Thrilled with the positive feedback received from last night’s talent and leadership development event – “thinking outside the cube” – we wanted to share the knowledge, giving a short summary of key discussion topics and themes.
The approaches covered in last night’s event, and consistent implementation of them over the last 18 months, resulted in brightsolid achieving a finalist place in the ‘Scotland’s Best Employer Awards’ (November 2014) for our innovative approach to business, culture and 98% employee satisfaction – gathered through an anonymous survey.
The session was aimed at all interested in challenging traditional corporate structures and implementing new ways to develop talent, leadership and cultures of creative thinking, coaching and mentoring. With a focus on women, and the digital tech industry, the evening attracted a diverse audience from large enterprise and public sector to small business owners and entrepreneurs from all industries, keen to hear how they could use ‘out of the box’ thinking to foster a culture of equality and collaboration. We would like to thank everyone who took part and made the session a very dynamic, interactive and inspiring evening.
(Left to right)
Cat Leaver Head of Strategy at WEAREAD and head of communications at TEDxGlasgow, active member of the Lean In org and ‘Digital Doctor’ column writer.
Cami Moorjani, Learning and Development Consultant for the DC Thomson Group. Cami has created and rolled out (with the help of Karrie) a unique approach to positive, autonomous, coaching culture and talent development that has been so successful in brightsolid, Cami has been moved into a wider group role and is now able to support other group companies in the same way.
Karrie Fyffe Head of Delivery, brightsolid. This year Karrie made the final of the Women Ahead Awards for ‘outstanding contribution to business’ because of the positive impact her performance management frameworks, process improvements and company values reinvigoration has had in our team, and ultimately to our customers and bottom line.
The event formed part of the Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Festival that Dundee University run from the 7th – 28th March across the city, brightsolid are proud supporters.
In all honesty, we didn’t know what to expect from the evening, having never run a women in STEM event before, but from the outset the aim was to provide an open forum where enthusiastic women, and men, could share ideas, concepts and knowledge around our key discussion areas:
- Self-perception and the imaginary glass ceiling?
- Developing (and trying to retain) talent in Scotland
- How a colour injection can transform corporate values and culture to support personal and collective growth
- Contemporary behavioural approaches used in leadership and talent development: a brightsolid success story
Cat’s presentation revealed some scary statistics about the UK gender gap in work across all industries:
Women in part time work earn 9.5% less than counterparts and if the skills of women were utilised, this could deliver an economic benefit of £15bn – £21bn per annum.
As well as touching on the social norms that guide people into gender specific roles, leaving women under- represented in the technology industry among others. With an emphasis of ‘finding the right person for the job’ Cat called for a re-brand of the tech industry to make it more appealing, accessible and committed to attracting a more diverse workforce.
Our group agreed with the concepts positioned by Cat and felt that all industries needed a change in approach to foster a culture of mentorship and professional development to help boost confidence before a visible change could be seen in the composition of our employment landscape.
Our group identified and agreed on a common challenge: women and, in some areas, men are under-represented in gender prescriptive roles and industries across society for a number of reasons. The most common, with complete consensus across the group, being a lack of confidence and support to apply for roles out-with the ‘norm’.
A change in business culture to create an open, trusted, confident and autonomous way of working.
Proud of brightsolid ‘family’ culture, Cami and Karrie wanted to communicate our mission and voyage of discovery to revitalise our company culture and values after some internal Group-wide company changes almost 2 years ago (which made perfect commercial sense but left many team members feeling displaced, disillusioned and demotivated).
The brightsolid company values have always driven who we are and how we do business but through honest and open feedback from our teams, we managed to identify our strengths and weaknesses across the board. The areas for improvement that we identified were;
- Coaching and mentoring support for managers so they could reach their potential in their roles, and help their teams do the same
- Buy- in and engagement from all business areas to contribute towards and plan the business strategy and aims
- Behaviours. Because in a time of change or crisis, these can (and will) slip
Taking on board the feedback from the brightsolid team, as well as their diagnostics of the issues, Cami and Karrie crafted a programme of improvement (which is still and will always be in use as we continuously improve ourselves and our processes).
Using the SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) model and tools like Belbin and Insights for self and team development, Cami and Karrie implemented a framework based on our company values, the behaviours associated with these and a complimentary coaching and mentoring programme to help team members develop in their roles, or move on to more suited roles if appropriate.
Over the last year the brightsolid team have made a massive contribution to the direction of the business through consistent mentoring and coaching. Being part of a culture that has a flat organisational structure, open and honest communication flows and a healthy bank of trust has been key for us and our team members, who are excelling in their roles.
A number of people asked me, at the end of session, why brightsolid had organised this event and what we had wanted to get out of it. That’s a hard question……….We don’t claim to be masters of the universe and every day we make an effort to ensure that the improvement programme remains at the fore of our minds, but what we set out to achieve was ultimately, to help and learn form the local community and share knowledge of our culture, innovation and drive so that other organisations can take the ideas discussed and apply it to their own business and culture in their own way – innovation in practice.
Photography by Dundee University