Gender Balance at Work: The AchieveForum Point of View

By Emily Thornton, Senior Project Leader. Connect with Emily!

It’s important to us – and our clients – that we continually review and refresh our point of view on leadership, in order to keep pace with the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous nature of the world of work.

At AchieveForum, we work with leaders of all levels, from first line through to executive, in order to develop their capabilities and ultimately support their organisational success. Over the last 50 years, we have carried out research on a wide variety of topics to inform the multi-modal learning solutions we deliver to our clients around the world.

To that end, we surveyed our clients in 2018 to gain a deeper understanding of their most significant challenges and the context in which they are operating.

Leadership research findings

One of the key topics identified was ‘women in leadership’ and through our research into this area, we realised the full scope and extent of the huge potential for development around diversity, inclusion, and specifically gender balance. It’s not only that we have the capability to help leaders, it became apparent that it is our responsibility to support such a critical social, business and ethical change.

So often, Women in Leadership programs have been a separate initiative, as have Diversity and Inclusion programs. Whilst there is almost certainly a place for these solutions, it is clear that their implementation is not leading to a significant shift in creating gender balanced organisations.

If we want to create a world where everyone has equal opportunities to fulfil their potential, regardless of their gender – or indeed any other of the protected characteristics such as race or sexual orientation – then we must begin this process in our workplaces. Our goal has to be to build our businesses in a way that ascribes equal value to masculine and feminine traits, where diversity is the default and not the exception.

That’s why AchieveForum is committed to weaving inclusivity through our solutions and our work with clients, as well as to developing specific content related to building a gender balanced culture.

Activate Change to Drive Gender Balance

At the moment, not only is the face of business overwhelmingly still male – particularly at senior leadership levels – but the ways in which organisations are designed is still built around the masculine ideas of leadership and bear the legacy of their patriarchal roots in society.

It’s important for us to recognise the degree of change needed in all areas of business, from who we see as the ideal leader, to more equitable parental leave that allows equal participation of care givers. The workplace is still built around the idea that there is someone at home to manage the domestic, allowing the other partner to focus on business. If we desire an equal society, this all needs to change.

We are conscious that we don’t have all of the answers to what the new world of business should look like, but as leadership development experts, we are well placed to equip people with the skills to find the answers for themselves.

Therefore, our Learning Journey incorporates workshops drawing on our tried and tested research-based content and enhanced with up-to-date thinking and best practice around inclusivity. Hackathons are a critical part of the solution, where participants use their skills and creativity to devise initiatives to drive inclusivity and diversity in their own organisation. Working together, ideally cross-functionally and cross-hierarchically, participants make use of the skills developed in the workshops in order to drive strategic initiatives to deliver desired results.

Overview of AchieveForum learning journey to help leaders drive balance
Support Individuals in Developing Inclusive Leadership Behaviours

As well as driving and activating people to make change in how they work together, and how their organisations are designed, we recognise that a culture needs ongoing support to become more equitable.

Our new behaviour catalyst app, Simon, is the ideal way to provide bite-sized, emotionally engaging ‘nudges’ to help employees at all levels build new, inclusive leadership behaviours into their everyday work. If you are interested in participating in a free pilot of this innovative technology, please register your interest.

7 Inclusive Leadership Traits

We are committed to developing our point of view on gender balance and look forward to how our thinking will develop over the coming years, through our continuing research and engagement with our clients.

Next steps?

Come on the journey with us! Join our LinkedIn Group – Leading a Gender Balanced Culture

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