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January 2018
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women in leadership

Saying Yes and Making it Happen – Celebrating International Women’s Day

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Strengths Consultant

 

International Women’s Day is celebrated again on the 8th March.

 

Are you a woman who is successful in her career and making it happen? Do you really enjoy your job? We would love to learn from the secrets of your success!

 

As a successful woman myself who runs Capp’s female leadership development programmes, it never ceases to amaze me how the same stories are told worldwide. I can share many of them through my own learning – the hard way!

 

One of these stories is about saying yes. We ask for role models who come onto the programme to share their journey with the emerging female leaders: what has worked well, their journey, their strengths and also their top tips for the future growth of these remarkable women. 

 

One of the most common tips shared by these global leaders is “Take a risk and say yes”.  Even so, I have a slight problem with this.

 

We are probably all familiar with the research that women, unlike men, are not likely to ask for pay rises, and will only seek promotions when they can do everything that’s required. Unlike men, who will go for promotion if there is even a small part of the job that they can do!

 

Often, women have become successful through their relentless hard work, and eventually being recognised by managers who put them forward for promotion or recommend their next post.

 

One of the core aspects of our female leaders training is teaching women to recognise their strengths. It may sound obvious, but we can be so busy running a successful career and home that we haven’t stopped to appreciate what we love to do and do well – our strengths.

 

Of our latest 10 programmes, 97% thought Realise2, our strengths identification tool, was an insightful beginning to the programme, and 95% said it helped them maximise their strengths, thereby enabling high performance.

 

So back to this ‘saying yes’.  I am all for taking risks and challenging ourselves in a big way, as this can be when you can really grow, take ownership of something big and expand your reputation.

 

But, next time you are asked to take on extra responsibility, a new role or lead a project, go back to your strengths. Where do you get real energy from? What would you love to do more of? Where do you get your best feedback? If you could carve out your dream job, what would it be? 

 

Take risks by all means, but your confidence and performance comes from your strengths. Success will come if you take a step back and work with your best assets. Sometimes it might be worth a side step to play to your strengths, since you will quickly be able to show off your capabilities.

 

I wouldn’t be here today without stepping into a colleague’s shoes a few years ago when they had broken their foot! I had no idea how to do it, but knew I had the passion and motivation to find out and make it happen!

 

Find out more about our female leadership programmes at capp.co

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The Year in Review on The Capp Blog

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

The Capp Blog launched this year with our first blog post on 17 January 2012. It has been a busy year since then, with 31,514 views of 164 items.

 

Here are five of the most viewed posts that showcase The Capp Blog at its best:

 

#1 – As part of our Performance Management series, Reena Jamnadas and Emma Trenier answered the question What Do Employees Want from Their Managers? As the most read blog of the year, clearly this was a question that you, our readers of The Capp Blog, wanted to answer as well.

 

#2 – Our feature on School Leavers Fortnight in August generated loads of interest, with Reena Jamnadas again leading the way with The Defining Power of Three Small Letters: Helping Students with their A-level Results.

 

#3 – Sharing our learning and development expertise through the lens of positive psychology, my blog On Learning to Learn: Four Positive Psychology Principles had readers re-imagining their own approaches to learning and development.

 

#4 – Throughout June, we ran Female Leaders Month on The Capp Blog, with Nicky Garcea leading the way with her blog Can Only Superwomen Make it to the Top?, originally published on the Financial Mail Women’s Forum.  

 

#5 – Completing our top five of 2012 was my blog on Student Strengths Insights and Strengths-based Graduate Recruitment. This reported the results of the Ernst & Young-Capp Student Strengths Survey, showcasing our work as the leading strengths-based graduate recruiter in the UK.

 

With these blogs – and many more – throughout 2012, we hope you will agree that it has been a great inaugural year for The Capp Blog.

 

We promise to bring you more insights, expertise and entertainment over the next year, but in the meantime, we wish every single reader of The Capp Blog a peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

 

Enjoy your festivities and we’ll be in touch again in 2013!

 

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Women in the Press

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Lord Justice Leveson’s report into press standards, published last Thursday, has generated a lot of debate on the role of the press in modern society.

 

Interestingly enough – and perhaps stirred into action by the controversy they generated when unable to find female experts to discuss breast cancer on Radio 4′s Today programme - the BBC has published a magazine article on the media representation of women in the press. Astute readers of The Capp Blog will know that this is a topic we have covered previously.

 

In this article, the BBC highlighted five of the most common complaints about how women are portrayed in the press:

 

1. Women as sex objects – Women are often portrayed as sex objects by the press, whether explicitly, such as in a Page Three photograph, or more implicitly, through the way in which they are presented and described.

 

2. My mother, my wife - Women are often portrayed as wives and mothers (or girlfriends) – that is, being defined by who they are in relation to someone else, rather than for who they are in their own right.

 

3. The passive woman - Rather than as people who are active and doing something, women are often portrayed in passive roles. This serves to create and perpetuate a stereotype of women as passive recipients, rather than active participants.

 

4. The invisible woman – As we have noted previously on The Capp Blog, where have all the women gone? The campaign group Women in Journalism reported earlier this year that 84% of lead articles in the press were about men, rather than women, and of these articles, 75% were written by men.

 

5. Women’s bodies, but men’s contributions - Far, far more than is ever the case for men, women are judged on the basis of their appearance, rather than their contribution.  Whereas commentary about men in sport, politics or business will almost exclusively be about their performance, for women, any commentary will almost always include a judgement on their appearance.

 

If this media representation was single, isolated, or unusual, one might argue that it was unfortunate. Yet the reality is that this is only too typical, rendering it not only unfortunate, but unacceptable.

 

With the influence of the media all around us, and the impression and impact that this has – deliberately or unwittingly – on young minds, we all share a responsibility to be mindful of how what we consider acceptable or unacceptable shapes the reality that will be faced by future generations.

 

As I contemplate my two daughters growing up, I hope they will find a world in which they are judged for what they have achieved and contributed, rather than for what they are wearing or what they look like. It’s time to change for the sake of these future generations.

 

Happy birthday, Sophie, 10 years old today.

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Leaders – Financial Mail Women’s Forum

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

I’m delighted to share with you Capp Director Nicky Garcea’s latest blog for Financial Mail Women’s Forum, which is all about inspiring the next generation of female leaders:

 

“Thank goodness for the Olympic Games. Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Adlington are three of the most talked about members of Team GB from the London 2012 Olympic Games, and quite rightly so! Nicky Garcea, director at Capp, leading strengths-based people management consultancy, explores how our environmental surroundings, social norms and expectations create powerful but unwitting subliminal messages which have a huge impact on young women’s career aspirations, choices and subsequently their desire to become successful female leaders….”

 

To read the rest of Nicky’s blog, visit the Financial Mail Women’s Forum website.

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The Women at Work Survey

Posted by: Alex Linley & Nicky Garcea

 

Following on from Female Leaders Month on The Capp Blog, in August we launched Capp’s Women at Work Survey – and if you’re a working woman, we’d love to invite your participation. You can still access the Women at Work Survey here.

 

We are interested in understanding more about why as a woman you do what you do at work, your achievements, your career progression and role models, the advice you may need, your learning and the legacy you would want to see for other women.

 

As a thank you to all the women who complete the Women at Work Survey, we will enter you into our prize draw for an iPad 3 or three runner up prizes of a Spa Day. We will also give all our respondents a sneak preview of our findings and results before they are published more widely.

 

Thank you – we’re keen to collect responses from as diverse a working female population as possible – so please pass on this invitation to your female colleagues, friends and family as widely as possible.

 

We appreciate it!

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The 21 Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising

Posted by: Alex Linley and Nicky Garcea

 

Business Insider have just released their ranking of the 21 Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising: 2012.

 

We salute the Business Insider team, not least because “When we compiled our list of the most important people in mobile advertising – the Mobile Power List 2012 – it contained one depressing anomaly: They were all men.”

 

To address this, they got to work to identify the female power brokers of the mobile advertising space, now released.

 

Mobile has overtaken desktop as the means by which most people access the internet – especially in the rapidly-growing internet powerhouses of India, China and Africa. Combine this with the increasing numbers of women who are becoming ever more important economic decision makers and consumer purchasers, and you can see why it’s critical that we have female perspectives on what works, and why, for women.

 

Good on you, Business Insider, for leading the charge to celebrate female technology talent.

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Here are (some of) the Women in Tech!

Posted by: Alex Linley & Nicky Garcea

 

Could the tide for female entrepreneurs be turning? We think so.

 

As yet another indication of how women are making waves and standing up as role models to inspire other women, I’m delighted to support the celebration of (some of) the female entrepreneurs leading in technology entrepreneurship.

 

Paddy Cosgrave, organiser of the Dublin Web Summit, 17 & 18 October 2012, was inspired by the suggestion of his wonderful fiance, Faye, to dedicate his first speaker announcement to 10 of the leading female speakers at the Dublin Web Summit. They are:

 

Jen O’Neal, Tripping

Cindy Gallop, If We Ran the World

Deborah Berebichez, The Science of Everyday Life

Yulia Mitrovich, Svyaznoy Group

Shauna Mei, AHAlife.com

Eva Ho, Factual

Silje Vallestad, Bipper

Soraya Dorabi, Foodspotting

Alexandra Chong, Luluvise

Alexia Tsotsis, TechCrunch

 

And that’s not all. If you know a great (female) speaker in technology and entrepreneurship, you can recommend a speaker for consideration for the few remaining speaking slots at the Dublin Web Summit.

 

Here’s to many more female technology entrepreneurs getting the recognition they deserve.

 

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Celebrating Female Leaders Month

Posted by: Nicky Garcea and Alex Linley (as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month, June 2012)

 

As we come to end of Female Leaders Month we hope you have enjoyed our blogs. We know from your feedback that the role of harnessing your power bases, realising your strengths and overcoming subliminal sexism has struck chords with many of you.

 

Our commitment to developing the Generation F of future female talent does not end here.

 

We are delighted as this month draws to a close to be able to share with you the launch of our Female Leaders Programme. This programme has been designed to harness the unique and impactful combination of strengths and power base development, helping female leaders to maximise the opportunities that are open to them by building on the capabilities they have.

 

In July, we will also be launching our Women in Leadership survey, designed to explore more about many of the issues that have been raised by our blogs and your comments throughout Female Leaders Month. We hope you will join us in completing this survey and help us further shape the women in leadership debate.

 

To receive regular female leadership updates, you are also invited to  follow Nicky on Twitter, @NickyGarcea

 

As we sign off for the month, we have 7 Top Tips for Female Leaders, that summarise the advice we have shared across Female Leaders Month:

 

1. Take confidence from your strengths: know what you’re good at and what energises you – and use it!

 

2. Maximise your unrealised strengths: align them to your future career goals and aspirations

 

3. Harness your power: influence decisions and outcomes to help you get what you want

 

4. Be courageous: with your choice of mentor and sponsor, don’t shy away from seeking someone with status

 

5. Think before you speak: eradicate unnecessary apologetic language from your daily interactions and particularly in meetings

 

6.  Tilt more than balance: say yes to the things that draw on your strengths and reduce the time  you spend on non-critical weaknesses

 

7. Hold out your hand: through your behaviours and actions, you can play your part to open the door for the female talent of tomorrow.

 

We hope that the themed blogs of Female Leaders Month have inspired you to do more to celebrate and develop female talent. Watch out for future blogs on these issues on The Capp Blog, and please share your comments and experiences by using the Comment function below.

 

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It’s Time to Stand Up for the ‘F’ Word

Posted by: Nicky Garcea, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

My grandmother, Joy, is 89. She is a fierce advocate of women voting; she also believes you should never tell your husband who you voted for. She remembers the suffragettes, she remembers women starving and dying for the vote, she is not afraid to call herself a feminist.

 

Today, things have come a long way from the early years of what my grandmother remembers. Personally, it wasn’t until I took my first consulting role that I started to notice that there were fewer women in the organisations I visited. One Sunday evening in the business class lounge at Charles de Gaulle it dawned on me, ‘I am the only woman, other than air stewardess, boarding this flight’.

 

I can’t accept any more that things are the same for women in business as they are for men. I am committed to shamelessly supporting and nurturing female talent. The following blog, published in Training Journal, asks whether it is time for more of us to stand up for the ‘F’ word.

 

When Annie Lennox addressed business leaders on the centenary of international women day on 8 March 2011, she asked all the feminists to stand. The room’s response was stillness, few women stood and supported ‘feminism’. Despite the support for feminism growing internationally at a political level, it is something which UK female business leaders seek to disassociate themselves from.

 

Frequently, women are apprehensive when offered female specific development, reluctant at the thought of attending a programme that might label them as ‘different’ or that would single them out. So there is a growing tension in organisations between wanting to develop women and support their progression, while at the same time not doing it in a way that is overtly ‘feminine’ or ‘feminist’.

 

The danger of not developing emerging female talent is that nothing will change and the workforce will not evolve. In Karren Brady’s autobiography Strong Woman, Brady references how on International Women’s Day each year, she attends an event hosted at Downing Street and typically she sees the same faces year on year.

 

This happens in business, and is something we see time and time again. In Capp’s Female Leaders Programme, we have a ‘Learn from the Leader’ speaker slot, and in most organisations where this is run, there are only one or two senior females who can fill this slot!

 

So what can we do? How can we change this?

 

Firstly, I think we have to know the facts. Male employees are still leading the way in personal development and career progression, while little support is given to younger women to advance the career ladder. Despite more women graduating with MBA’s, far fewer actually make it into work. And, with many companies and public sector organisations currently re-organising, it is the female talent pipeline being hit the hardest.

 

In difficult economic times, budgets to support female talent development are either non-existent or are being significantly squeezed, but this shouldn’t be a business’ excuse for doing nothing. A combination of well-informed leaders and managers and strengths-based self-support for emerging female leaders can be a successful development fusion.

 

In our view, three groups of people can champion female talent development:

 

Leaders:

 

Specifically set out to sponsor the development of several of the emerging female leaders in your organisation. Be aware of the women around you that would benefit from your mentorship or sponsorship. Let them know why you will sponsor them and what they can expect from you.

 

Recent research by Harvard University found that women consistently seek out mentors and sponsors of less power and status than their male colleagues, instantly limiting their access to the most senior individuals in an organisation. So the more senior you are, the lower you might consider reaching down into your talent pipeline; it will have the longest sustainable impact.

 

Managers:

 

Be aware that women will typically behave differently than their male colleagues when it comes to approaching their development. Research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management on senior leaders, found that half of women surveyed experienced feelings of self-doubt about their performance and career, but only 31 per cent of men reported the same. The research also revealed that women tend not to put themselves forward for promotion: 20 per cent of men said they would apply for a role despite only partially meeting its job description, compared to only 14 per cent of women. Couple this with studies from Aston University which highlight that women are more apologetic in meetings and that managers have a critical role to play in developing women’s confidence and offering regular feedback on influencing styles and profile.

 

Women:

 

Know your strengths and power.

 

Early in our careers we often can get bogged down ‘gap filling’, focusing on weaknesses. Although critical areas for development shouldn’t be ignored, this shouldn’t be to the detriment of excelling the development of strengths.

 

Be aware that investing in developing your strengths will impact your confidence, self-esteem and capacity to achieve your goals. Similarly, studies have also shown that when women understand their different power bases, they are better able to use them than their male colleagues.

 

This ultimately will mean that although business is more competitive, strengths and power base development offer you a winning combination for success.

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Can Only Superwomen Make it to the Top?

Posted by: Nicky Garcea, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

You just gave your power away.”

 

I can remember being mortified the first time someone said this to me. Upset because they were right, and embarrassed because I was oblivious to what I had done. Researching and studying power bases has made me far more attuned to the behavioural ticks that can trip me up and undermine my leadership.

 

Like many women, I was a serial apologiser: “I’m sorry”, “I might be wrong, but …”, “Forgive me if I’m not right …”, “I don’t mean to…” The apologies just tripped of my tongue without me even realising what I was doing.

 

It was actually the combined efforts and forthright feedback from my Dad, and fellow Capp Director, Alex, who supported me in kicking my ‘sorry habit’. I now know there is more to power than just reclaiming what we give away, so much more.

 

I hope you read my Financial Mail blog and find there are many power bases that you can use to make yourself stronger, and recognise also that sometimes you really can be Superwoman on your way to the top. The blog is published on the Financial Mail Women’s Forum - I hope you enjoy it!

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