Leadership 2025 – creating a more diverse sector. Why every sector leader should stand up and be counted.

Posted: 2nd May 2017

‘Diversity matters. In a world that is both diverse and deeply interconnected, companies and institutions with greater levels of diversity are achieving better performance. Most organisations…. have more work to do to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by a more diverse leadership team. Organisations also have more work to do on their talent pipeline to attract, develop, mentor, sponsor, and retain the next generations of diverse leaders at all levels. But with the rewards of diversity set to increase, investing now is the best plan. Winners will pull further ahead and laggards will fall further behind’. McKinsey & Company – Diversity Matters: February 2015.

The business case for having a diverse leadership should not require restating, especially not in the housing sector. Yet as recently as 2014, the then President of Chartered Institute of Housing launched a Presidential Commission on Leadership and Diversity identifying some big sector challenges to facilitate inclusion proclaiming that ‘While our workforce is diverse, this is not reflected in our leadership, which remains too white, too old and too male. Just look at me!”  The commission found that only 4% of our executive leadership roles came from BME backgrounds.  And it called for urgent action.

The talent is there, but it’s not getting to the very top. This is both a sector reputational issue as well as an organisational failure issue.

The programme is a 9 month (16 day) intensive Strategic Leadership programme. The programme is aimed at Large HA Executive/ and medium and small organisation CEO- ready professionals. Participants will:
Well today three housing organisations ((L&Q, AmicusHorizon and BME London HAs) and one sector renowned business school (Roffey Park) with support from Altair are launching a leadership programme to do something about this. And which may bring about the major culture shift that is still required in our sector, to truly live up to our professed values of inclusion and diversity.

  • Gain a critical understanding of how a senior leader delivers within the sector
  • Increase their ability to think strategically and develop their agility in response to uncertainty
  • Learn from live business issues in organisations that may be very different to their own
  • Build and learn from a network of peers and CEO mentors within the housing sector
  • Be empowered to think and act differently as leaders
  • Lead with more confidence and authority to achieve greater impact and presence
  • Develop their analytical, critical thinking and business research skills
  • Gain a recognised accreditation from a leading business school
  • Be in a stronger position to apply for, and succeed in, senior roles within the housing

Its aims are

  • For BME people within Housing Associations to feel there is a path for senior leadership To achieve better representation of people from BME backgrounds at senior levels.
  • To facilitate a sector-wide cultural shift that recognises BME people are as likely to succeed as non BME people

We’ve talked about this before. But this time we might succeed. The chair and vice chair of the G15, group of London Housing Associations have committed to supporting the programme and in doing so, are prepared to stake their own personal credibility on its success; the mentors are current leaders including CEOs from some of the largest and most successful housing organisations across the country, as well as the NHF and COH; the initiative has received support from the GLA, in London; and the bar for entry will be set high, with the Business School accreditation genuinely equipping senior professionals to be future sector leaders. And I’m delighted that 24Housing is supporting the campaign, as part of its creating future talent series of initiatives.

  • But to really make it deliver, we need two key groups to stand up and be counted. Firstly, employers to support the principle of the Leadership 2025 programme; to identify potential candidates for the programme; and to invest now in succession planning and talent management.
  • And secondly BME talent. Be visible, be confident and be demanding of your organisation’s leadership to make that investment for the future.

If we have these two groups working together and genuine sector leadership, we will create a sector of all the talents.

To find out more about the programme and how to apply click here

Steve Douglas is a Partner at Altair. L&Q, AmicusHorizon and Inquilab HA are happy to talk about the initiative, if you are interested.

He can be contacted on 020 794 0175 or steve.douglas@altairltd.co.uk 

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