In the landscape of women in leadership, the usual statistics look at the number of women in the overall workforce (over 50%), and compare that figure to the number of women in mid-level and senior leadership, corporate board service, and the CEO suite.
A recent article and statistic grabbed my attention:
That puts a lot of things in perspective when compared to the small percentage of women who serve on the boards or as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (about 14% and 4% respectively). Line-of-business roles with P&L responsibility tend to be the primary paths to board service and the CEO suite. Most women leaders are in staff-related, non-line roles.
To increase the number of women serving on boards of publicly traded companies or as Fortune 500 CEOs, it makes perfect sense to build a pipeline of emerging women leaders with P&L experience.
Here are some practical ways, as an emerging leader, that you can gather P&L experience prior to having that responsibility in an actual line of business role:
- Get into a sales role, and preferably one with direct quota responsibility. I was fortunate enough to get into sales early in my career, with direct responsibility for a $10-12 million territory. It was a mini P&L in many respects. I was responsible for overall strategy, customer and product mix, and business development of the territory, and my performance metrics were tied to the revenue and profit I achieved.
- Shadow someone with P&L responsibility. Spend time with a leader who is responsible for a line of business and its P&L. Learn as much as you can about how that line of business operates. You might even request a stretch assignment to spend more time in that line of business.
- Spend time with the finance department. Find someone in finance to walk you through a P&L statement. Learn the terminology, what makes the organization tick financially, and about the opportunities and risk points.
- Take a class. Look for formal learning opportunities as well. One great resource is Coursera, a company that partners with world-class universities to deliver online courses on a variety of topics (including finance), completely free.
Visit https://amyfranko.com for more information about custom training solutions and professional development services offered by Impact Instruction Group. Amy Franko works with emerging women leaders, teaching concepts from the international best-sellers Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and See Jane Lead to many national companies and organizations.
© 2013 Impact Instruction Group
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