What NEW (and Walmart) know about women’s leadership
Thursday, May 28, 2015
In January NEW unveiled the NEW Career Accelerator Model™, created in partnership the Center for Creative Leadership. The Model
outlines the traits that women in the retail and consumer goods industry need
to develop — or overcome — to realize their career goals and
help their companies succeed.
Based on insights from more than 1,200 NEW members, the Model
identifies eight critical leadership competencies: Results orientation, inspiring
commitment; leading change; communication; strategic planning; political skill;
develops and empowers groups and teams; and develops and empowers individuals.
The Model also identifies five career "derailers” that can sink a career: Does
not effectively take risks; has difficulty changing or adapting; does not
manage career; has problems with relationships; has a narrow functional
Career Accelerator is the foundation of all of the Network's learning
programs, including three webinar series, on-site Career Accelerator Workshops,
and the six-month NEW
Rising Stars and 12-month NEW
Executive Institute leadership development programs.
NEW Board Vice Chair Karen Stuckey, senior vice president,
softlines and general merchandise sourcing at Walmart, calls the NEW Career
Accelerator Model "game-changing." We asked her how the Model can
create more women leaders and help companies leverage their talent.
Why should women —
and the companies they work for — focus on the success factors outlined
in the NEW Career Accelerator Model?
We're all in a war for top talent. We need to develop and
keep high-potential talent to compete in tomorrow's workplace. The NEW Career
Accelerator competencies are about women leading themselves, leading others and
leading their organizations. When women at every level of their career grow
these executive-level competencies, they grow their influence to drive change
in their organization.
Are some competencies
more critical than others?
"Results orientation" is especially critical for women.
Women often confuse effort and activity with delivering results. If we are
going to advance women and reach our vision of a workplace with no limits, we
have to demonstrate that women can and do grow business.
But the whole bundle of competencies creates a sweet spot that
grows influence. If you want to be viewed as a leader within your company, you
must develop an authentic means of influencing others. Change agents must be
able to inspire commitment and lead change. They must be strategic, but without
clear, powerful communication that motivates and inspires and the ability to
overcome resistance to change, a person can't advance her career.
Do any derailers need
"Does not effectively take risks" is derailer for
any leader, male or female. If you don't take risks that could lead to higher
rewards or do take risks without thinking through the consequences, you won't
reach the executive level. Some women are afraid of failure. But if you are
going to have a fear, it should be the fear of losing because you didn't take a
The NEW Career
Accelerator Workshops include a self-assessment and a 360-degree assessment from
others. What advice do you have for women who receive frank feedback?
It's critically important to receive feedback without taking
it personally and to see it for what it is — constructive advice on areas to improve to be a better leader
and get better results. That feedback is valuable. The NEW Career Accelerator
Workshops and NEW Executive
Institute and NEW Rising
Stars programs offer safe havens for self-assessment and feedback from
Armed with feedback, you can begin to engage others in your
leadership development and career plan. Simply sharing with people you work
with the fact you are working on a leadership competency helps you close that
gap. People give you more feedback about yourself and how the leadership trait
comes into play in your own corporate culture. Sometimes the feedback doesn’t
feel good, but it's like physical therapy, you have to stretch to get to
Most of us work for companies with their own leadership
development program and the NEW Career Accelerator Model™ Workshops and other NEW learning programs and events can work
along with or enhance your organization's program, and act as an impetus for
reinvention and retooling.
What’s the key to
staying professionally and personally satisfied in your career?
Think about when you are most passionate and most engaged
and feel the most valued. It's usually not when you are in your comfort zone and
everything is going calmly and you have everything down pat. It's more often
than not when your work is most challenging to you and it becomes fun and you
feel like you are accomplishing something and you are growing.
If you feel you are not growing or the passion stops, it's
time to assess whether you have allowed yourself to stay too much in your
comfort zone and if it's time to move on to another role in your organization — maybe a lateral move — to learn a new competency or
discipline or to engage in another company in the industry or outside the
industry. But when you stop feeling that passion, it may be your inner compass
telling you need to grow more.
Download the NEW
special report "Accelerators: Critical Competencies
for Women Leaders in Retail and Consumer Goods" for a deeper dive into how the competencies
and derailers effect women at every level in the retail and consumer goods