MReport April 2019

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32 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE diversity and inclusion within your organization. One way is to take an active approach to elevate the careers of others by helping them find their next opportunity. For example, if there is another woman or minority in your office with great leadership potential, you can advocate on his or her behalf, such as offering his or her name and expertise in a particular area. Helping other women and minorities gain visibility to the C-suite is an effective technique. If you find yourself in a leadership role, invite and include diverse team members with potential into your meetings with executives, where they can be seen and heard. If you are unable to attend a meeting, send someone on your behalf to expand their network and knowledge. Succession planning and identifying high potential, diverse candidates at the management level are other ways to increase diversity and promote more inclusion in leadership roles. One of the best tools for assessing a team is the Nine Box Matrix. The Nine Box is essentially a grid of nine squares that a company's leaders or managers complete to evaluate a specific level of the organization, typically supervisors or managers. Each candidate is evaluated based on a number of questions. Examples may include: Are they excelling in their career? Is there anything they need to learn? Do they have high potential to take the next level position? Are they struggling? The key to doing the Nine Box relies on all managers performing this evaluation regularly, perhaps quarterly or semi-annually. In a large organization, the Nine Box exercise provides visibility to those being assessed. For example, let's say Mary is a supervisor. Some managers may know who Mary is and will see her in the hallway, but they don't truly know her, her performance, or her potential. As a result, if she is a prospective candidate, other managers may not know enough about her to recommend promot- ing her. In a company that regularly uses the Nine Box Matrix, how- ever, all the managers will know who Mary is, what she can do and what she is capable of doing. The Nine Box tool ensures that women and minority supervisors receive equal exposure to and attention from managers, so they are better known to hiring man- agers. Essentially, the Nine Box Matrix helps create a culture of proactive cross-pollination, which results in a more level playing field, a more valuable workforce, and a stronger management team. Finally, networking remains one of the most significant ways to help other women and minorities climb up the organization. Company mentorship programs can help women and minorities women access training and other resources that help them develop into future leaders. The Importance of Seizing Initiative A s Shirley Chisolm taught us, women and minorities who desire to lead must take action. People with great leadership potential cannot wait around for someone to notice them. If you aspire to be a leader, you need to the opportunity to lead when you can. One of the best ways to do this is by leading meetings. If a meeting needs to be held, be the one to schedule it, and then run it like a pro. If this idea sounds intimidat- ing, one strategy that can help is reaching out to other managers before a meeting to discuss the issues they're concerned with and what their thoughts are on the topic. Once you've made these connections ahead of time, it can make it much easier to run meetings as well as ensure everyone with a voice at the table is heard. One of the biggest challenges with running any meeting is sticking to the agenda and keeping everyone on task. If someone starts to take the discussion off topic, one valuable tactic is to acknowledge that what they are saying is valid, but say, "let's make sure to address that during our next meeting." You have to be assertive to do this, but you will generally find that most people in the meeting appreciate your effort to keep things focused. Women and minorities continue to face challenges even as they ascend the corporate ladder. But anyone who wants to be a successful leader must be persistent and willing to take chances. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, "you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep taking shots and to encourage your colleagues to do the same. You, your career, and your organization will be so much better for it. DEBORA AYDELOTTE is CEO of LenderLive Integration at Computershare Loan Services. She is an established mortgage finance industry leader with more than 25 years' experience in business line development, risk management, and operational expansion and improve- ment. Aydelotte has worked with regulatory agencies and housing authorities in the U.S, the U.K., and Australia. She has also developed and chaired diversity and inclusion programs. Once you have made it to the C-suite or gotten a seat at the table, there are many ways to support the advancement of diversity and inclusion within your organization. One way is to take an active approach to elevate the careers of others by helping them find their next opportunity.

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