#56 - Female leaders "break up" with work;
IKEA leaders ditch forecasts for scenarios; big retailers struggle to find leaders.
What's up, everybody?
Usman is in Singapore this week 🙌🏻, which means we get to hang out, and get to see the companies we work with in person. (Even if we still record the podcast from different ends of town so we can both use our "fancy mics". 😛 🎙️ Here's the link to the podcast discussion of issue #55, "Zoom, Southwest, Barnes & Noble: Big Leadership Lessons From Big Brands").
One hyper-talented founder we met up with this week, we were excited to hear, is growing a fantastic business. We talked about his people strategy, and poked around, as we like to do, on his team, his culture, and his product. We also learned that his company of ~15 employees had no women on it. And that the only job offer ever to be rejected by a candidate, was rejected by a woman.
At this point the founder asked (openly, and with curiosity): "How important is diversity?". Usman's response:
"You wouldn't wilfully neglect or shrink your business market by 50%, would you? Why would you shrink your hiring market by 50%?" 🤷🏻
This week, we look at the way the leadership role is evolving, in real-time, and at how we're failing to train leaders for that shift; all while we systematically shrink the supply of leaders -- leaving us with a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand:
- Story # 1 - Home furnishing giant IKEA illustrates how one a pillars of a leader's job description -- the ability to forecast and plan -- is evolving as the world itself changes and becomes more unpredictable. 🇸🇪
- Story #2 - A striking lack of CEO talent in the retail industry highlights how poorly the sector has trained and developed its leadership bench, while reinforcing that the requirements of leadership have changed.
- Story #3 - Female leaders, burned out and fed up with a lack of advancement, flexibility, and diversity in their companies are "breaking up with work", leaving a massive leadership hole at precisely the moment we need more and better and more diverse leadership.
Thanks again for reading and exploring with us -- and have a great week!
Aki + Usman
#Leadership #ShiftingJobDescription #Unpredictability #ScenariosVsGoals
Usman and I often debate the merits of goal-based planning, particularly in the context of employee performance. For instance, how much value is there in setting targets, KPI's, or OKR's at the beginning of a quarter, when priorities and goals are so likely to change by the middle of that quarter.
In that same vein, this read from the Financial Times explains that CEO's are beginning to question the efficacy of setting budgets -- the decades-long foundation of business planning. The cause of the shift is a mix of bewildering economic signals, and a lack of confidence in the ability to predict what might happen in even a few months' time:
As a result, companies like IKEA are beginning to move from setting goals, to identifying the scenarios that are most likely to materialize:
You have to admire Ikea for injecting that agility into its system. It takes courage to rewire the way you plan, and to force your team to adopt such a new way of operating, and thinking about the world. 👏🏻
#Leadership #ShrinkingSupply #ShiftingJobDescription
Anybody want to run the North Face?
It turns out a striking number of big retailers are missing, umm, a CEO 🙈; the result of a job description that now calls for new and hard-to-find skills, and a long-time underinvestment in formal management training programs:
This next paragraph is about retail but applies just as well to other industries (we've highlighted tech, in the past) which have failed to develop their leaders:
#Leadership #Inclusion #ShrinkingSupply #TheGreatBreakup
What are we doing, folks? Truly, what are we doing?
In its “Women in the Workplace” report, which surveyed 22,000 women and 18,000 men, Lean In and McKinsey & Co. found that:
Then, after explaining that, "Working women in the U.S. are among the most stressed employees globally", the report goes on to share:
And as usual when it comes to understanding work, there's also a generational dynamic at play:
When we tie this week's Stories together: leadership itself is changing fundamentally. We've done a really poor job of developing leaders, broadly; and of equipping people for modern leadership, in particular. And we're systematically squeezing a crucial source of leadership -- women -- out of the system.
It's a sobering picture. So we want to end by amplifying this positive note from Story #3:
Thanks for reading. 🙏🏻