In the U.S. women fill only 14 percent of C-Level positions (CEO, CIO, CMO, CTO, CFO) and only 6 percent in Fortune 500 companies.
This is in spite of research that has shown that there’s an increase in Return On Equity when there are three or more women on company boards and when there are women in senior leadership positions. As a result, many global corporations are concerned with retaining their talented women and increasing their bottom line.
According to a Deloitte study, “The Gender Dividend: Making the Case for Investing in Women”:
An organization that understands how to attract, retain, and advance women will be in a better position to capture its fair share of talent, reduce the cost of attrition, and generate a robust pipeline to leadership.
I’ve come up with 6 Key Success Factors for developing women as leaders, based on research from Catalyst, the Anita Borg Institute, the Harvard Business School, McKinsey, and Deloitte.
If women develop themselves in these 6 key areas, they can rise to the top of their organizations, and their organizations can flourish.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What difference do you plan to make?
- What do you want to be known for?
- Your performance confirms value and worth.
- Women need to out-produce men to succeed in their careers.
- Visibility arises from being publicly acknowledged for your work—and publicly acknowledging others.
- You need to manage your visibility.
- Listen openly to others, without an agenda.
- Network constantly and engage others in your ideas.
- Build long-term relationships.
- Gain experience in leading teams and projects.
- Develop leadership skills: negotiating, asking for support, coaching others.
- Mentors can help you think through difficult decisions—and navigate political waters.
- Find an internal sponsor to help you move forward in your career.
Assess where you are in your development on a scale of 1-10, asking yourself:
- How do I rank myself in each of the six key success factors?
- Where do I see gaps?
- What specific actions could I take to close these gaps?
If you develop yourself in these 6 key areas you will accelerate your success and significantly advance your career!
—Ilene Fischer, Partner, Mark Kamin and Associates