Called to Lead: Discussion on Leadership and The Power of Diversity in the 21st Century

Do you have a diverse workplace?

One of the events that did not get as much publicity as HANA or S/4 HANA was the “Called to Lead Summit.” This Summit, previously referred to as the Woman’s Leadership Summit, was hosted by Jen Morgan, president of SAP North America, and attracted over 500 woman and men on Monday afternoon.

Over the course of the afternoon, there were many notable quotes and ideas shared on the benefits of diversity in the workplace. We will share three areas and the snippets of wisdom from each session.  The key takeaway from the Summit was diversity is no longer just a “nice to have” – it’s good for business and critical to company profitability and sustainability. And without inclusivity, there is no diversity.

  • Being Present – by Amy Cuddy, Harvard Professor, and Author
  • Leadership and Diversity Panel – hosted by Vanessa Smith, Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO
  • Fireside Chat with Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, and Jen Morgan

Before Amy’s keynote, Anka Wittenberg, SAP’s chief diversity, and inclusion officer shared some of SAP’s focus and plans for diversity. She said “by raising employee engagement by just one percent, we see an increase in $45-$48 million. If our employees are happy, our customers are happy!”

Amy Cuddy kicked-off the keynote and immediately engaged the audience with the importance of being present and feeling right. To emphasize the importance of the “Power Pose,” she shared a lovely story, “Saving Draumur,” about a depressed and downtrodden horse. Draumur regained his power and presence through play and recaptured his true spirit. You’ll love the Video.

Amy shared photos of animals and athletes getting into their victory pose, arms outstretched, chests extended, head held high. This is a power pose. A favorite example was the famed “Haka” performed by World Rugby Champions, New Zealand’s All Blacks.

The Haka is a traditional ancestral war dance that is performed before each game and is intended to get the All Blacks ready for battle, but also to intimidate the opposition. Before your next big meeting and presentation, get into the right frame of mind by doing the Haka!

During the Panel Discussion on Leadership and Diversity, executives were posed with some challenging questions by host Vanessa Smith. While most of the panelists were women, Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot and Chrysler emphasized the importance of diversity through the diversity of thought.

He shared his experiences when working for Jack Welch at GE or with his teams; he valued when someone had the courage to offer a different point of view. This response was raised when Vanessa asked: “how Millennials will impact the workplace?”

During the Fireside Chat, Arianna Huffington shared some insight from her new book, The Sleep Revolution. The gist of the book is that you have to turn yourself off. She told the audience, to keep your devices out of the bedroom. Do what you’re supposed to do in the bedroom and don’t get distracted by your devices.

Arianna reminded the audience that we get paid for our judgment and not for our stamina. Making sound decisions when rested and focused is essential to improving our work/life integration.

There were many insightful and provocative discussions during the Summit; we can’t discuss them all in this article. For more information on the Call to Lead Summit.