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Unlocking Your Potential

Leadership in Business, with Caroline Wilkinson

Don't miss episode 12 of the ASK Podcast, Unlocking Your Potential

Episode 12 – Leadership in Business, with Caroline Wilkinson 

If you haven’t yet subscribed to our Podcast – Unlocking Your Potential – you should check out our latest episode.

Martin Dazley, our expert Business Development Manager, catches up with his former colleague, Caroline Wilkinson of SLB, discussing her experiences of Leadership in the male-dominated utilities and energy industry.

Project leader at SLB – and with more than 13 years in the energy industry – Caroline recently completed her MA in the Human dimensions of organisations, specifically focussing on women’s leadership development programmes.

Caroline speaks about the unique challenges facing women in STEM, the barriers and avenues to leadership, and how her academic journey has shaped her own approach to leadership.

Combining studies of sciences and mathematics with psychology and humanities, then going on to work at SLB, Caroline explores how working with a huge range of people, in a melting pot of different cultures, different backgrounds, different working styles, it’s important to enter any new working environment and consciously observing the culture. That observation helps to know what things could be changed, what could be better, and how changes could make the organisation more efficient.

Understanding human behaviour helps in managing stakeholders and building authority in how you communicate, and how you recommend changes or suggest how things might be done in a better way. With a lifelong interest in understanding how people think and function, and her own professional growth, on a deeper level, personal development has always been a factor. Caroline’s own development saw her seeking out mentors and coaches, exploring a wide range of different voices and experiences to help shape her ongoing learning and development. This naturally led to exploring leadership development programmes when researching for her Masters Degree.

Working with Professors across different disciplines, looking at what was happening at business schools and looking at what was missing has given Caroline a deeper understanding of human motivations, and the actual dynamics of people working together. The specific focus on programmes for women was inspired by an international women’s day article about women’s leadership development programmes falling short; Heather Christensen, PhD, got an email recommending a women in leadership programme immediately after winning an award for her leadership – wherein she questioned why the onus is always put on women to be the ones who change their approach to working or leading in male dominated industries, rather than shaping the industry to better include and support those women in leadership roles and their access to them?

Now, both in her own role and as an activist, Caroline is building a powerful reputation for her advocacy. She speaks openly, and vehemently, about the fundamental issues women in STEM and in leadership face. Advocating for all women, and for other minority groups in her own workplace and the industry as a whole, and the resources that need to be focused on challenging or changing those structural barriers industry wide, leading transformation, but not as the responsibility of the person impacted by those barriers.  

Listen to the full episode to hear the full conversation, and don’t forget to follow or subscribe to the Podcast wherever you listen.

ASK Programmes are different...

Much like Caroline, we at ASK know that everyone needs to be factored into development programmes, and that our own industry needs to support better, more impactful learning and development opportunities that truly shape a better way of working, no matter what industry you are in. Programmes which bring broadening awareness of micro behaviours and unconscious biases, of the existing structures within organisations that have never been challenged or changed, and the over-reaching fact that impactful development needs to be a conversation that everyone is part of.

We have seen, in our over thirty years of experience in the L&D industry, that far too many development programmes are designed to either support the existing status quo, or as a way for the senior leadership team to ‘go through the motions’ of learning and development without actually having to rock the boat – which, unfortunately, means that very little new learning is taken into the organisation, or changes the way that people lead and work.

This is why we prioritise the transfer of learning, and start our process building the commitment of every person who experiences our programmes, ensuring that new thinking and changed behaviour is carried into the way that they work, think, interact and perform in their organisation, in their team, and in their personal performance permanently.

Find out more about ASK programmes – especially our own Coaching for Women – or contact the team to see how we could help your own leadership team to thrive, no matter what challenges you’re facing. 

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