Report: Women create cultures of innovation
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
Women leaders are designing a new corporate culture that fosters innovation for a time of rapid change, according to a report on how women lead change by The Everest Project.
Women are leading transformational change by embracing smart
risk, using humility as "a new power tool,” fostering collaboration and leveraging
their differences, according to "Eve of Change: Women Redefining Corporate America,” based on interviews with 392 executives, including 132 CEOs and women
a few steps from the c-suite, plus two colleagues, a manager or peer and a
direct report, of each.
More than half of the change initiatives catalogued by The
Everest Project represent women-led strategic or structural change, with
significant organizational impact, from contributing billions of dollars to
bottom lines, building new businesses or rebuilding failing ones, to inspiring
social movements beyond their corporate doors.
"Women executives lead from the known to the unknown,
transforming the hearts and minds of their people in the process and creating
cultures more open to innovation,” according to the report.
Taking risks with
Contrary to popular belief, women leaders embrace risk-taking,
the report concluded. "Many [believe] women are uncomfortable taking risks, yet
there were no less than 359 comments about women’s risk-taking in the interview
data,” according to the report. "Women take risks using smart strategies, all
in the service of transforming their companies.”
A common thread in many of female executives’ strategies was
humility. "Humility, most often thought of as a weakness, is the unsung power
tool in leadership,” the report concludes. "Humility is a critically important
skill in this era of flat organizations and a flat world where everyone is
called upon to collaborate and work effectively across silos. Women utilize
humility to enhance their success at leading change and transformation.”
At the core of that humility: women’s confidence. "Notwithstanding
the supposed confidence gap between men and women, the data demonstrate that
women exhibit a high degree of confidence when leading with humility,” The
Everest Project reports.
Women leaders are redefining collaboration — not to be confused with consensus
building — and are emphasizing informed
decision making, according to the report. "If managers think consensus building
is the only way women lead; they’d better think again. Collaborating across the
organization for women does not mean an abdication of decision-making responsibility.
Women are the new deciders-in-chief taking a proactive approach to collaboration.”
The women executives studied by The Everest Project are masterfully
leveraging their qualifications, including aspects of their identity. "The
women who have figured out how to use their gender, their race and ethnicity,
and their sexual orientation as part of their leadership toolkit, bring far
more to the table for their companies and themselves,” the researchers found.