WOW FACTORS – THE APPROACH
WOW FACTORS is a qualitative study drawing narratives from 26 women across 17 geographies and a myriad of industries. In-depth interviews were conducted with the study participants that ranged from 75 to 120 minutes, which were recorded and later transcribed. With over 2600 minutes of live interaction, the narratives that emerged are enriching and inspiring.
Welcome to WOW Factors, a Celebration of Women Leaders who personify the power of intent, who share perspectives that amplify their impact, and empower possibilities for those who look up to them!
Our interaction with senior women leaders helped us discover three key milestones in their journey – Arrive, Strive and Thrive. Each of these inflection points represent a diverse set of priorities and challenges in their leadership journey.
Represents the key differentiators
aspiring women leaders focus on
to attain leadership roles.
Focuses on mechanisms to
navigate the web of expectations
women leaders deal with while
Delves on ways to remain inspired
both on the personal front and the
organizational context. Building on
the skills and capabilities that
would help them and others, to
step up to the next rung of their
What Women Leaders say about WOW Factors?
Thank you for sharing! WOW 😊
This is amazing. So many insights and I love the practical nature as well with the “placemat,” questions and next steps so readers can both reflect and act.
While I would like to read this again (and probably again), at first read, I found the crystalization of thoughts for all the people you may have spoken to, added with your critical insights, to provide formulaic set of guiding principles that women and those around them should read and internalize.
Some material is net new in its representation, something I haven’t come across before in other leadership related research. Congratulations. I bet this will be well received by all.
I really loved the report. It was amazing to see how through stories you had come up with so many data points which was very interesting
WOW! What a report – and so very different from any other report I have ever read!
Kudos to the team for bringing this out, and in your usual intellectually incisive and incredibly engaging style. This is worth many reads.
Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to be part of this insightful research. As much or more than what I have contributed to your research, I have gained many perspectives from this detailed report which needs to be read, re-read many times to go deeper into what makes us successful and what are the challenges in the road ahead.
Thankyou for sharing this – it’s a very interesting read indeed and timely for IWD2022
WOW! Indeed, this is an excellent research report, I will take some proper time to review – and thank you for capturing who is I am in such a positive way! #bebold 😊
26 Women Leaders took the time to share with us, their experiences and their perspectives, which has brought them to where they are now – highly successful and accomplished in their fields of vocation and volition.
This research report is a powerful tool that can open up multiple perspectives and possibilities for you in your Leadership journey.
WOW FACTORS – REFLECTIONS
The narratives that emerged in our conversation with women leaders have been classified under the following themes –
Predictors of Leadership – Unearthing the Wow Factors
Phases in Leadership – Arrive, Strive and Thrive
Postulating the Leadership Geometry– The Sacred Corridor
Meet Our ‘WOW’ Women in Leadership
Managing Director Global Accounts EMEA
McKinsey & Company
CEO & Founder
Regional CFO, APJ
CMO, Central & Eastern Europe
Head of Asia Specialist Sales
Sr. VP HR – Talent Management, OD , D&I
Area Business Group Leader, APAC
President Strategic Solutions
GDS Business Consulting Leader
Mary Elizabeth Porray
Global Deputy Vice Chair, Client Technology
Royal Philips Netherlands, ICICI Bank Ltd, Yatra Online Inc, Skylo Technologies Inc, IIIT Delhi
Qamar Wan Noor
Head, Operational Strategy
Sime Darby Oils
Anitha Scaria George
Vice President India COE and Country Leader
Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Vimala Sreenivasan
Senior Regional Sales Director,
Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals, Tata Teleservices(Maharashtra), Nilkamal & MedPlus Health
VMLYR & Regional Client Lead, WPP
Chief Executive Officer
Marzida Mohd Noor
Independent Non-Executive Director
Affin Bank Berhad & Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
Roopa Sampath Kumar
Chief Financial Officer
Five-Star Business Finance Limited
Founder & CEO
J. Sagar Associates
Managing Partner – Revenue
Stories that Matter – A Glimpse
She joined an American IT company as the VP and went in to meet the President on her first day. There, she came to know that one of the ex-employees had resigned that same day as he could not tell his wife that he was going to report to a woman. Another had left on the grounds that she came from a competitor company and since she was a woman, he could not work with her. So, out of the three GMs who were going to report to her, 2 had resigned and whatever the reasons were, they boiled down to her being a woman. She was taken aback by this experience.
This senior leader walked inside the meeting room as the new COO, there were 12 leaders in the room, she was the only female leader apart from the HR Director. She was also playing her previous role of being the Sales Director, thus, being in dual positions at the same time. As the imminent COO, she proposed a new foreword that would completely change the way business was being done. But after her statement, the other Heads in the room simply put forward a few facts here and there, moving to the next topic in the agenda. So, her proposal was ignored right away and without any implication, she and her foreword were shrugged aside as if nothing had been mentioned. This compelled her to think where she went wrong. Whether she had not projected her idea in the right way or if she was not well-prepared or if she should have spoken to the stakeholders privately before the meeting to gain their confidence.
One of the values practiced by her organization is “The Obligation to Dissent” wherein one not only had the right but an obligation to raise his/her voice and disagree if one felt strongly about something. So, she was very inspired by this value, and she felt very deeply about the project she was working on. While they were working on it, at one point she felt that if they changed their approach and did it in a different way, then they could double the impact it was going to have. So, she spoke to the leaders of the project who listened to her and gave her access to the best experts in the world on clean water. Together with them, she came up with a new approach and after adopting that approach, the impact was nearly doubled (1.8 times). This was one of the most fulfilling projects for her wherein she did not have to wait for a formal leadership position to vocalize her opinion and have an impact. She felt truly empowered by this experience
In those times, when she used to be the only female in her group, she used to enter the meeting room full of men, smoking and chatting. Nobody paid attention to what she had to say and no matter how much she tried, she was ignored. So, she felt that things needed to change, and she wanted her voice to be heard. To create an impact, people needed to know her thoughts. So, she came for meetings fully prepared, having done her homework well. As a result, her senior leaders started observing her and taking note of her actions. They gradually started asking her questions and involving her in the presentations, soliciting her opinion at the end if she did not add anything. This boosted her confidence. She also had the habit of raising her hand and asking her seniors if they were going to do something new. She was always keen on taking up new roles and responsibilities that opened many avenues for her.
She was invited by her customers to visit their lab and see how things were done. Incidentally, at that point of time they were also manufacturing kits for COVID tests. They were on the verge of making a big breakthrough as in contrast to the kits being used by all other countries, this kit could give results in just 2.5 hrs. But her customer was in a crisis as she lacked the reagents and the equipment for performing the Q-PCR and this was holding her back from a great innovation. When she revealed this to our senior leader, she decided to plunge in and see if she could help her out. Although she was not a direct customer for the leader, she went ahead and spoke to some people who agreed to give the customer a chance to demonstrate her test-kit. This is how she helped them get the equipment to manufacture the kits and they were overwhelmed by this kind of empathetic leadership. Being able to help someone achieve something big because of the position she held, and her network made her feel worthy of what she was doing in her life. She reacted and responded at the right time and moved things speedily enough to affect the result.
DISCOVERING AND DEFINING YOUR LEADERSHIP GEOMETRY
Leadership as a concept represents higher consciousness and is formless and timeless, while its expression is reflected by people who have chosen to lead. Our research with senior women leaders helped us discern a pattern in their journey and a sense of infiniteness in the destination they seek. In WOW Factors, we present a diagrammatic representation of their journey titled The Sacred Corridor – inspired by the tantric artefact Sri Chakra.
THE SACRED CORRIDOR FOR LEADERSHIPTM
A Visual Model to the Leadership Journey
To fully understand each of the elements of the Sacred Corridor and to know how to navigate through them to reach your full potential as a Leader, download the report.