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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How to give ‘networking’ a better reputation

LinkedIn Post, 7 June How could we reframe networking to give it a better name? It’s an incredibly important skill. Yet I’ve noticed how often people, especially women, say they feel deeply uncomfortable about it. Networking may be negatively viewed as:
·     Asking for a favour, with the risk of rejection
·     Having to demonstrate status
·     Wasting time because it’s hit and miss

What if we saw it instead as ‘building vital connections’? Rather like trees and their underground networks. As author Peter Wohlleben explains in a Smithsonian Magazine article, Do trees Talk to Each Other?, trees share water and nutrients, communicate, and signal distress via root-and-fungal connections. Continue reading

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How can coaching support climate action?

LinkedIn post, 1 June 2021  How can coaching support people’s actions on climate change? There are so many ways, as I’ve learned from the excellent 12-week Climate Change Coaches course I’ve just completed alongside an inspiring international cohort.

Here are six reflections from my learning:

1. Climate coaching in one form or other is becoming central to leadership coaching.

2. Climate change evokes big emotions. We can hold a safe space for clients to work through eco-anxiety, anger, grief, overwhelm and feelings of powerlessness. Continue reading

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Designing organisations that welcome everyone

25 May 2021 How do we design organisations that inspire, connect and welcome everyone? Community initiatives can teach us a lot. Colinton Tunnel, a former railway tunnel on the outskirts of Edinburgh, used to be grim, dark and scary for the walkers and cyclists who passed through. Read my LinkedIn post about how it was transformed. This photo depicts a small part of the amazing Colinton Tunnel mural.

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What will matter most after the crisis?

10 May 2021 By Alison Maitland

How do you want life to be when we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis?

It’s a big question. You may have been too busy juggling work and home-schooling to give it much thought, or too overwhelmed by sadness and exhaustion to focus on anything other than just getting through. If so, I invite you to make a little space now for reflection, even just to jot down a few thoughts and let them mull.

The pandemic is one of those life-changing events that offer a precious opportunity to reassess everything and to refocus on what really matters. In this rare case, it’s global, collective and simultaneous, which means the possibilities for change are much bigger.

To make the most of these possibilities, we need to consider both what we do and who we are as humans – what actions we take and who we really want to be in relation to ourselves, others and the planet.
Continue reading

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Seven ways to find joy in climate action

LinkedIn post 4 May Is there room for joy in climate action? Anxiety, anger and anguish are often dominant as people face up to the enormity and seriousness of climate change. These are powerful emotions that must be recognised, acknowledged, expressed. But as humans we also need counterbalance.
As Charly Cox and Megan Fraser of Climate Change Coaches point out in their excellent coach training programme, painful emotions like anger and grief can tell us a lot that’s positive about people’s values. Someone experiencing climate grief, for instance, is also expressing their love for what is being destroyed.
Similarly, sorrow can be an expression of lost joy. So I’ve been reflecting on seven ways we can find joy in taking action on the environment: Continue reading

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