I attended the compelling Renaissance Executive Forums All Member meeting last week in the Inland Empire, and it got me thinking about female leaders. One of the keynote speakers discussed this topic. Who would think it would take me attending an event to think about an obviously appropriate topic? I have been one of very few women leaders and consultants in manufacturing. For example, without my former CEO, I would not be here today as he told the Board of Directors that he didn’t care that his VP of Operations wasn’t a “grey-haired man with a Harvard MBA” because I was able to achieve results.

The point of the keynote by Maureen Berkner Boyt is that there is a war on talent. I certainly concur as my Skills Gap research states the same thing – only the best will attract and retain top talent. She cited statistics such as female leadership yields a competitive advantage: 2% more cash to the bottom line; 22% lower turnover rate and 30-40% increased patent citations from mixed gender teams. So, what are you doing to encourage female leadership in your organization?

One tip to implement this week:
No matter your position, think about how you can help promote the advancement of women. Is your culture accidentally supporting the advancement of males only? If you are a leader, take a step back to evaluate your culture. Are you looking for opportunities for female leaders (and career progression)? I’ve seen many clients overlook top talent who happened to be women. Are you attracting women with your hiring practices and company brand?

If you are not in a hiring position, you can still make a difference. What knowledge can you share? Can you recommend a female colleague for a key team? One easy tip is to keep your eyes open. Just looking for female talent can yield interesting results. Once you see talent, find a way to help promote these folks within your culture. I’ve found that if your objective is to look for solutions (instead of pointing out all the problems), they will appear.