Thursday, 14 June 2012

#ECTalent next gen leadership styles

First up, Carole Jones at Aviva talked about their search for a new CEO following the shareholder spring revolt against Andrew Moss. They're looking internally as well as this is often the best option but when you're facing lots of change, someone from outside may work best. Plus traditional succession planning often fails to deliver. The difference is about honest and meaningful conversations - vs making promises we don't necessarily believe in.

Vinod Kumar, Tata Communications built on some of Budaraju's points about market growth in India. They have a new leadership signature they're assessing their leaders against.

Stevens Sainte-Rose, Coca-Cola are facing a disconnect of a surplus of potential candidates at junior levels and a deficit of skills higher up in the emerging markets he covers. Part of this is to work with other organisations to invest in communities for the benefit of these communities, but also to dramatically up skill talent (sort of what I was suggesting that Doug Baillie / Unilever should be doing).

Aviva are doing something similar called Streets to Schools - partly for community responsibility but mainly because of the pride this develops in their employees (particularly in next generation employees). And Tata probably trumps them both with national building being one of its central purposes.

Coca Cola are also doing a lot on social media, but probably not anything like enough - eg they're encouraging their leaders to register on LinkedIn and next gen employees want to read about them there. And they're using Chatter internally and find this conversation a great learning device, sharing information across markets.

The key question customers ask employees isn't about what's in Coke - its what it's like to work in the company. People want to know if they're living what they're selling - a happy environment etc. So they're also using social media to enhance transparency about the company - helping employees share their stories etc.

In the Q&A, Budaraju suggested talent management includes too much focus on doing and becoming and not enough on being. Unfortunately the panel didn't get time to respond to this - it would have been interesting...

I'm going to be moderating a session on next gen talent after lunch, but before this we're going to focus on female talent (increasing the proportion of women in senior leadership positions) with:

Lisa Calvert, Getty Images stressed that women have choice and opportunities. Foundational programmes can help but aren't always needed. And these programmes can start at the top but don't need to. If people respect each other organisations can build diverse cultures without formal programmes.

Emily Lawson, McKinsey suggested that companies have an average of 22 diversity initiatives but none of them are working effectively. Then I got lost (it was interesting hearing a McKinsey consultant speak without their normal packed power points, but we still got a whole heap of numbers and percentages).

Neeha Khurana explained that Bank of America have a range of formal programmes which they think work because they're so open and because people are prepared to be challenged (so culture is important even when you're using formal programmes). Eg senior women are paired up with top executives Who act as their advocates.

Sue Swanborough, General Mills also suggested that mindset is key and also supported McKinsey that measures are important. Diversity works for them because they're such a values driven company. Valuing different perspectives is massively important. So they help people become more self aware so they feel about to put themselves forward.

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