Volume 4, Issue 4 – October 2003
Institute for Women’s Leadership eNews
Welcome to IWL’s eNews designed to inform and inspire you about the progress of our global leadership community and commitments.
1) Alumni Profile
Susan Burnett – Hewlett-Packard
1) What are your name, title, organization and accountability?
Susan Burnett, Vice President, Workforce Development and Organization Effectiveness, Hewlett-Packard. I am accountable for leading all of HP’s people and organization development to ensure HP has the most competitive workforce in the world.
2) When and why did you attend IWL’s programs?
I attended Women Leading Change in Santa Clara, CA in the late 1990s.
I also attended the first Executives Leading Sustainable Change program (ELSC 2002) because I wanted to connect with other executive women on the challenges of leading large scale systemic change at a time of economic downturn and lots of business crises.
3) What skills have you used the most since the program(s)?
I have internalized the context, content, process model in all of my leadership interactions. I have found that by leading with context and getting everyone to express their goals and intent, and then forming a guiding purpose and shared intent, I can be successful in aligning actions to results.
Once purpose is shared, content (the what) and process (the how) discussions and decisions flow more naturally and are easily aligned to shared purposed.This also means that I have to “check my assumptions and conclusions at the door” before proceeding with any interactions. Listening generously and asking questions to get at the conclusions of others, helps me to be more effective at creating large scale change processes and successes.
I have also used the scaling of perspective model, to always scale up conflict and contention to that higher shared purpose level (company, customer, world) that no one has conflict with. By getting people there, I find I have enlisted them in a shared purpose that changes the interaction from contention to mutual problem solving – since we all want the same thing, so how do we get there? Once people are solving problems together there is no us versus them, which is the great change ‘derailer.’
4) What results are you most proud of having produced at work? What did the results allow for?
After ELSC, I made the decision to work more on my ‘being’ as a leader, and to really understand how my leadership was impacting the people in my organization. I am known as a tough minded, results oriented, business-connected staff leader.
There is an up-side to that reputation and a down side. The up-side is that my organization gets funded and supported during tough times because we are deeply connected to the business’s success, and we have a track record of delivering really high quality results. The downside is fear – fear of failure, fear of ‘losing my job’ as the priorities change and we rank performance on a bell curve.
So, I have worked on being generous in my listening and in my reinforcement of others’ strengths, acknowledging that many of the performance issues are ‘organization system generated’ and collaborating on root cause with my folks. I’m most proud of my employee feedback results for FY04 which show my organization above the industry and HP average in the majority of employee commitment and productivity dimensions.
5) What resources do you want from or do you have to offer the rest of the IWL community as you continue your leadership journey?
I believe that a robust alumnae network is the key to sustaining individual growth and learning. I want to find ways of continuing to learn from the IWL network in new, innovative and meaningful ways. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Coach’s Column – Frame of Reference: A Leader’s Secret Weapon?
Discover the single most important skill for you, as a leader, to hone.
The success of women-owned businesses has been amazing, and we hope our latest lending goal sends a strong message that Wells Fargo is unwavering in its commitment to women business owners,” says Joy Ott, regional president for Wells Fargo banks in Montana.
5) Glass Ceiling Survey – Results!
Dr. Lydia Johnson shares the results of her research on the glass ceiling and women’s motivations.