How to engage people in complex challenges

My LinkedIn post of 11 January 2022

How can we engage more people in the complex challenges facing the world?

I recently finished watching the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, led by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, on viruses and how science is fighting back. They were brilliant: interactive, entertaining, mind-expanding. There are surely lessons here for involving more people in tackling climate change and social injustice. Continue reading

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How the online world is literally a leveller

My LinkedIn post, 7 Dec 2021

Have online meetings affected your perspective of height and status?

I recently attended a physical gathering where most people hadn’t seen each other for nearly two years, except on screen. Real life was evidently a sudden reminder of our differences in stature, as several people commented on my height in relation to theirs. Continue reading

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The power of visualisation in coaching

My LinkedIn post, 23 Nov 2021

Are you a turtle or a dolphin today? It was the notices at our local pool directing children to their “Turtles” and “Dolphins” swim lessons that prompted me to ask myself this question.

Dolphins and turtles are two of my favourite sea creatures. I see turtles as wise, steady, focused, often swimming alone, while dolphins are curious, fast, agile and gregarious. Continue reading

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Will fear or hope drive climate action?

My LinkedIn post from 9 November 2021

“We should stop competing with each other on the future of humanity and start working together like adults.”

So said Paul Polman, campaigner and former Unilever CEO, on BBC Question Time, speaking from the climate change conference in Glasgow.

He was talking about governments and business, though the message applies to us all. Continue reading

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Questions for DE&I leaders to put to Boards

My LinkedIn post from 12 Oct 2021

“Inclusion and sustainability are interdependent. Both require global systemic change.”

How can DEI leaders help corporate boards address these burning issues together?

Investors are increasingly focused on companies’ climate goals. This is critical. But more attention must be paid to societal alongside environmental impacts. Progress on each depends on the other. Continue reading

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The onward drive for gender equity

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels

By Alison Maitland

As this is the last column I’ll write for the IWE community, I want first to thank and pay a personal tribute to Peta Payne as she steps down.

Those who know the driving force behind IWE (International Women of Excellence) will know how modest she is, never seeking the limelight. They will also know her persuasive power, her ability to harness different people’s strengths for a common purpose, and her determination to support women’s career growth so that businesses and societies flourish by using the best of all the talent. Continue reading

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Taking collective action for inclusion

27 July 2021 THERE’S something extraordinary about taking part in a collective challenge with a group of people who have a unifying purpose. We feel connected, even to near-strangers. We achieve more than we thought we were capable of. We transcend boundaries that limit us, as I wrote in this LinkedIn post.

My most recent experience of this was on a cancer charity fund-raising trek on the coast of Wales, a challenge made even more enticing by months of pandemic restrictions. It set me thinking about the parallel with building organisations where everyone thrives and gives their best. Continue reading

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What men can do to advance gender equity

19 July ’21 By Alison Maitland

Some of us have been saying it for years: achieving gender equity should not be the job of women alone. Indeed, it’s unlikely to happen unless men are deeply involved in driving the change, especially the men who are still the majority in many boardrooms and executive teams.

Why then, given the well-evidenced business benefits of balanced teams and organisations, is it hard for a lot of male executives and managers to engage with the issue? And what can be done about this? Continue reading

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INdivisible a ‘top pick’ for HBS Faculty Summer Reads

LinkedIn post, 6 July 2021 Exciting to see ‘INdivisible’ feature as a top pick in The Harvard Business School Faculty Summer Reader 2021.

Our book, which radically rethinks inclusion for sustainable business results, is one of the choices of Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, renowned for her deep expertise and ground-breaking work on innovation, leadership and strategy.

Her eclectic reading list also covers books on race in America, China’s environmental health crisis, ways to combat climate change, and finding common ground in divided times. Her work is all about empowering people and making good use of their ideas.

Rebekah Steele and I are honoured that ‘INdivisible’ is included in her summer reading.

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Connecting to nature, one insect bite at a time

LinkedIn post, 21 June 2021

Ouch, and ouch again! A hungry horsefly threatened to spoil a glorious day out with friends in the countryside. Nursing my bites, I wondered what would happen if I switched from feeling sorry for myself and tried on a different perspective.

If you’ve experienced horsefly bites, you’ll know the stings are sharp and then recede, only to blow up later into persistent painful blisters. My choice to reframe them owes much to reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book about healing the exploitative relationship between humans and the natural world.

How could I think differently about this horsefly’s unwelcome attentions? Continue reading

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