Talk about a power lunch to end all power lunches! I was recently at the major lunch with Julia Gillard, Catherine Livingstone, Chairman of Telstra and Gail Kely, CEO of Westpac.
Gail currently sits at position number 8 on the list of most powerful women in the world!
They are all leaders in their own right and have substantial influence over us in some form or other - politically, financially and through the telecommunications we use in Australia.
Key learnings from the discussion:
1. Don't get seduced by complexity. Get down to simple things like focusing on the customer. Ask questions like "What would we like people to be saying about us in 2017?"
2. Get a simple and single-minded proposition that everyone in your business can understand. Your proposition must be in the format of an 'elevator pitch' that you can deliver in a minute or less.
3. As leaders, we are constantly dialoguing about change. If you want things to change, you need to sustain the change conversation. Change management is a key leadership capability. Change requires 'hard-wiring' changes as well as 'soft-wiring' through constant symbols, coaching and on-going training.
4. Be consultative when it comes to decision making - but use your leadership skills to carry the decision through.
5. We have to actively focus on promoting women in the workplace. Run a diversity audit and review policies to see how well they are in fact applied. Sometimes you are not consciously aware of discrimination. Ask if you fail the 'imagination' test - can you imagine what a business person looks like in your organisation? Is that image of a man?
6. Put targets in place for the advancement of women into senior roles. Identify high potential women as leaders and work with them. Have detailed succession plans in place and women will start to move through the ranks. Teach your children to only see open doors.