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The imperative for a fresh approach to women in leadership

The business case for elevating women in leadership positions is clear.

We work with forward-thinking organisations around the world who are ready and determined to make positive changes, helping them to create diverse, inclusive cultures that empower women to bring their talent to the fore.

We don’t teach ‘women in the workplace’ tools and our programmes are absolutely not about ‘fixing’ women. We’re about developing programmes that signify you are serious about investing in your women in leadership population.

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Women in leadership:
The reality

Globally, women remain underrepresented in corporate leadership, with only 33% of senior roles held by women, a number decreasing as we ascend the corporate ladder. Despite progress, the role of CEO is 24 times more likely to be held by a man than a woman in FTSE 350 companies.

It’s clear that organisations still have some way to go to address that imbalance.

For most organisations, increasing the diversity in their leadership pipeline is a key strategic priority. Many companies have shown their commitment to gender equality and shifting the dial to accelerate the number of women in leadership roles; they’re investing in women in leadership development programmes, mentoring schemes, establishing family-friendly policies and looking to address the gender pay gap.

Is behavioural change key to a boardroom breakthrough?

Elke Edwards, founder of Ivy House, argues that traditional “tick box” development programmes are a losing proposition. This is particularly true for organisations looking to target underrepresented groups among whom limiting self-beliefs and social conditioning remain a significant stumbling block. The results that can be gleaned from a catch-all approach can quickly move from elusive to illusory. 

Elke talked to Raconteur to explain why behavioural change is the key to a boardroom breakthrough.

Women in Leadership white paper Ivy House

Women in leadership programmes
(…that work)

As a company with a 70% female SLT, we’ve seen these work brilliantly… and not. The truth is, when deployed in isolation, these programmes can be just another gender tax – communicating to women that it is their responsibility to correct the company’s gender imbalance in leadership. Too many of these programmes send the message that women are at a deficit when it comes to their natural leadership skills, and need specific training to correct this deficit – which is simply not true.

We take a different approach:

Supporting the individual

We equip individuals with the skills to understand themselves, their mindset and behaviours, then develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to support them in stepping up as effective leaders. This is not about teaching tips and techniques, it’s about supporting people to step up as powerful, authentic leaders.

Supporting the organisation

To create the ecosystem that will ensure change is possible, you need leadership buy-in at every level. This means getting stakeholders and leaders involved, examining your systems, processes and policies, it means a commitment towards more inclusive style of leadership to create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Starting sooner

If we want to accelerate the pace of change, we need to start sooner – before the broken first rung becomes an issue. We take a comprehensive approach to women’s leadership development, starting from early education and continuing through the highest echelons of leadership. This is what leads to genuine change.

Elke Edwards Founder Ivy House

“The call for diversity has never been louder, but the pace of change is simply too slow. Most organisations are passionate about equality, they are driven to improve diversity in their pipelines, but few know how to effectively implement the strategies that will actually create change. We need to acknowledge that what we’re doing right now isn’t working. It’s time for a different path.”

Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House

Are you ready to create change?

Let’s talk.





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