Despite recent increases in the number of women who serve in leadership positions, the proportion of people who identify as women decreases at each step up the corporate ladder. Starting with 48% representation of women in entry-level positions, this figure drops to 24% in the C-suite. Women of color lose ground at every stage of corporate career advancement, accounting for only 4% of C-suite leaders.1
Significant benefits are realized through greater gender and ethnic diversity, and McKinsey reports that the most diverse organizations outperform the least diverse financially. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.2 So how do we overcome this gap and realize the benefits of diversity in our organizations?
This past September, commonFont hosted confluence, our flagship XM summit. The conference content reflected commonFont’s commitment to promoting, connecting, and celebrating female leaders in XM, and our panel discussion featuring female executives explored this topic in depth.
Read on for key insights from our expert panelists:
Find your why
According to Robbi Thatcher, VP of Experience Measurement & Analytics at UnitedHealth Group, a mission-driven focus is integral to succeeding as a leader. For Robbi, transforming Customer Experience in healthcare is a goal worth showing up every day for.
Unpack hidden biases
Kristi Langdon, Head of Customer Experience at Daimler Trucks North America, recommended unpacking hidden biases to expand awareness, increase transparency, and identify systemic changes that need to occur to promote diversity at every level of an organization–especially in leadership.
Embrace company culture, but remain true to yourself
Deb Campbell, VP of Consumer & Marketplace Insights at Verizon, shared that her leadership style has always been very collaborative. Upon shifting industries, Deb thought deeply about additional leadership qualities valued in her new setting. While investing in leadership coaching for herself and her direct reports, Deb focused on leading in ways that were authentic to herself and that blended with the existing workplace culture.
Create a culture of feedback
Our panelests all agreed that a leadership culture of feedback drives the ability to listen to customers more effectively. Honing skills on how to give feedback can create an environment of trust where employees feel comfortable bringing their unique ideas to the table.
“Cultivate stakeholders outside of direct line managers, and be that person for others.”Deb Campbell, VP, Consumer & Marketplace Insights, Verizon
Build a pipeline of female leaders
Knowing when to take a step back and encourage others to lead fosters growth for current and future leaders. Our panelists spoke about identifying high-potential individuals to build alongside you. “It’s important to have people that will speak for you when you’re not in the room,” Deb Campbell said. “Cultivate stakeholders outside of direct line managers, and be that person for others.”
We celebrate female leaders and ask ourselves, how do we encourage more? We’ll explore this topic further as part of our upcoming Women in XM small group networking sessions. Sign up below to learn more and join in our upcoming conversations:
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