There is quite an ambiguity in running any programs that are aimed at women-only. Every organization has a big interest in Gender Diversity and changing the business world to allow more female leaders in all ranks of the organization. Yet, at the same time there is organizations who are actively supporting female (development) programs while at the same time an equal amount is strictly against any.


There was and is a great fear in organizations that these programs are mis-interpreted as/by:

One of the key elements to understand in the D&I work is the element of ambiguity. 


This is one prime example of this. If we want to change something, we have to take steps to get there. 


This may require some form of„special“ focus at certain steps along the way. While the end aim is an equal treatment and representation, this should not be confused for all steps along the way. This rather derails energy from the real focus point.


Inclusive leaders know the difference and act in confidence with this ambiguity.

Numerous studies are out there on the market that talk about „Don‘t fix the women– fix the system“. 


The term development programs inevitably implies the meaning that someone or something needs to be„developed“. This is a form of terminology. Of course, this is not about asking women to develop towards a male understanding of being successful and respected in business. This is not -and never has been- the aim of any female focused program. 


Engaging in any of those discussions is taking time and energy away from really getting to the point of the matter. 

While there are also a number of studies on the market that explore male and female leadership traits and behaviors, there is a common understanding that Leadership per se has no gender.


Leadership always is very individual. The leader you are is the person you are. 


Following are the different elements of a curriculum for leadership development. 

All effective Leadership Development models focus on developing multiple skills. While there are numerous leadership models, this one is a variation of the Brainard Strategy Leadership Academy model. 


The foundation of any Leadership Development is always the Personal reflection and core into who you are as a person. The leader you are is the person you are. And vice versa. 


The next level is what I call Professional. This is where all the tools come in for you to have the skillset and capabilities to do your job right. 


The third one is the element of Industry & World in which you gain specialised skills that enhance your effectiveness and bring you in touch with the bigger picture of not only what your organization is doing but how and where you are within your industry. And this circle is further extended to the world when we not only relate our actions to our own industry, but also to the sustainability and role we play in the global context. 


Another closer look at the Personal Level

The foundational level deals with the exploration of yourself. For this particular focus two elements are very important to allow the deepest form of exploration: 

Work & life realities can be very different depending on which group you are coming from. While the broadest is explored for women in business, this is equally true for LGBT, people with a (dis-)ability, and other. It is not meant to single out, put in the spotlight, and take advantage of any particular group. 


Acknowledging the fact though that realities are different, is paying respect to these realities and circumstances. It is addressing the elephant in the room with full consciousness in order to heal and transform the business world.