After four decades in the public and private sector, all in male-dominated industries–the Foreign Service, Investment Banking and Consulting–I think it’s time for a new approach to women’s leadership training. Instead of focusing on how to help women “catch up” and “level the playing field”, let’s help them embody the new leadership competencies and behaviors that all leaders will need in the new economy.
Don’t get me wrong. Today’s current training for women professionals striving for success in a male-dominant culture focuses on constructive, necessary skills and behaviors like negotiating, finding mentors and sponsors, building executive presence, networking, and self-promotion. This approach goes hand in hand with a parallel focus by companies to tackle their talent management systems and processes in order to re-engineer unconscious bias out of decisions around hiring, promotion and work assignments. However, after hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds, and euros of leadership training, we are not moving women fast enough through the talent pipeline to senior leadership and board positions.
At the Center for Talent Innovation, where I am the Executive in Residence, we know that today’s approach is 100% half right. Women need to develop all those competencies, but they are only half of what we need. Companies in all industries are facing seismic shifts in the way business is being done. Our travels through the Information Age are speeding up and we are entering the Imagination Age, fueled by technology, data, globalization and industry convergence. In fact, it’s easy to imagine that in 10 years, 25% of the job titles that currently exist globally in Healthcare, Media, Telecommunications, Financial Services, Manufacturing etc. will be gone, replaced by something new.
Instead of just playing “catch up”, there is an opportunity to advance beyond the current state of play to build critical personal skills and behaviors fit for the future.
At the Center for Talent Innovation, in partnership with Imaginal Labs LLC, we have identified these new disruptive leadership competencies, or Leadership Archetypes:
Business Model Architect–experienced in knowing how to (re)organize and (re)construct the tangible and intangible assets needed to deliver the most value to others for a fair value in return.
Brand Designer -able to create the optimal “user experience” that is authentic, aligned, attuned and anticipatory to all stakeholders.
Digital Executive–fluent in creation, curation, synthesis, socialization and distribution of meaningful virtual content and communication that builds trust and engagement.
Trust Builder–successful in building strong, trusting relationships, face-to-face and virtual, with all stakeholders across the divides of culture, gender, geography, time zones, and generations.
Talent Maker–master of the inclusive leadership behaviors and practices that celebrate the power of difference in a way that encourages all streams of talent to work up to the level of their skills and aspirations in order to unlock the illusive “diversity dividend”.
Ecosystem Engineer–accomplished at designing, nurturing and sustaining powerful networks that form the relational capital that drives competitive advantage.
The current leadership development agenda is a good start. Now imagine the power of mastering these new Leadership Archetypes and applying them to your company’s biggest business challenges.
I bet the men would want to sign up for this as well!