The role of a CEO in driving diversity and change – Insurance Business NZ

Posted: October 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm

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She said its also important for leaders to be authentic about their efforts, and if the issue is treated as a box-ticking exercise, its impact will be diminished very quickly.

CEOs really set the tone and culture for diversity in their organisations, and they do that through visible demonstration of their commitment to diversity, Ferguson commented.

Read more: Diversity should just be about ticking the box

That can happen through the things they do every day, but also through the policies and procedures they put in place to champion diversity. Its about proactivity, speaking widely and being prepared to have those hard conversations across your organisation, but confidently and with authenticity.

People know when you arent speaking authentically, so its about really living and breathing diversity and being able to articulate that from a business, social and cultural perspective.

Ferguson said that a positive side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that its moved the flexible working conversation forward, but she said leaders now need to be prepared to commit to what it involves long-term.

Its also about being able to listen to feedback and take it on board, and doing that throughout the entire organisation not just talking about it as something that needs to be done around the boardroom table, she said.

You need to take the time and commitment to speak to people on the front line, really understand what the challenges are, and then be prepared to put things in place.

You also need to put the lens on your organisation, and be prepared to have hard conversations around equal pay, she added. And then its about being prepared to pull the levers you need to in order to balance that out.

Teresa Tepania-Ashton, CEO of Mori Womens Development an organisation offering support, loans and coaching to Mori women in business said that a CEOs role as the head of the company is to identify the key values of the business, and to implement change based on those values.

Read more: Top executive on the momentum of change for women in insurance

She noted that a leaders role can be illustrated by a Mori proverb e t ki te kei o te waka, kia pakia koe e ng ngaru o te w. To stand at the stern of the canoe, and feel the spray of the future biting at your face.

The CEO is at the cold face, and not only do we implement, inform and direct both culture and change, whether it be to our governors or staff, we really need to direct and drive that canoe forward, Tepania-Ashton said.

COVID has helped us make that change for those who already predicted a change in trends, the move was seamless but others have needed to catch up.

For me, change in direction needs to be at the core of everything, she explained.

Change is inevitable, and, through that, we actually find the culture within our organisations. At Mori Womens Development, we are really keen on life coaching and mindfulness as a key component of our culture, because its driven by our values and to me, values drive what change in culture should be. Once we identify what those are, we can ensure that right at the top in governance we have diversity, and we have policies that guide our culture.

So for me, the CEOs role in driving change is to stand at the stern of that waka and steer, change, innovate and pivot in the right direction.

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The role of a CEO in driving diversity and change - Insurance Business NZ

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October 27th, 2020 at 4:58 pm

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