Most people who work with Maier know that we often use the mantra HOT with our clients; being honest, open and truthful in your approach to business and when working as a team. So, in the spirit of HOT, we know it’s been way too long since our last blog but we’re back and committed to the cause!
Our team at Maier has grown and so has our determination to stay in touch and communicate.
Fashion and female leadership
In October (is that really only last month?) one of our lovely clients, London College of Fashion, ran a lively panel discussion to coincide with the opening of the Louis Vuitton SERIES 3 exhibition. On the theme of HOT, as well as loving the exhibition itself (which was open to the public until late October) it was really interesting to hear the open and honest viewpoints from the panel members in debating the individual and organisational challenges facing women in leadership – a topic close to our hearts
The panel, chaired by Professor Frances Corner, discussed; opportunity, representation of female leaders in the fashion industry and the challenges that female leaders in particular can find themselves faced with. It really did spark debate, with a lot of different views and opinions in the room being aired. Ok, so these topics aren’t new but they haven’t gone away either and they did get us thinking about our responsibility to really be heard as leaders and to truly effect lasting change (whether you’re male or female).
We all know it’s about shaping,influencing,driving,guiding and, dare we say it, sometimes just telling. But, it goes beyond that, occasionally calling for us to be mavericks, often radical but always passionate and brave.
And what we continue to hear is that all of this has to be at the very heart of your ambition to deliver real and lasting change.
Effecting change through communication and collaboration
We talked about being committed to the cause earlier.
To us being committed means consistency, a clear vision, and a dedication to taking responsibility in delivering the strategy. But commitment isn’t all that is needed if you’re wanting to successfully effect change within an organisation – it’s clearly driven through communication and collaboration.
This is something that a couple of the Chief Execs we work with are really embracing, and taking to a new level in their organisations.
Case study: leaders putting their stamp on it
For the past two years, we have been working with the Executive Team and their next levels of management with one of our key manufacturing clients.
The work revolves around a transformational journey of organisational change necessitating high ambition and vision from the Chief Exec and his team.
Through organisational surveys and communications workshops facilitated by Maier, key areas for improvement became evident; communication and collaboration were the name of the game.
What did this mean in every day language?
– staff needing more information on the status and updates of basic issues
– lack of ownership and drive from leadership teams on key challenges, opportunities and projects
– making timely decisions with clarity and visibility
To use a well worn phrase ‘it’s not rocket science’, but the only way to really make a high impact, with fast difference was for the Chief Exec to take hold of communication and collaboration and lead in a direct way.
Too often the outputs from communication surveys are unfairly handed over to HR with no real ownership.
In this case it has been about shaking things up and addressing the challenges entirely differently:
– by living and breathing the idea of collaboration
– by promoting the idea of collective decision making
– by encouraging open communication and taking the priorities out to the wider workforce
By taking a comprehensive, proactive and visible approach to combat an initially patchy and inconsistent set of responses the Chief Exec has successfully raised the game of the whole organisation.
Sometimes, it really does need to come from the top.
Getting your voice heard
While we’re on the subjects of representation, commitment, communication and collaboration we couldn’t help but think of the film ‘Suffragette’ (which if you haven’t yet seen we would recommend!)
The film goes against the grain of what is usually a male dominated industry, with a female lead in Carey Mulligan, female director and nearly all-female production crew. It really does seem hard to believe that this is the first mainstream film about equal votes!
So to leave you with a powerful quote from Emily Pankhurst in the film, and one we thought was particularly apt for today’s blog…
‘We don’t want to be law breakers; we want to be law makers.’
To us this represents what leaders want to achieve regarding codes of conduct and values within an organisation…as leaders, we can’t afford to break our codes of conduct that we have worked so hard to create and must always strive to deliver that culture of collaboration.