Here is what you can expect, from the desk of Dialogue editor, Patrick Woodman
The latest McKinsey research warns that business’s progress in improving the number of women in leadership roles has remained slow. Frankly, that verges on negligence when the evidence is overwhelming: organizations with gender-balanced leadership financially outperform their competitors (as do those with ethnically-diverse teams). What other source of competitive advantage would be so neglected?
One side-effect of this scarcity is that we’ve heard too few stories of women who have scaled the heights of business. Our cover feature goes some way to putting that right, with stories from 11 female leaders around the world, as told by Dialogue’s Liz Mellon. They are compelling insights. Many of our interviewees displayed real grit in overcoming barriers to their success. But isn’t it time we tore those barriers down?
One person with a stunning story of overcoming barriers – literally – is Sharmla Chetty. The leader of Duke Corporate Education’s European and African arm, Chetty’s childhood anger at the injustices of apartheid grew into a resolute drive to succeed in business, complemented by deep respect for the people around her. Read her remarkable interview here.
Of course, debates on gender at work are a microcosm of wider social conversation. Hanna Naima McCloskey asks, in the wake of #MeToo, how we can better handle the complexity of a non-binary world. Ilka Dunne looks in the mirror and recognizes that the re-shaping of female identity may have left some men with a confused sense of their place in the world. In that inclusive vein, Eve Poole’s feature identifies 17 critical moments in the formation of leadership skills. Irrespective of gender, it’s a powerful checklist for anyone looking to build some serious leadership muscle.
The rest of the issue is packed with insight from around the world. Nikhil Raval examines India’s flourishing financial services. Al Zeitoun looks at how to achieve organizational excellence in today’s fast-changing world, while Camelia Ram explains why agile’s test-and-learn approach works so well. Tony O’Driscoll explores the rise of business ecosystems. For many, they pose stark choices: enter an ecosystem, compete, or risk withering away outside the walled garden – as Nokia did.
Elsewhere, Joe Perfetti gives a masterclass on risk. Not only will it help you rethink how you budget; it shows why better strategy could be based on small bets. Richard Finn argues that leaders need to invest more time in their remote teams. Ignore the risks of virtuality at your peril.
The costs of failure to adapt to technological change are reinforced by Ben Walker in his strategy column. It’s my privilege to take over as Dialogue editor from Ben, who has shaped the magazine so brilliantly over the last four years – and my very good fortune that he will be our editor-at-large.
In my new role, Michael Chavez’s column on purpose struck a particular chord. My own new ‘small p’ purpose has been to pull together articles from fantastic authors around the world – and to ensure we hit our press deadlines. Thanks to the superb team behind Dialogue, we have achieved that much. Our collective ‘big P’ purpose remains to provide you with insight and analysis that helps you to fulfil your potential as a leader in your field. In that, I hope we have at least partially succeeded. Enjoy the issue.