HOW Women Mean Business
New Book by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox
In the book, WHY Women Mean Business, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, and co-author Alison Maitland, set out the clear business case for gender balance. Today, there is a much greater understanding of the historic shift and economic opportunity afforded by the rise of women as the majority of talent and a majority of consumers influencing purchasing decisions.
As most business leaders now realise, having gender balanced organisations leads to superior business performance. But how can companies make this shift? To answer this question, Wittenberg-Cox has written the sequel (Wiley, April 2010), HOW Women Mean Business: A Step by Step Guide to Profiting from Gender Balanced Business.
The Four Steps to Gender Balance
This book is designed to provide senior managers with a clear understanding of how to approach the challenging process of shifting an old corporate culture into the modern age. Readers who follow the general guidelines and suggestions in the book will be able to set up and sustain their own successful gender balance initiatives. It is organised across four simple stages: Audit, Awareness, Align, and Sustain.
AUDIT: Business leaders eager to effect change often rush too far ahead too quickly. It is very important to ensure first that there is a good understanding of where a company is coming from on this issue, what has been accomplished, and what lessons are to be learned to date, both internally and externally. So, the first step is the Audit Phase, with three chapters devoted to understanding the current situation, both internally and externally.
AWARENESS: The second phase concerns Awareness, ensuring that senior managers really understand WHY gender balance matters. Every company says they ‘get it.’ The reality is that very few leadership teams are aligned on the issue. So Awareness is about leaders debating and deciding whether gender balance really matters to their business, their strategy and their bottom line. If not, drop it. If yes, it requires learning the language and culture of women as well as men, leading to ‘gender bilingualism’. And then asks the leaders to create an action plan, for which they will themselves be accountable.
ALIGN: Once the leadership is convinced and convincing on the issue, companies are ready to adapt the systemic underpinnings of their organisations’ policies and processes. Many of these simply need reviewing and updating to 21st century Talent and Market realities. The Alignment Phase is about changing the company’s DNA by embedding future-oriented processes and systems in training and talent management as well as sale, marketing and product development.
SUSTAIN: Finally, companies need to use clear and effective measures, reward structures, and communications approaches to maintain, sustain and celebrate the change process.
ORDER YOUR COPIES NOW
You can order your copies of HOW Women Mean Business: A Step by Step Guide to Profiting from Gender Balanced Business (Wiley, April 2010) online at the Wiley website.
About the Author
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is CEO of 20-first. Based in Paris, she is a consultant, coach and author, working with progressive companies interested in both halves of the talent pool and both halves of the market – the female and male halves. She helps companies develop more inclusive leadership styles, promote more gender-balanced management teams and review processes and policies to better respond to women – both as employees and consumers.
She is also the Founder and Honorary President of the European Professional Women’s Network www.EuropeanPWN.net a certified executive coach and is currently a Visiting Coach and Visiting Lecturer at HEC and INSEAD business schools. She has spoken on leadership and growth opportunities across Europe and has had articles, reviews and interviews published in publications such as the International Herald Tribune, The Times, the Financial Times and Management Today. Canadian, French and Swiss, Avivah has a BA from the University of Toronto, an MBA from INSEAD and completed the Women’s Leadership Program at Harvard. ELLE Magazine recently recognised her as one of the TOP 40 Women Leading Change.
For more information or to book Avivah Wittenberg-Cox as a speaker, see: Speaking