Lee Lam has been a personal and corporate coach for 13 years and she has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Her experience ranges from technical expertise gained in data centres and trade floors, to strategic partner as chief operating officer to the chief technology officer. She has a dual honours degree in law and American studies from Keele University, is qualified as a coach, is ITIL [Information Technology Infrastructure Library] qualified.
Lee is a passionate advocate for gender balance and recently pledged her support for Womanthology’s #IDidItAnyway themed crowdfunding campaign.
I work as an independent disruptor consultant, through other consultancies or direct to clients, to provide a range of solutions, from identifying reasons for high attrition, to how to make a change programme reporting structure tell the truth, to helping senior leadership teams understand how they work together and what may be missing to give them the competitive edge.
I am independent so that I can retain my open and sometimes frank feedback – I will tell them what they need to hear, and what they need to do.
Being positive about gender balance
Being positive about gender balance is important to me because I think too many organisations are not making sound commercial decisions if they do not understand how vital all genders are to the future prospects of any business.
We have these entrenched behaviours and attitudes in companies that need to think more flexibly and innovatively in order to survive, and all genders contribute to that in different ways if they play to their strengths. Businesses have been focused on doing things the way they have always been done, and this includes how they approach their gender balance, using statistics, targets and KPIs to prove they are trying to diversify the workforce.
We need to shift the focus from numbers to impact and show women in positions of power, not because of an agenda but because they are the best person for the job.
Why gender balance makes good business sense
Gender balance makes good business sense firstly because it is extremely likely that women will make up a significant segment of your customer base. If you want to do business with women, then you need to get women involved as much as possible throughout the organisation, so you avoid blind spots.
Secondly, because business is changing and the world is changing. The financial crises and uncertainty of the last decade or so has brought about a distinct change in what customers are looking for in an organisation, in order to trust them.
I think the empathy and holistic perspectives that women instinctively provide help companies build better rapport with their client base and strengthen their corporate reputation and corporate social responsibility. Again, it is about connecting with half of the population!
Lastly, as more automation gets introduced in companies, the jobs for humans get radically reduced or changed. What do the new roles look like? What value does a human being provide that cannot be done mechanically? I believe that the answer is connection – the human face in an increasingly automated world.
This offers women a unique opportunity to use their emotional intelligence in a way never before recognised or appreciated, and that will be the difference between you and your competitors.
Supporting Womanthology’s #IDidItAnyway campaign
I love the sense of ‘group-think’ that has organically grown through the sharing of the #IDidItAnyway stories. I think they capture the breadth of experience and successes that women (and men) have had, and also the support network that women thrive in, that of mutual support and appreciation and gratitude. I see it as a catalyst, for helping women feel empowered, to challenge the status quo and to do what they love.
My motto for my career has been “I’m going to keep going until someone stops me” and I want all women to feel able to do the same – this campaign shows them it is possible.
It is important for Womanthology to be able to share more positive stories in the gender balance space because the success stories are out there! There are role models and model organisations who have tackled their gender balance issue and are starting to reap the rewards.
#ididitanyway is proving that we can do anything once we realise how important it is to us – motivation starts when you’re told no!
— Lee Lam (@leelamconsult) August 9, 2017
Change the focus
The focus needs to change from a stat game to real power though – at the moment positive stories are framed as the percentage of women in certain leadership roles, or targets for the number of female managers by the year 20-something – which hasn’t worked up until now – and so we can reasonably assume is never going to!
I believe we need to show as many success stories as we can to show that the success was down to the individual, not the gender. Womanthology provides an opportunity to showcase this, as well as crucial support and encouragement for women to challenge the status quo.