A Lean In-inspired personal and professional leadership development program
Leading Forward is a personal and professional leadership development program to support women and men in becoming more effective leaders.
Leadership gaps are a common problem in Southeast Asia where over 80% of companies say that they have trouble filling leadership positions. Leading Forward aims to address and fill this gap.
According to a recent survey by Linkedin, one of the top reasons organizations find it hard to recruit leaders is that candidates tend to lack soft skills and leadership competencies. Modern leadership roles have become more complex particularly in companies that operate regionally and internationally and that have a diverse workforce, where leaders are expected to be at ease in cross-cultural scenarios.
Leading Forward is meant to turn promising candidates into great, respected leaders by teaching concrete skills that will promote a more collaborative working environment, build a more engaged team, and as a result, positively contribute to your company’s growth and performance. In Leading Forward, you will be able to:
- Learn skills to be more self-aware and manage your emotions in a high conflict/tense situation
- Lead with confidence while leveraging and nurturing your team’s strengths
- Speak effectively so that you are heard and valued by others
- Become a successful negotiator
- Better manage stress so that you are more productive and can have work/life balance.
Globally – and Thailand is not exception – high-qualified women are the most untapped talent pool – the most difficult to truly leverage effectively – and that’s why Leading Forward pays particular attention to discussing how to make better use of female talent. Most companies struggle to retain, engage, and advance women – and surveys show that the issue is particularly critical at the mid- and senior-management levels, when disengagement for women goes up much faster than men’s. That’s when many women leave their jobs.
In Thailand, women hold about 35% of senior management roles. While this is a strong performance in relation to many other countries in the region and globally, there remains much room for improvement. There is also a worrying trend of senior women in Thailand retiring early, often to take care of family members. Almost half of women interviewed in Thailand through the Linkedin survey feel that there are not enough women leaders in their companies and they don’t feel adequately represented in leadership positions.
What is this a critical issue?
Because this comes at a high cost for businesses. Not only there are the usual costs of recruiting again and training new people, particularly in a tight labor market as Thailand’s. But also and very importantly, the business case for a diverse leadership team is well-known and proven.
Companies with diverse boards, or those with more women on the board, have better performance than male-only boards. A report published by the Asian Development Bank earlier this year found that firms that have at least one woman on the board significantly outperform other firms. Appointment of a female director is also positively associated with firms’ return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE) in the subsequent year.
In a way, this seems to be common sense and quite intuitive. A diverse leadership tends to challenge the status quo and be more innovative and creative, and therefore are better positioned to adapt to a rapidly changing global business environment. They also better match the demographics that they are trying to serve, particularly taking into consideration that women influence about 70-80% of financial decisions in the households in most countries. In a nutshell, it’s a way to stay competitive.
So it’s not surprising that many companies worldwide, including in Thailand, are trying to retain more women and promote more women to senior roles.
With Leading Forward, our goal is to build a more open, accepting, and inspiring leadership culture – one that is better suited to today’s cross-cultural reality and tomorrow’s possibilities. Most leadership development programs seem to be based on outdated success models and offer little help to today’s challenges and complex working environments.
Leading Forward uncovers and addresses deeply seated institutional and individual mind-sets that make it more difficult for high-potential talent – and particularly women – to rise to the top. It also works as a guide for executives to reflect on how the workplace looks like for women and how they can make better use of their female talent.
Our main target audience are mid- and senior-level professionals in large and mid-sized companies, either international firms or domestic firms operating regionally and internationally with a diverse workforce. It is also an opportunity for business owners and executives to better understand the specific challenges that women face in the workplace.