Past Performance #4: Industrial Conglomerate
Challenge: An industrial conglomerate headquartered in Europe (with offices worldwide) is widely known for its electronics and information networks. In 2014, the company’s North America subsidiary hired Selena Rezvani to formalize a corporate strategy for its grassroots women’s network promoting diversity. While the network was technically formed in early 2013 – on the initiative of group employees – it lacked sponsorship, goals, and a clear plan with accountability.
Solution: Rezvani kicked off her consulting partnership through a macro-analysis of the electronics company’s competitors. Detailing where each competitor fell from a diversity perspective, including the number of women hires and women in management ranks – among other indicators – provided an important landscape to guide the women’s network’s planning process. The company was now ready to turn to its own culture. To that end, Rezvani traveled to the company’s US headquarters to brief the country president, then convened 20 high performing, senior ranking women across the organization over a full day offsite focused on creating a strategic plan. The offsite commenced with an interactive exercise to help the women build mission and vision statements for the network. This was followed by voting and polling activities that helped participants narrow the network’s programming, executive sponsorship, “rules” of engagement, and operating standards across satellite networks. Foundational plans were shaped for year 1, and a strategy with measurable goals, was established by the end of the offsite for years 2-3. A celebration and toast capped off the full-day effort.
Impact: The investment of time to build a strong, business-focused strategy for the women’s network returned tangible results. Today the women’s network’s crystal-clear mission is to help create a culture conducive to the development, retention, attraction and advancement of professional women at all stages of their careers. Their much celebrated vision is to empower professional women to realize their full potential as individuals and as contributors to the future success of our company, our customers, and our communities. Today the network is managed by an independent executive and sponsored by the general management committee. Professional development, self-assurance, personal fulfilment, and life/work balance are all topics discussed by the network, where advancement mechanisms like a formal mentoring program have been launched and supported. Today the network exists in nearly 20 regions, provides input directly to country leadership, and enjoys strong ties and collaboration with other budding networks at the conglomerate.