Leading from the Living Room: Adobe Japan

Our latest executive webinar in the Leading from the Living Room series featured Natsumi Akita, Vice President of Marketing at Adobe Japan. In this session, Natsumi shared her personal experiences in balancing her executive role at Adobe Japan with home life as a mother of three during the coronavirus crisis.

A few key highlights were:

  • Leaders should actively find ways to convert crises into opportunities. At Adobe, they transformed their Adobe Summit into an online experience, expanding their global reach and resulting in 250,000 attendees, from 20,000+ originally invited.
  • Adobe is passionate about supporting their employee’s wellbeing and enhancing productivity while working from home. Along with flexible work schedules encouraged, they have also introduced a WFH expense fund and a global Adobe day off.
  • Leaders need to be thinking about how changes that have emerged through the coronavirus crisis will be sustained into the future, in order to best leverage these opportunities.
  • Natsumi’s advice to her younger self would be not to be afraid of making mistakes: failure provides the greatest lessons and often can lead to discoveries of better ways of doing things.
  • Natsumi believes that to best support the next generation of female leaders, casual and two-way mentoring will be instrumental. It is through the lessons that women who have come before them have learned, that they will be best equipped to succeed in their careers.

Our live polls from the session generated some fascinating insights, with questions focusing on flexible and working from home policies into the future. The key findings were:

  • 54% of attendees felt that their company had only equipped leaders to lead remotely to an average standard, with 41% felt they equipped them very well.
  • 67% think their company will be updating their flex/WFH policy post-COVID.
  • 55% envisage the biggest challenge in transitioning back to working from the office to be managing flexible working arrangements.

Full polling results can be found in the insights document below.

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She Pivots Program

We are thrilled to announce that enrolments are now open forΒ She Pivots, a program designed to up-skill 10,000 COVID-affected female professionals and help prepare them for career transitions and new job opportunities.

The free, 4-part online capability-building workshop willΒ cover the following essential career transition themes:Β 

1. Building resilience & a career pivot plan

2. Identifying strengths & telling your professional story

3. Building your professional network digitally

4. Launching your job search with your action roadmap

As part of the initiative, The Dream Collective will mobilise its partners to form a network of Job Provider Partners, including Datacom and Canva,Β to provide access to suited job openings after completion of theΒ She PivotsΒ Program.

Why women only?

Research has found that men apply for a job when they meet only 60 per cent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 per cent of them. She Pivots ensures that this confidence-gap is bridged.

In addition to this, for the vast majority of countries, the early stages of COVID-19 layoffs have been focused in the services sector, where women are overrepresented.

Past experience and emerging data illustrate that it is reasonable to project that the impacts of the COVID-19 global recession will result in a prolonged dip in women’s incomes and labour force participation.

Ensuring women remain in and expand their participation in the formal labour market will play a significant role in providing many economies with the capacity to β€˜rebound’ with stronger, more equitable and sustainable growth.

She PivotsΒ will be launched on May 28th.

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Leading from the Living Room: Microsoft Japan

We couldn’t have imagined a better way to launch our Leading from the Living Room executive webinar series than with Microsoft Japan’s Head of HR, Katsuyoshi Sugita. It was incredibly insightful to hear how his authentic approach to managing people has equipped him to successfully manage huge transitions at Microsoft Japan, especially the coronavirus crisis.

A few key highlights were:

  • In order to make informed business decisions while navigating, Katsuyoshi believes the key is to understand the facts objectively. In making the best decisions with other senior leaders, it’s important to factor in that others may be inclined to either overreact or under-react. Leading with an objective-based mindset will help to gain consensus. 
  • A successful diversity and inclusion strategy that yields measurable results is achieved by positioning D&I not as the goal, but as a tool and process to become a better, more innovative organisation.
  • He believes the greatest barrier to effectiveness of D&I initiatives is senior leadership attitude, if senior leaders in an organisation are not committed to or passionate about D&I, significant transformation cannot be achieved.
  • Continual measurement and tracking of clearly set targets is essential in driving lasting change.
  • Coronavirus has accelerated the shift toward a more modern work culture in Japan, including remote work. To sustain this change organisations need to:
  1. Think about why the organisation needs a work style change: what are the benefits? How can they be measured?
  2. Start quickly and accept early stage mistakes. Learn from them and take corrective actions quickly, so that each day is an improvement from yesterday.
  3. You cannot change work style independently, you need to think about your company fit to remote work, factoring in your corporate mission, culture and values. HR policy and performance appraisal needs to be well aligned with remote work, significant issues will emerge if there is a discrepancy between them.

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Alumni Live Webinar: How to Prioritise Wellbeing in Times of Crisis

The Alumni Live session we hosted on prioritising wellbeing in times of crisis was filled with incredible insights into how to intentionally manage both our personal and teams wellbeing. We were joined by emerging leader alumni from Google Australia and Pexa, who provided really actionable advice including:

  • To lead teams effectively at this time, leaders need to first ensure they are taking care of themselves. It is important to create a schedule to prioritise wellbeing for yourself and then encourage your team to do the same.
  • To best coach your team as they navigate these times, leaders need to not only be asking the right questions, but also provide ideas and solutions in response.
  • In order to mitigate anxiety around workload or performance, leaders need to be open to resetting and adjusting expectations and also to ensure these are clearly communicated with employees. 
  • Leaders should embed empathy into their processes and communications to enable differing individual circumstances and challenges to be accounted for.
  • As a leader, it is essential to have the courage to have difficult conversations that may be required. 

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It’s Time to Stop Fake Political Correctness and Artificial Harmony: CEO Mag

In this interview with The CEO Magazine Global, our Founder and Managing Director, Sarah Liu discusses the notion that political correctness is actually hindering progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives. She argues that the good intentions of political correctness have stifled curiosity, understanding and our ability to empathise.

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How Can Employees Build Trust Digitally? HCA Mag

This HCA Mag article is a must-read for anyone leading remote teams, particularly for those who are unaccustomed to this uncharted territory. Our Founder & Managing Director, Sarah Liu, provides actionable tips for leaders to strengthen trust and role-model during this time.

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Alumni Live Webinar: Practical Tips for Imperfect Times

Our first-ever Alumni Live webinar was joined by 4 emerging female leaders from Google Australia, Hoyts Group, Lotus People & CHEP Australia, who shared valuable tips for leading teams through uncertain times.

We are so grateful to our incredible speakers for the rich insights, actionable tips and authentic advice they each provided. While there were so many amazing points, the key takeaways from the session were:
 
1. The need to balance vulnerability and consistency as a leader.
We’re all going through very similar experiences, professionally and personally, allow your teams to see your vulnerable side so that they feel comfortable opening up about how they’re feeling. In the current climate, this is more essential than ever before.
 
2. Be creative in how you engage your teams.
When working remotely, successfully achieving engagement across your team is far more challenging and the need to develop new ways to do so is paramount. We absolutely love Sinead from Lotus People’s initiative of creating a ‘1-minute dance-up’ with her team every day at 3 pm to keep them energised and morale high!

3. Be optimistic and realistic.
All of our speakers agreed on the importance of maintaining optimism during this time while being realistic. False or misleading optimism will confuse and disorient teams. Therefore, it’s important to be open about the impact of the circumstances on the business and provide a positive outlook as to how teams can best respond.

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