Archives for the month of: September, 2015

Today I want to introduce you to another new associate coach here at The Hobbs Consultancy, Sonia Calvo:-

Sonia 2

Sonia is a challenging, curious, intuitive and versatile coach.  She works with executives in global corporations to develop potential, increase performance, enhance leadership skills and create sustainable change. 

Sonia is fascinated in exploring what makes people tick, bringing out the best in them and discovering what they have to offer. She is passionate about working with people who want to have a bigger impact in their lives and supporting them in finding ways to have that impact.

It is my pleasure to hand over to Sonia to share her wisdom…

We are all leaders in our lives and we all lead in different ways. How we lead at work may be different from how we lead at home. The one true factor, is that in the middle of it all, is US.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” – Brené Brown

A powerful quote from Brené Brown and so true. And how are we supposed to embrace who we are? Some of us don’t really know who that person is or allow that person to come alive.

A challenge I often see in the corporate world is when we compare ourselves to others, to our bosses, to our peers and we sometimes forget just because we are different, handle situations differently, think differently, does not mean we do it wrong or are not good enough.

Unfortunately when we compare ourselves, it’s an uphill battle. When we try to be like someone else, we are not being authentic and hide our abilities and ourselves.

I had a client recently who was given the responsibility of leading their quarterly shareholder meetings, a role which their boss had been doing for a long time and did incredibly well. (The ‘incredibly well’ bit, was my clients perspective…)

The internal voices my client was getting were… ‘how can I do as good a job, I am not as experienced, the shareholders wont listen to me, I will freeze, I might not have all the answers, I will look unprofessional’.  And so on.

From this perspective, my client was setting herself up for failure.

What’s the impact you could have if you dropped comparison and quieted the voices? If instead you focused on:

What do I bring which is different?

What are my strengths?

What do I know to be true right now which will serve me?

How do I want to show up at the meeting?

How do I want to be when I don’t have the answer?

By focusing my client’s attention to these questions, she was able to explore and be curious about what she had to offer, what she brought to the table and allow herself to step into this new opportunity.

By exploring who we are and how we want to show up, we make it possible to find our authentic selves and lead from this place.

3 x authentic leadership coaching sessions (2)

 

Vantage Points (1)

The IPA have recently announced that they will publish a comprehensive agency employee league table listing measures such as gender and diversity versus department and seniority. ‘This table will be part of positioning the industry as enlightened and progressive in order to attract and retain the best talent.’ This comes at a time when clients are also demanding information on diversity as part of the RFP on a pitch brief.

The Hobbs Consultancy welcomes this move on a number of levels.  It positions diversity as a key metric for business success – via the attraction and retention of the best talent. And clearly what gets measured tends to get done – without data we simply don’t know the extent of our business challenges and whether we’re moving in the right direction.

Many diversity initiatives focus on the push factors – identifying what barriers can be removed or what additional support can be provided to individuals to encourage and enable their success.  Examples of this kind of diversity intervention would be mentoring and coaching.

What the IPA are doing is creating a PULL factor.  This is something that is going to create traction and energy at the very top of organisations – creating a stimulus for change. Understanding the business case for diversity is a pull factor and recent research by EY found that ‘companies that say they are good at ensuring that teams are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences tend to have higher EBITDA* growth rates’. (*EBITDA : Earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation)

And the publication of positive statistics in itself brings clear business benefits. When Daren Rubins (CEO of PHD) recently said, ‘We’re 40 per cent female on our board and at Exec level there are four of us and two of those are women.  So a 50/50 split exec team..’, women all over the industry sat up and listened.  When we shared his comments on our facebook page, one industry female commented, ‘Great article Daren Rubins, when can I come and work for you again?!’

Clients may well also be sitting up and paying attention to any published statistics – in addition to the emotional appeal of the ethical case, it may be that agencies who get this right are going to be better at understanding clients target audiences.

The Hobbs Consultancy offers a data audit to support companies in the lead up to the publication of the IPA league table, helping you to understand where you are now in terms of diversity.


The Hobbs Consultancy Diversity Data Audit

What is it:- A deep dive in to your company’s data to build a picture of your key diversity metrics, key areas to focus on and position vs industry norms.  The audit will also include a confidential, short all staff survey to measure the correlation between diversity and inclusivity in your organisation.  The audit will provide a detailed report pulling out the key statistics, stories, hypotheses and recommendations that can be shared at a senior level. A powerpoint version will also be supplied that can be shared more widely within the company, suggested to be used to on board key stakeholders or as part of wider training.

Key outputs:-

  1. A summary of your company’s performance vs a number of key, pre agreed, diversity metrics
  2. An understanding of where you don’t have meaningful data and recommendations as to how you can start measurement
  3. A summary of how you perform versus industry norms and benchmarks, other sector benchmarks and UK population
  4. An understanding of the correlation between diversity and inclusivity, i.e. how engaged and included people feel in your organisation sorted by gender and ethnic background.
  5. An understanding of the story behind the numbers (for example – is a low number of senior women driven by female leavers, or females stalling in their careers?).
  6. Recommendations for next steps.

Cost: from £2500 + VAT

This includes three key milestones – a briefing meeting, a data request session and a findings meeting.  The length of the project will depend on how readily accessible your data is, but it can typically be completed in 4-6 weeks.


Testimonial

“Roxanne completed an audit of our data so that we could see how we performed on various diversity measures versus both industry norms and the wider population.  This enabled us to identify where we wanted to focus our efforts and also showed us where meaningful data was currently not available.  Most importantly it has given us a benchmark so that we can now track progress over time”. Tracy de Groose, CEO Dentsu Aegis

Contact blog 4

Untitled design (9)

Diversity seems to be a bit of a buzzword in the industry at the moment. There is a general sense that we must be able to do better and that diversity and inclusion are organisational imperatives that we should embrace.  We look around us and see that the current make up of our agencies and our boards are not reflective of the make up of the London population around us.  Recent panel debates at Adweek, Bloom and WACL have highlighted the need to change, along with some tactical successes of a few forward thinking individuals.

Yet what do we need to do to embrace long term, systematic change in this area? How do we move from talking to doing? Sometimes when I attend these excellent panel debates, I wonder if we are preaching to the choir – as to attend such an event implies that you have some understanding of why this change is so important to our industry.  It’s the people that don’t attend that we need to convince.  Organisational change cannot be effected by a few enlightened individuals at each agency. It requires the majority of the agency population to lean in, to be convinced of the benefits of that change and to seize their responsibility in making that change happen.

My perspective is that the conversation needs to shift.  We currently believe that diversity is a ‘nice to have’ and will probably have a net cost.  We think we are going to have to invest in expensive training, policies and compliance programmes.  In short, we think we should get involved, but there are always more pressing concerns on the ‘to do’ list and for the budget.

And then, at other times, the debate becomes centred on the group that stands to directly benefit.  The business case might be articulated through the advantages that group might bring to the table – especially true in the case for women.  ‘Women seem to be better at dealing with people and are more empathic’, we muse and that becomes the business case for having more female, senior leaders.  Unfortunately this approach is the very antithesis of inclusivity.  It creates a further stereotype for which women need to conform so as to be successful (excluding those that aren’t naturally like this), it focuses on one angle of the diversity debate (excluding ethnicity, geographic and educational background, LGBTQ etc) and, frankly, is only ever going to get the empathic females aligned behind it.

My call is that we change the conversation and put diversity and inclusivity at the heart of business strategy.  We need to focus on creating the holistic business case and aligning whole organisations behind that, not just a D&I consultant.  All employees, believing in the business case, could take a role in championing inclusivity.

So what might be the true business case for Diversity and Inclusivity in today’s advertising industry?  I personally believe this is a conversation every agency in town needs to be having in its boardrooms.  To use a coaching analogy, teams will have more of a stake in its progress if they design its benefits themselves and together.   But here are a few starters for ten.

 1. We will understand our client’s audiences better.

Probably the most obvious and yet also the most powerful.  Consumer insight is critical to our industry’s success and whilst we can use tools, surveys and research there is a nuance of consumer insight that can be best gained through multiple experiences in the room.

 2. We will attract and retain the best talent

Our employees are also our customers.  To attract and retain the best possible talent, we need to ensure that we are perceived as a diverse and inclusive company.  I’m reminded about how Antonio Simoes of HSBC talks regularly about gay issues in public and at in house events and says, ‘It’s amazing the number of people who email me from HSBC around the world to say, “I thought your speech was really motivational and I feel really excited about working for a bank that truly values diversity and meritocracy”’ (as told in The Glass Closet, by John Browne).

 3. To increase productivity

Unconscious bias, implicit associations and homophobic / sexist attitudes are all deeply inefficient. Quite simply, we will increase our productivity if we seek to reduce our own (natural) bias.

 4. For attracting new clients

I’ve seen a number of RFP’s in recent times asking what an agency is doing in the area of Diversity and Inclusivity.  Having a clear point of view and strategy will increasingly be a part of pitch submissions and will help you to win business, much like the sustainability case has done in recent years.

There are many more.  Believing in the business case perhaps requires a shift from short to medium term thinking.  It requires our agencies to reflect the society we are serving.  Inertia is not enough – we need our leaders to clearly articulate the business case and align everyone in their agencies behind this change.

Roxanne Hobbs is the founder of The Hobbs Consultancy – which is on a mission to transform business via inclusivity.  They offer Inclusion 3.0 workshops which seek to build the business case and raise awareness of our own unconscious bias.   Prices from £1000 + VAT for a half day workshop in your organisation for 10 people.  Email me for more information… www.thehobbsconsultancy.comroxanne@thehobbsconsultancy.com