The debate is on about the recent change in the board of Deutsche Telekom.
Claudia Nemat (42, from Mckinsey) will lead Europe (excluding Germany) from September, Marion Schick (52, ex minister of education and culture) will be responsible for HR from January 2012.
René Obermann announced plans last March that by 2015, 30% of all middle and upper level management roles should be filled by women, becoming the first DAX listed company to introduce gender quotes; since then approximately 200 women moved into management positions at the concern.
Overall it seems the transition is handled as a regular project project delegated to people on the lower echelons of the organization, not as a significant transformation that requires a well articulated integration approach.
Since the concept is missing for the transformation, no appropriate approach can be developed and in lack of a clearly articulated approach people are unavoidably set up for failure; the press already covered the first “victims”, quite intensively.
As more companies will follow suit and the competition for competent female leaders will increase, in order to ensure a leadership position in being able to attract the best, it is advisable to
- develop a defendable concept: why are we doing this? “…having more women in senior positions would make life “more colourful and also prettier” as Josef Ackermann, the head of Deutsche Bank said, is not exactly a concept; such statements typically signify that there is absolutely no concept behind the gender quotas besides simply the equality question which Obermann for example is trying to downplay. I’d go as far as saying that if you don’t have a defendable concept, don’t do the initiative!
- integrate this into the concept that already serves as the foundation for corporate strategy
- re-design the organization accordingly
These steps must serve as a foundation for successful implementation of any alignment initiatives, including those related to the implementation of gender quotas.
Without this, the whole initiative will lack any trace of qualitative consideration and will remain comparable to projects like: “let’s make sure that 30% of our switches come from Siemens”… that would be a disgrace for everybody involved…nothing against Siemens of course!