Thursday, 14 November 2013

Are you heroic? The 5 point plan to embed diversity.





A Hero in mythology often have close but challenging relationships with the gods.  In order to embed diversity we need to be heroic by being close to the business and challenging the behaviour. 

So how do we do it? Here are the 5 key areas we need business to be heroic at: 

  1. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. 
Training is not enough.  We need to embed equality into as many relevant courses as possible.  It’s possible to embed it into presentation skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence courses, interviewing skills, career management, dealing with difficult people and many more.  Just like the need to embed the company values into ways of work, we need to embed equality not keep it separate.  We need to align training with appraisals, Key performance indicators and bonuses. Lip service doesn’t work, costs money and doesn’t get results. 

     2. Discuss bias and unconscious bias to reduce it’s impact.
Senior leaders need to understand we are all biased.  They need to take the Implicit Association tests to understand their unconscious biases more honestly.  If we accept it we can change it. 

     3. Get Leadership buy in to model best behaviour in the business 
Leaders need to show and demonstrate their buy in to diversity by talking about it and demonstrating it.  Each leader will do this in different ways.  They need to know about the scientific evidence eg we are more likely to make stereotypical judgements when under pressure; if we actively tell ourselves not to be biased before making decisions we are likely to act accordingly. 

Leaders need to mentor and be an advocate for more women.  They need to seek out opportunities to do this.  They need to be heroic in how they lead the equality agenda and their networking strategy. 

      4. Know your equality numbers 
Businesses are quite reluctant to share their equality numbers.  Why is this?  It is only with transparency that we can get clarity.  Only with clarity can we measure change. There are many companies and academics keen to help crunch the numbers confidentially. Only by identifying the business blockages are can we clear them! 


      5. Support the home agenda. 
Flexible working has a bad name with our male colleagues.  It is synonymous with being side-lined.  Some are trying to change it by putting forward the business case for flexibility eg moving to a 24 hour business culture therefore the need for agile working.  

Whatever we call it we have to align the business culture with the culture of the next generation and the needs of parents.  

The next generation want a culture they can flourish in, where they can have a family or pursue other interests outside of work.  If businesses don’t offer it, the next generation will search elsewhere. And women and men, will keep leaving their senior roles until this is addressed. 


So in business we need to be heroic because 
We need to embed the policy not just write it.  
We need to show behaviour not just talk about it. 
We need to know the numbers not guess them. 
We need to own our bias not ignore it. 
We need to understand flexibility not sideline flexibility. 

Why do this? Because more women at the top mean an increase in financial return, organisational health and innovative leadership decisions. That’s a quest worth fighting for. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

McKinsey's report on Gender: How to affect change through facts.



McKinsey Women Matter video

Have a look at the above link which takes you to a video on the McKinsey website.

It's great to hear so much evidence all in one place.  Here are the key points with my thoughts;

When we have more women at the top it: 

increases financial return of the company and
increases scores on organisational health
increases the diversity of leadership behaviour

They point out in the video how women differ in decision making.

Men tend to be better at making individual decisions and taking corrective action
Women tend to be better at collaborative decision making and worry about the environment

Just like Cherie Blair said on the "Today programme" on BBC Radio 4 the other day "we don't want a female monopology....we need both"

Notice we've used the word "tend". We are not stereotyping simply noticing a trend. There are plenty of men and women who buck this trend too. But that's another blog!

Having just chaired a group of senior heads of Diversity, Equality and inclusion for The Work Foundation on Friday, I know what we want are answers on how to embed diversity at work.  McKinsey found the initiatives that work had to have a few criteria in place:

1. It's not what you do but how well you do it.  As a trainer, I so understand this.  You can bring in a large training company that will tick a box but not create lasting change.  We need to embed Equality into our training programmes so it embeds into the company.  This doesn't happen with a one off course  unless other things are in place eg reflection in the culture and understanding of management.

2. A visible CEO and senior management buying into equality from the top to the bottom so it's obvious the company are not just paying lip-service but taking this seriously.

I've come across companies that have great policies but don't embed them into their practise.  It's only with this embedding that true culture change can take place.

3. They know the numbers within their company, where the blockages are, so the initiatives are targeted to those points in the pipeline.

I recently delivered a training course in a large financial institution, to a number of Middle teer women. Women in their early 30s mainly who were thinking about having a family.  It was a huge success. One of the reasons it was a success was because L&D worked closely with me to create a bespoke offering.  I was also given the freedom to create space for discussions that wasn't in the brief.  This led to us understanding that the women were worried about the culture of the institution vs their family values.

They kept hearing about women who made it to the top with a family but the way they did it involved nannies, taxiing children to work to say goodnight and only seeing their children at the weekend.  A lot of the women in that room didn't want to be a mother like that, even if the father was halving the duties.

These women didn't feel they could speak up about how they felt and yet without speaking up, how can the business make the changes to the culture to keep these dynamic, successful women? We need to have open facilitated discussions to find the possible solutions, of which there are many!

I'd also like to point out that many family-oriented men are making a difference by asking to work one day at home.  This is really helping businesses see that the family value of seeing your children is not simply a 'female' issue.

4. Challenge the mindsets. It seems that even if the top are bought into the idea as you go down the business chain to middle management their mindsets are much more embedded.  "That job isn't good for a women" "women are too emotional" "if a woman fails at a job it will put back the woman's initiative by 10 years"

This area is key.  We need to embed behaviour.  We have all heard of ineffective training programme.  I was speaking to a friend of mine who said one of his team went to a Diversity Training programme and said "I'm off to be PC'd".  This isn't really in the spirit of the course! A 3 hour or day training course will not change a mindset on it's own. Only by embedding equality into all training courses can we really tackle this. It's so easily done.

Childcare and business: 
In the McKinsey video Jin Wang of McKinsey Singapore talks about the importance of family in Asia.

Mid to senior women (in Asia) volunteer to leave their jobs (because of children and families)l.  So it's "only with cultural and practical changes" that you will keep these women

What we will increasingly find is people choosing to work for businesses that have equality practises embedded into the company.  In HR magazine they reported the top family friendly company in 2013 was Plantronics for their inclusions and flexible working offerings. 

I recently spoke to a very successful Head of DEI who told me about how his company had such good equality practises businesses were choosing to work with them.

Lots of companies are also providing creche's and childcare onsite to help working parents.

The Future: 
All the women at McKinsey are very positive about the future.  "We need to get to a point of critical mass so subsequent generations of talent are even better than we are.  It's gonna happen"

I completely agree.  There are too many senior people who believe that this is essential for business to embrace equality.  As someone who trains in communication I see equality as I see variety of personality types.  If we want to influence those around us we need to have a flexible mindset and get on with lots of different personality types.  We also need to get on with people with different value systems. When we do we create a more dynamic innovative team.  We know that diverse teams create successful teams.  Equality is simply another layer to this.

If we see beyond gender, race, culture, disability, LBGT, we will see that if we look for diversity and reflection of our customer base we will increase our business success.  If we look beyond the challenges to keep these people in our workforce we will reep the benefits of their varied and innovative point of view.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

New for the news?




We've all been there - being wrong footed by someone who speaks and thinks in a different way from us.  Interviewers may come upon it more often than others - it's part of the job after all.  But there was something more in this interview by Jeremy Paxman interviewing Russell Brand.

Normally when you see an interview, politicians use what called in the trade "milton language". Milton language is the use of big picture language eg "Yes we can"; 'We can do this together".  Brand uses phrases like "why would anyone vote for it, why would anyone be interested". "I'm calling for change"

And historically the journalist wants to pin down data by asking questions that use "Meta Language".  Paxman says "Why should be take you seriously ,when you're so unspecific".  Meta language is about drilling down.  Picking out words and asking for more clarity.

So that is the norm in interviewing. We're used to hearing it and even when politicians avoid questions; bridge to another question or flag up an issue that they want the questioner to ask; we know they've thought about the boundaries of what they will say. It's all been thought through.

What's different about this interview is the freeness of the communication. The honest open endedness about it.  Saying there will be a revolution but we don't know how.  "There are people who know what to do but I don't have all the answers".  Can you imagine a politician or business owner saying this - probably not and when it does happen, we notice it.  Usually it's only part of an interview not the majority of it.

Yet we live in a world where increasingly politicians and business people can't know everything that is going on.  A time when innovation is key and new ways essential to consider.

When I'm in a training room there can be two ways to go:

You tell people things
You work out things together.

Telling people things might be interesting but when you work out things together they tend to last longer and have greater impact.

Also if you are trying to find new ways of working; new ways of innovating - telling doesn't work. You've got to be willing to say silly things that might not make 100% sense.

Bill Clinton said in a talk I went to see at an Entrepreneur's Conference last year that he wished for a day when more politicians would say "I made a mistake, it didn't work; so I'm going to try something else".  Politicians aren't often allowed that freedom.

The language of innovation is when you speak and you don't know the answer; it's a creative way of working out the next steps. It's not usually the language of political news programmes.  This kind of talk is for roundtables, for group discussions.

What was so fascinating about Brand was his honesty and unashamed inability to have all the answers. What was so captivating was seeing humour in politics; fun in the news.

The juxtaposition was innovative.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

5 things we could do today to reduce our bias.

Unconscious bias is alive and well.  We all have it so there's no point in denying it.  However we can make changes through self awareness and noticing our behaviour. 

We as a species, in the 21st century, have unconscious bias towards women as leaders.  It's true talking about it highlights this issue.  The only way of tackling it is by noticing it.  Therefore we can't eliminate it until we deal with it.  There aren't enough people yet aware of how it affects behaviour in the home and at work.  

I know I'm an optimist however realistically with the right momentum and interest I believe we can reach that tipping point sooner if we all take action.  

So how do we do it?

1. Get Assertive at home.  We need to identify our biases at home with our partners to create equality in the household and in parenting.  

2. Have awareness at work.  We may not be able to change other people's behaviour but we can change our own.  If we notice behaviour as bias, we stop blaming ourselves for not being heard and build positive beliefs.  Desire overcomes fear.  Once we increase our awareness about bias it helps us choose our reactions and our belief systems more wisely. This is not an excuse for a blame cycle but with acknowledgement we can then influence more effectively. 

3. Watch your language.  Aim to address your own biases about other women and other people who go against the norm.  Notice what you are saying to yourself and challenge it.  Be positive about other women. Remember the Madeleine Albright quote "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women".  Don't be that woman! 

4. Be a sponsor and advocate.  In the pub, in a meeting and at home, listen to women, don't shrug them off.  Also support and praise women rather than say negative comments about them.  

5. Develop friendships with people who are different.  Most of us have friends that compliment and are different from us.  Have a look at your circle of friends - is there anyone you don't include because they're different?  Be brave and find people who look different to you and have different views.  

There are so many proactive things we can do to bring diversity into our lives and develop awareness in our beliefs and language patterns.  What one thing could you do differently in the next week?



HBR overview about Women in Leadership

I joined in a Google Hangout with Harvard Business Review.  Sarah Green interviewed Amy Bernstein both from HBR.  It was my first hangout and a great discussion.

Here’s what was said:

THE TOPIC
This is a topic that makes people role their eyes and most of HBR’s readership is men.  So they wanted to create a story that would interest all the readership.  They came up with the front cover you see above.

The cover was used because women in leadership are criticized as being too emotional, too bossy or too nice and these are words used for women not men in leadership

SECONDARY OR UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Amy said the article was  important to women she talked to because it helped put words to the action.  Women saw it, noticed it but hadn’t named it.

A watcher asked  “by having a cover about women as leaders  [is this] not extending the bias – we wouldn’t have a cover about men as leaders.”  Amy responded by explaining that bias is there and we wont change it unless we talk about it. Also any article about women in leadership is also about men in leadership.  It’s about any group of people who are not in power ie anyone who is not a middle class white male.

There is a bias towards people that aren’t like you.  We need to create companies that help us understand all differences.

We stop looking at this concept when we have no problem. She doesn’t think it’s any time soon.

WHEN WILL WE GET THERE

Sarah mentioned that it could take 300 years until women are equal to men. Amy argued that it is most likely to be a sensational statistic because there is probably going to be a tipping point.

We’ve come a long way in many businesses.  Business are increasingly looking at ability not how people look and where they went to college.

THE FUTURE

Amy discussed how you can’t lure young people with money the way you could lure other generations

You need to have structures and rewards that helps the next generation unleash their talents and love what they do.. There has to be hand in hand progress with women fixing themselves and businesses fixing themselves.  You have to have them in both, which is where the tipping point comes in. Once we start to react to women as leaders and reward them for it, we will start seeing change.  

TEAM WORK AND THE BOTTOM LINE

Are some companies doing this better than others? Those companies that help women develop and in the process help all people in the process

There has been lots of research into team work and its conclusions are: A diverse response is a better response.  You have to watch your echo chamber ie who you listen to.  You need to make sure you have more diverse feedback  as this will help you make a better decision  

This is part of the business case for diversity. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Act Now or Lose Women to Entrepreneurship

Today the CIPD announced in their press release that business had to Use top female talent or lose it. 

http://www.cipd.co.uk/pressoffice/press-releases/CIPD-warns-business-use-top-female-talent-or-lose-it-150813.aspx

"it is clear that if business does not adopt flexible or innovative working practices, it will continue to lose impressive women who decide to set up their own businesses to achieve a better work-life balance"

The CIPD also said that if there were as many female entrepreneurs as men the GDP could be boosted by 10% by 2030.  


The report discovered women were 
1. motivated by purpose not just wealth 
2. they prefer self finance over risk and debt 
3. their approach is more personal 
4. They have more self awareness 

Businesses certainly need to create environments that suit woman.  We also need environments that suit families.  That means this has to stop being about gender and more about working families.  Men are also brilliant in business and want to be part of the home life.  They too want work life flexibility.  We need to understand the gender strengths and needs. 

So how does this add to the debate: 

1. We need to help women be confident as business people - we need to start that from primary school and increase awareness around the language we use to our children and the language teachers use to their pupils 
2. We need to be aware of our innate unconscious bias 
3. We need to understand our limited beliefs around women's ability to be top business women and our overtly assumed beliefs that men are great at business and leading.  This mental shift will increase out awareness of what 'good' and 'great' looks like. 
4. While we examine these ideas yes we can talk in gender but the ultimate goal should be equality for all 

So this is not just a piece about business - it's also about our own personal mindset and there is so much we as individuals can do to change that. More women (and men) need the confidence to become business people whether it as a staff member (intrapreneur) or with their own business (entrepreneur). 


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Embrace Diversity & Kick it Out

Last Thursday I went to The Work Foundation and Kick it Out event at 7 Bedford Row to discuss Diversity and Inclusion in Football. I was intrigued.  Being a Glaswegian where football often was a religious issue,  Inclusion,  Diversity and Football didn't seem to be natural companions. How things have progressed!

STATISTICS 
Prof Stephen Bevan of The Work Foundation  gave the amazing statistic that white able bodied men in full time work are a minority at 20%.  So we have to challenge our meaning of diversity.

Ideally diversity is respecting and allowing difference to flourish.  This is important to the bottom line as some of these statistics show:

In a Job Centre Survey about 56% of customers said they were more likely to use a business with more diversity.

When Lloyds TSB matched the community demographic they increased sales by 30%.

Sainsbury's increased customer retention, customer satisfaction and had a higher level of workforce engagement when they addressed their diversity.

LEADERSHIP & DIFFERENCE
Diversity is not about ticking boxes or quotas it's about embedding diversity into the culture therefore it has to come from the top.  We now know that Diversity makes Business sense and we increasingly have the data to prove it.

Professor MIke West said "Leadership is the key, as there is very little evidence that Diversity Training on it's own works".  When there is leadership approval the business has better recruitment, better appraisals, better training and better systems for decision making.

In Professor West's study in the NHS he discovered that we behave with less civility to people who are different from us.  So if we train our staff to be mindful of this, it will build awareness and change behaviour.  We may believe we prefer to spend time with people who are like us but all studies show that diverse teams are more productive, creative and innovative and more socially integrated.

INNOVATION & PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS AT WORK 
Anne Hurst from PWC showed a video challenging our own perceptions.  She discussed the importance of diversity promoting innovation and creativity and the impact it has on the bottom line.  One innovation Anne shared with us was PWC sent weekly emails to the staff suggesting they do something different eg read a different newspaper, go to a different place for lunch or sit in a different part of the office.  Practical things that broaden our horizons and can then impact other areas of our consciousness.

One other innovation they delivered to potential recruits was "shadow a female leader".  They found they doubled the number recruits by doing that.

FOOTBALL 
Andy Ambler from Millwall discussed the importance of using skills and including cultures off the pitch.   His commitment to the importance of diversity in staff at Millwall has really shifted my perception and I hope to take a family visit soon! With Heather Rabbatts, the first female NED of the FA coming from Millwall they have an interesting record in gender promotion.

Clive Tyldsley, ITVs Chief Football correspondent  identified that football is at the centre of most communities in the UK and therefore the people that run it need to reflect that.   "We have a distorted sense of normal; we have a new normal"

After the panel there was a lively debate and a challenge from the floor about the lack of black coaches in football.  When West Ham Chief, David Gold admitted he'd never interviewed a black coach or had any applications from a black coach;  Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick it Out asked "where are these jobs advertised?" More may need to be done.

FUTURE 
It's great to see companies actively engage in this important area.  It's no wonder because the evidence is consistently showing companies that take this seriously: increase their profits, increase customer retention, improve creativity and innovation as well as improving staff retention. A pretty compelling argument.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Myers Briggs and career

I've been looking through my Myers Briggs work for a client and I was thinking about women at work.

There are more STJ (factual, thinking and planning) types who are attracted to MBAs and business according to the research.  However as we develop our vision of what leadership is and have an increasing need to have a variety of types and increased diversity at the top of business, it will be interesting to see if this changes at all over the next 5-10 years.  Also as we as people get older, our preferences also develop, so the intuitive and feeling types will be more attracted to their factual and thinking side and vice versa.  We need rounded people who have a balance of all preferences.

We also need to remember than our personality preferences don't affect our ability to do a job just the way we approach it.  So a feeling type may make decisions just as quickly as a thinking type but they'll do it in a different way.  I can't help but think as it has been suggested by some modern day thinkers that the financial crisis wouldn't have happened if there had been a variety of personality types at the top.  It has been suggested that if there had been more women on the financial boards this would have prevented the financial crisis.

Preliminary research in gender (Macdaid, personal communication) shows that when occupations are "open" to both men and women they are equally distributed.  It has been proven that more women have a feeling type than men but the ratio is just slightly skewed.  So maybe it's how we represent careers to children and how they are taught by personality preferences that we need to think about.

As someone with an NF preference I remember finding maths initially challenging. I then had a wonderfully creative, passionate and supportive maths teacher at Langside College in Glasgow.  He made maths so much fun I ended up getting a top level A in my maths exam.  He appealed to the way I liked to learn.  I ended going on to study a BSc in Ecology.

In engineering for example there is a majority of thinking preference attracted to that career but there are more men than women who prefer thinking.  We need to think in a more rounded way how we attract a variety of people and types to different courses at university as when they go into the job market, there needs to be a variety of ways at looking at the issues.  Diversity is going to be key to innovation.  Innovation comes from thinking around a subject. So we need people who think in different ways to be attracted to different subjects.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Janet Street Porter - biased against Barbie Presenters?

I do like Janet Street Porter. I've just read her column on Facing up to Barbie TV.

What strikes me is that she is calling for more people like herself in TV - a woman with character.  However I believe we need diversity - even in television.  Their are plenty of Barbie type men who get cosmetic surgery too to sign up to the televised agenda of what is attractive.  Luckily for men they don't need to do this as much or can sign up to it later.

It's not just recognising women as JSP suggests - for people to be recognised they have to be in the running and chosen to be helped.  Too often women do not find the champions, role models and advocates to help them climb the ladder.  Women often have something to say but may not want to say it in the same forthcoming way that Janet Street Porter does.  No one is better.  But difference is key.

We need to change the unconscious bias that the BBC may have towards women. The cases of Selina Scott, Anna Ford, Miriam O'Reilly, Moira Stewart and Arelene Philips show there is some recognition both in the courts and in the media of mistreatment.  I"m not sure I empathise with these women.  I recognise them more so than men because they stand out as different.

For me it's not about recognition or empathy but unconscious bias.

 I've just read that researchers made up an application where there were 2 strong candidates
1. had high education qualifications but less industry experience
2. had less education qualification but more industry experience

When sex wasn't mentioned 76% of men preferred the better educated candidate
75% preferred a better educated male over a less educated female
When sex was reversed only 43% of participants whose the female candidate with the better education

I believe this unconscious bias is the key to attaining more gender balance in business, politics and the media.  Janet Street Porters bias may be towards Barbie doll women.  What's yours?  Once you're aware of it, you can start the process of changing it.  



Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Final Frontier

I've just come back from watching Star Trek, Into Darkness.  Some of it was set in the twenty two thirties or some time around then.  What I'm most disappointed in, and it affected my whole watching of the movie was the number of women on their board.

When Benedict Cumberbatch's character blows up an archive building and the Enterprise Board comes together to discuss it - there is only ONE women at the table.  Or at least that's all I could see.

We need to inspire in our creative and futuristic creations the world we want to live in.  I really hope there are at least fifty percent of women on the fictional Enterprise board by then.  Please Mr JJ Abrams and you're fabulous creative team please consider the future as we intend to create it - with 50% women in business and on boards.

It's scary that this was overlooked.  Did JJ Abrams  not even consider it or was it overruled and not considered important?  Not one of the extra people on the board talked - only the three main characters  - so it wasn't like it had to do with important characters and plot.

I am glad the women who were part of the cast were strong, clever women so there are plus points.  It's also great that these women were top level scientists, technicians and linguists but we have to challenge our creatives to create the future we as a society want to see it.

Having said that I watched and loved the film in 3D, great plot, great action, great twists.  I'd highly recommend it.  I was transfixed and time flew by.  So please think of the women in the future.  This will truly represent our world as it will be.

I did appreciate the gender neutral phrase at the end of the film - "To go where no person has gone before" but women will have a strong presence in the future and our mission is to be on the bridge and possibly take up the captains chair - even when he visits the Klingons.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

What does a big brain mean?


On Saturday 27th April 2013 in the Mail Online Professor Richard Lynn said ”Men are more intelligent than women which is why in some areas men will always achieve more” You can read it here. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1274952/Men-ARE-brainy-women-says-scientist-Professor-Richard-Lynn.html

He quotes Baroness Greenfield asking the question why there are only 10% of science professors.  He argues that women don’t have and will never have a high enough IQ to be top science professors at an equal 50:50 ratio.  His conclusion is women will get there but a smaller percentage. 

As you can imagine, I disagree.  But why do I disagree?

It’s a fact, women’s brains are different from men’s. 
It’s a fact, men have higher IQ’s than women.  And here’s the thing.  We measure IQ according to male criteria.  They measure reasoning, problem-solving, spatial ability, general knowledge and memory. He agrees women outperform men in verbal reasoning.  Perhaps the IQ test needs to be more balanced across all intelligence.  And there are different tests so I’m not sure how much I trust his data.

I would argue we don’t want to be clones of men at the top of the tree – we want to be equals with a separate and different voice.  Baroness Greenfield argues that you can’t trap in DNA, if you are good or bad at science.  Surely intelligence is also about your curiosity, your ability to communicate across disciplines and so many other factors other than good general knowledge and memory.

As women have more connections between the two sides of the brain and men show tunnel vision in the brain – it is important the two types of brain work together in a modern world. 

I believe the reason we need women at the top is to create a better and stronger team.  There is an argument that the banking crisis occurred because there were too many male led boards, taking risks and not challenging the direction at the time.  Women’s verbal reasoning surely will be useful in similar circumstances. 

This old argument of our brains are different doesn’t stick any more.  Yes we’re different but it’s that very difference that is the reason more women need to be at the top of politics, business, science and technology.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Business case for Flexible Working at senior level


I posted a question to senior women on Linked in:

What is the business case for having senior women working flexibly:
Is flexible working an HR headache or a business opportunity?

Here is the summary of the responses explaining the benefits of flexible working.  Thank you to all who contributed to the discussion.

Flexible working: 

1.        Enhances company reputation
2.        Supports a Green Agenda
3.        Increases employee control and so helps achieve positive health outcomes
4.        Increases productivity because a happier and motivated stakeholder is a more productive stakeholder
5.        Lowers costs to the business because less hours are worked. 
6.        Introduces work smart rather than work long ethos. Flexible workers are focused workers
7.        Creates an innovative business outlook. The NED model works for the board – why not for senior management?
8.        Addresses the current pipeline issue of women at senior level and on boards for many reasons (I'll do a blog soon about pipeline issues) 
9.        Introduces better succession management  as more women will be attracted to the top jobs if flexibility is offered.
10.    improves retention of talent – more women will stay if they can have flexible opportunities.
11.    offers extended customer service - some women may want to work until 2 and then work again around 7pm to 10pm. 


Successful flexible working requires buy in from the senior management, good communication, clear boundaries and clarity over how it aligns to the needs of the client and customer. It needs to be business driven. It requires a shift in management culture and thinking to be effective.

For a list of successful senior leaders who manage flexible work with senior responsibiity see: http://www.timewisejobs.co.uk/staticpages/11000/revealed-the-uk-s-power-part-time-top-50/