2,000 Women in European Business gathered at Deutsche Bank’s Conference on 4 June to hear “trailblazing individuals who leave their mark both on society and in business” answer this question. The evening was choc-a-block with lessons learned, inspiring stories and valuable advice…this blog post provides a roundup, despite my usual means of note-taking being restricted by these pre-event signs – Argh!
When I shared this photo on Twitter, with “Hmm, that’s going to make it tricky to tweet” @TDRsalon immediately replied with “When will they learn!”. Regular readers may be surprised that it’s been three years since I voiced my frustrations to The IoD and they committed to change their announcements to “please leave your phones on”.
Frustrations aside, an excellent event, with fantastic speakers and panellists…
Interview with Joanna Lumley – conducted by Mishal Husain, BBC News
Absolutely fabulous Within seconds of stepping onto the stage, anyone who wasn’t previously in love with Lumley, fell. As Husain introduced Lumley there was the clunk of a bottle falling against some glasses somewhere in the audience. Lumley immediately responded with “steady darling!”. In amongst all the laughter and loveliness was an abundance of gems (Lumley knew Husain’s grandparents – handfuls of emeralds were involved):
- My mother told me: there is nothing you can’t do, so do it; she also told me to stand up for the underdog and face the bullies.
- If you’re going to take on something, don’t let them finish the sentence – just say that you’ll do it. Have no fear. You mustn’t give up. See it to the end.
- Ab Fab took six weeks a year. £3,000 per episode, £18,000. People should know. They think you earn millions.
- Don’t be afraid of getting old! It’s thrilling. I may be the only person in London who’s kissed every single James Bond – each was special in his own way…
- Mistakes? Not listening… when caught, say: Go on!
- In response to: Why a bridge in London, rather than, say money for Birmingham? – If you want to raise money for Birmingham, raise money for Birmingham. I’m raising money for the Garden Bridge. Do what you can. You can always do something.
For more, see Joanna Lumley’s lessons for the ladies of Deutsche Bank by Sarah Butcher at efinancialcareers.
Business panel discussion
Husain asked the panellists to share key lessons learned, skills required for leadership, and the most valuable piece of advice that they had received. From left to right (sorry, I didn’t take a shot including Luke Johnson):
Ann Cairns, President, International Markets for MasterCard
- Women often apologise for doing their job – stop saying sorry.
- You’re only as good as your boss thinks you are. For the best advice, ask your ex-boss. Once you stop working for them, they tell you everything!
- Leaders must have a clear vision – they need to communicate it well, and give people the ability and responsibility to execute.
Emma Howard Boyd, Stewardship, Jupiter Asset Management
- Seek out what’s important to you.
- Giving back is essential for leadership.
- When applying for a job, women want to meet all the criteria and not look at it as a challenge. Be very clear and precise when seeking a new role.
Daniela Barone Soares, CEO, Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation
- Focus on transferable skills. My transition from Investment Banking to Save the Children proved that my skills were transferable.
- You need both mentors and sponsors, You need to ask.
- Work out what motivates and drives you. Leaders have to have self-awareness – know your strengths and what trips you up.
Luke Johnson, Chairman, Risk Capital Partners
- I do worry about failure, but it’s only from trying things out that you get to the winning formulas. Innovation and experimentation are necessary for us to advance. You learn more when things go wrong. You will always recover from failure. Success is moving from failure to failure without giving up.
- Everyone should have a go at running a business at some point in their lives. I believe that entrepreneurs are vital for job creation, they are key to the UK economy.
- Most valuable advice? Two pieces: (1) start a business; (2) never give a personal guarantee.
Closing keynote – Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
Power-posing! I was aware of nonverbal communication and body language affecting how others see us… but can we really change our own minds by changing our posture?
Cuddy’s research shows that standing in a posture of confidence (even when you don’t feel confident) can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in your brain. It can take as little as two minutes.
Testosterone = dominance and confidence. Cortisol = stress.
Increased testosterone + Lower cortisol = Increased power/leadership/success
In Cuddy’s own words:
- Years ago, following Joanna Lumley would have made me want to hide, now I’m inspired.
- When animals feel power, they stretch, expand and take up space. When we win, we automatically do this – arms up in the V, chin slightly lifted – we can’t help ourselves, it’s hard-wired. The instinct is so strong that congenitally blind people also strike the pose when they win. It doesn’t matter that they’ve never seen it.
- What do we do when we feel powerless? Again, both animals and humans do the same thing. We wrap ourselves up. We make ourselves small.
- What should you do before difficult situations? … two minutes of power-posing improves all elements of the equation, increases creativity and your pain threshold. Our bodies can change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviour.
- Presence creates power, and power creates presence. Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.
- Power posing doesn’t change what you say, but how you say it. It’s not about faking it until you make it, but faking it until you become it.
For more, here’s Cuddy’s TED talk.