evangelist/enthusiast!


Develop the habit of being all about what you stand for, what others can believe in. The bad habit is to be the critic who has become cynical – and can only be evaluated by all the things you are against, dislike or believe worthless.

I would need a sociologist or behavioural physiologist to fully explain the phenomena – but closely related to “Bad News Sells” is the fact that crowds, groups, choose to pay attention to the cynic, the knocker over the evangelist, enthusiast. However, don’t be fooled by that attention – who and what they follow is rich, wholesome and creative when it is the evangelist, enthusiast.

We only need tune into twitter or the TV to find a deluge of folks purporting to lead but with nothing other than bile and negative intent for us to consume because it can be

  • entertaining in small doses,
  • readily available,
  • no doubt cheap
  • a quick road to ‘fame’ if you are shallow enough to buy it.

However, we also find hidden gems, little nuggets of the human spirit making a different choice, to stand up and be counted as being for something we can build or create together – how refreshing and energising is that?!

I talk of this in terms of habits and it is important to think of it thematically that way, since it’s easy to fall into this bad habit everyday, in every meeting or communication. There are tips and tricks, and I’m as sceptical as anyone when they stray toward the politically correct, such as ‘find and replace’ problem with opportunity for example – but that is not what I am talking about here. What I am talking about is an authentic belief in something or someplace that you describe again and again and again.

Good would be things you are going to create, transform, build or become. Bad would be things you would beat, destroy, marginalise.

bottom line – The cynic drags crowds to the bottom – The leader draws followers to the top

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

You’re too nice – and that’s a problem


Develop a habit of shooting projects and ideas in the head not in the foot.

It is not my job to be nice – it is my job to make good, clear decisions that further the interests of the business – yet so often I can be tempted with laziness and fear of failure dressed up as compassion or fair play or worst of all incubation innovation. When I do this, I shot something in the foot since I was unprepared to invest resource as a priority when really, I should have shot it in the head.

If I am not going to commit to the success (and I mean commit resources) of a project, make certain that no-one else is either. That means targeting the wounded, unsupported projects that limp about the campus dragging their bloody stumps of project plans and milestones with them – and terminating them.

There have been mammoth Darwinian contests between equal teams that result in spectacular innovation and rate of progress, and I am not talking about those since their success involves at some point the ingestion of the rival or it’s natural demise – no, I’m talking about the hubris programs, the vanity projects that simply should not be drawing a single bean of resource from shareholders and staff alike.

My job is to be rigorous, apply the rules fairly and consistently and develop a habit of killing off stone dead an idea or plan whose time has not come or that I cannot provide adequate resources for given my current priority.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

What does ‘Trust’ mean?


Within the context of Leadership – trust means your actions are:

Predictable, dependable, & repeatable

Copyright (c) 2011 James Stanbridge Picture of Trust

A Picture of Trust

As I look back on my own career, the consistent complaint is that I “randomize” the team – what they are telling me here is that I am “unpredictable” and no matter how hard I try (and I do) to tell myself that constant unpredictability is really predictable, this has been a struggle and a challenge for me personally and one that I pay a lot of attention to. What works for me is to try to connect through my communications a predictable cluster of goals and methods. Caring about the same things week in week out.

If in January I stated the goal to be raising by 20pts service quality for the consumer – in March, July and September this must be my headline too. And I need to be authentic to sustain this effort. Picking service quality for the consumer would have been totally fake if it did not make my blood boil and rage when I see it drop or ignored.

There is a lot in common here with the themes on focus vs priority – and in parables of great leadership and that is: members of your constituency, your followers must be able to predict accurately your stance. You can’t hope to be everywhere and in every meeting – so you should expect and create opportunities for your leadership to become a thing others can put in their pocket and pull out when they need it – “Stanbridge would say… ” or “I was chatting to Stanbridge about blah and he believes…” . Do watch out for your own ego here – there is a real trap you get far to impressed with yourself here and I’ll write a post about how you need your circle of influence to help you ‘keep it real’

Dependable is a nuance of trust that is deeply important to you followers – when they see a broad email thread for example, they must be able to depend on you paying attention, diverting, burying or what ever action they depend on you to take. In order to achieve this you must regularly talk about what matters to you and as importantly – what does not. For example – I don’t chose to spend all day reading and replying to email, so I have to chose large swathes of email not to read or pay attention to. Most of my team know not to cc me on email if they want it acted on. Either you are having a dialogue with me or you are not.

Fanatics make surprisingly good leaders (well, not so surprising if you apply what I said above)

fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. Churchill

It is a good test to ask yourself

Do my team think I am a

  1. Good Leader?
  2. FANATICAL Leader?

if the answer is 2) then you will be able to spot that you are inspiring Missionaries and not Mercenaries (thanks to Martin Walker for that quote!)

I’m suggesting here that you can’t invest heavily enough in developing your authentic, led from within leadership. Go! start now

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine