We all know, simply from the low numbers of women in positions of senior leadership in organizations, that it’s generally more difficult for women to succeed to the top of organizations. This week, Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.com released the Best Companies for Leadership Study and Top 20 list. There were some interesting key findings:
- 94 percent of respondents in the Top 20 actively manage a pool of successors for mission critical roles, compared with 69 percent of all respondents
- 80 percent of respondents in the Top 20 noted that people stay at the organization primarily for growth opportunities, compared with 61 percent of all respondents
- 95 percent of respondents in the Top 20 use corporate social responsibility to recruit employees, compared with 60 percent of all respondents
- 66 percent of respondents in the Top 20 have a high proportion of women in senior leadership, compared with 37 percent of all respondents
- 91 percent of respondents in the Top 20 make it easy for people to work from home, compared with 46 percent of all respondents
- 87 percent of respondents in the Top 20 have a sufficient number of internal candidates ready to assume open leadership positions, compared with 54 percent of all respondents
If you are a woman who aspires to lead it makes sense to conduct due diligence on your organization and to assess whether or not the organizational and leadership culture supports your aspirations. In other words, is there any chance of you making it around here?
If we look at some of the key findings above, it would be wise to ask yourself the following questions.
Does my company:
- Have an identified talent pool of successors for key leadership roles and, if it does, are there at least 30% women in that pool?
- Provide opportunities for me to grow as a leader and, if so, am I taking advantage of them?
- Have three or more women on the board and on the senior leadership team?
- Enable women to stay on the leadership track by allowing them to work from home when needed?
If you ask questions about how serious your organization is about enabling women to succeed to senior positions, you should be able to assess whether or not it’s the right place for you to work. This is an important step in your career planning. Why make it even more difficult to succeed by working in an organization that doesn’t recognize the obstacles that women face in their journey to senior management and at least try to help overcome them?
Women often think that if they simply do a great job they will get promoted. But it usually requires more than this. It’s important to take control of your career, rather than simply react and respond to opportunities and setbacks that come your way. A first step towards this is to ensure that you are in an organization that wants more women leaders and is taking positive action to support this.
For a more detailed look at how and why to conduct due diligence on yourself and on your organization, see chapter four of t Unwritten Rules: What Women Need To Know About Leading In Today’s Organizations.