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In this episode of the podcast I speak with Uzair Qadeer, the Chief People Officer of the BBC about Enterprise Leadership and how this works in an organisation that not only makes the news, but often is the news.

We talk about the work he has been doing with the BBC Executive Committee to develop and enhance their Enterprise Leadership and how he is driving the BBC’s people strategy, cultural transformation and organisational change.

If you’d like to find out more about how to develop Enterprise Leadership in your Executive Team, or to find out more about the work that we’re doing with executive teams more generally, you can reach out here:

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Here’s some more information about Uzair.

Uzair joined the BBC as Chief People Officer in February 2023. He oversees the full spectrum of global human resources capabilities across the BBC Group and is responsible for driving the BBC’s short- and long-term employee experience, cultural transformation, and organisational change through the people agenda.

Prior to joining the BBC, Uzair worked in a range of senior executive positions. He was previously Chief People Officer at Carbon Health, a US healthcare provider, where he built and oversaw a first-class HR function to lead the company through a dynamic period of transformation. Prior to joining Carbon Health, Uzair was with Alexion Pharmaceuticals where, as Alexion’s first Chief Diversity Officer and member of the company’s executive committee, he built a global function that elevated employee engagement, created an inclusive environment, and drove innovation for customers through a sophisticated use of diversity and inclusion insights.

He has held numerous additional leadership roles, including in Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice where he advised clients across various industries and geographies on a variety of human resources topics, and at Bristol Myers Squibb Company where he worked in various roles of increasing responsibilities both in the U.S. and in Italy.

Uzair has been a featured public speaker and thought leader on the topics of employee experience, inclusion, and the future of human resources. He received his Master’s degree and Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Pennsylvania State University.

Jacqueline Conway  00:00

The organisational peak is a perilous environment. It’s more complex and challenging than anything that’s gone before. And as a consequence, both executive tenure and corporate longevity are decreasing. To survive and thrive at the perilous peak, executive leaders need to balance their functional leadership or focus on execution with enterprise leadership, that is ensuring the organisation adapts and our new world. That’s what we’ll be exploring in the advanced executive leadership podcast. Welcome. I’m your host, Jacqueline Conway. I’m the founder and managing director of Walden Croft, a consulting practice dedicated to helping executives and executive teams anticipate, navigate and lead at the paperless peak. The environments that executive leaders operate in has three major characteristics, increasing complexity, ethical impact, and future peril. By increasing complexity, I mean that the issues leaders face are not as a result of linear cause and effect with a few variables that remain fairly static. They’re the result of the entanglement of many moving parts. And so leaders need to be able to better diagnose when they’re facing issues that are complex in nature, and have a different set of tools for solving these sorts of issues. And then there’s the impact of these challenges. The increasing scope of how and where our business operates means that there’s a far greater potential for there to be ethical impacts. And these are not just felt locally where we can see them. But in other parts of the world, where there is an effect that may be even greater. These sorts of decisions, create outcomes that can last a long time. So being able to look at the long term consequences of decisions as the cornerstone of good executive leadership. Given these characteristics of the environment, it stands to reason that executive leaders must become proficient in working in a way that deals effectively with them. And that was, of course, Albert Einstein, who said that we can’t solve to these problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. And this is exactly the point. Let’s think about the meta crisis that we’re now confronted with, but as multiple global scale problems happening simultaneously, and interacting with each other in ways that create highly unpredictable outcomes. We’ve got a climate emergency exponential technology, the globalisation, late stage capitalism, the fourth industrial revolution, mistrust and authority and expertise, a rise in populism, extreme wealth, inequality, and deep societal polarisation. And now, the threat of increasing and escalating wars and multiple regions. Because we operate in an environment that’s truly interdependent. Having these issues in mind, and being prepared to explore what they mean for your organisation is now the role of the C suite. It’s because of this, that the idea of enterprise leadership has gained traction. And that’s a testament to the acceptance that the role of the C suite leader goes far beyond the functional responsibility and involves a collective form of leadership, that at its heart, is based on how the organisation adapts, and evolves to the challenges of the context it operates in the meta crisis is also characterised by Einstein’s point. That is, the meta crisis is also a crisis in our capacity for sense making and meaning making on a scale, but still relatively few are capable of and if ever, there was a developmental agenda for executive leaders. This is it to expand leaders consciousness to cope with the enormity of the challenges that we face. For some organisations, the link to the external environment seems tenuous. And it’s harder for those leaders to work proactively with the contextual challenges that they’re in, unless, of course, that adapt personally at seeings how systems operate. But for other institutions, they are so immersed in that context, that that it’s imperative that the executive team be operating with an enterprise focus on one such organisation that this is the case for is the BBC, that British institution that’s been with At the heart of our way of life for 101 years, it’s enterprise focus is that at both tails as the news and often as the news in our society that’s rapidly changing the capacity for senior leaders to be attuned to the ways that the institution must adapt and evolve is no small matter. And it’s for that reason, but I’m thrilled today to be joined by uzr Kadir, the Chief People Officer of the BBC, who has for the last year, been working with his executive colleagues at the BBC, to create the conditions for a senior team to consider their enterprise leadership and how to navigate it in a highly complex environment. Jacqueline,

Uzair Qadeer  05:46

Thank you so much for having me. I’m really delighted to be speaking to you today. My name is Uzair Qadeer, I am the Chief People Officer at the BBC. So as the Chief People Officer of the BBC, I run HR for the organisation globally across all of our businesses, whether that’s our commercial business, our news, our content, or anything else that we do. I also sit on the company’s Executive Committee, the operations committee, and I’m a key adviser to the renumeration committee. And as a part of my role, I also oversee our beloved children in need organisation as well. I came to the BBC previously being Chief People Officer at a Silicon Valley based company called Carbon Health, where I helped them build their HR function from the ground up. And before that was at an organisation called Alexian they were the world’s largest rare disease pharmaceutical company, and I was on their executive committee as their Chief Diversity Officer, where I helped them build a world class diversity function from the ground up. I’ve also worked at Deloitte Consulting for many years prior to that, as well as at Bristol Myers Squibb organisation. And as a person, I am originally from Philadelphia, in the United States. But I have had a gift of having lived in five different countries, including Italy, the UK, Spain, and of course, the United States. Wow.

Jacqueline Conway  07:11

So you’ve been on a journey to get to here. And my understanding is that you’ve been with the BBC for a year. And and I guess that must have been a very interesting transition to come into the BBC, how has it been?

Uzair Qadeer  07:29

It’s really been remarkable, and brilliant, and for a multitude of reasons. So the first thing I think that’s made it so remarkable is that, as somebody who is a product of multiple cultures and has lived all over the world, I’ve admired the BBC my entire life. Often you live in countries where English isn’t the main language. So the BBC also becomes media of choice, no matter where in this world you are, there is a piece of BBC that’s available to you. And that’s what makes this organisation so special, not just for people here in the UK, but globally. But it’s only until you walk through the doors of the BBC, that you really get to terms with come to terms with the reality of how much this organisation does. You think of the BBC as this brilliant content, this incredible news organisation that’s revered globally. But then you come in and you realise that there’s children need and their physical orchestras and singers and we are literally looking at a three month sprint of covering elections, the coronation and Eurovision Song Contest, and you suddenly realise wow, I thought this place was magical to begin with. And it’s actually even more magical than I thought it would be. So that part I think, has been quite majestic, to say the least, that the second thing I think that’s been a big part of my experience coming into the organisation has really been to really understand the passion that drives this organisation. Now, I came to this organisation because as a human that has lived in multiple countries, I speak six languages. I feel so passionately about the construct of free people and free societies, I believe. When people are free anything is possible free people go on and achieve their dreams, because systems are set up for them to do that. In a world where a number of democracies are constantly declining. We’re living in a moment with two global wars underway. At least we’re looking at a year where 40 countries will be heading over and having elections with half of the world’s population voting and the role that this organisation plays is what got me to take this job and made me so passionate about it. It essentially fosters ideas and ideals of free people and free societies and takes them to every corner of the world and I think that is priceless to be a part of. But coming in, you realise that you’re not alone. This organisation is made up of people that are fundamentally driven by those ideals people who want to do the right thing be Well, who want to bring incredible information, education and entertainment to people’s doorsteps? No matter who you are and where you are, you belong at the BBC. And I think that’s something so magical. And third, gosh, the 10 months, in 10 months, so I am in my style as Chief People Officer, I think chief people, officers should be creating organisations that are for the People By the People of the people, ones in which people best people can do their best work. So I have had face to face, or digital interactions with over 1500 staff members. I’ve visited all of our across the UK major sites at least once if not multiple times. I’ve held roundtables in listening sessions. And I think the intent was to hear everybody to hear perspectives of people that make the BBC BBC and then redesign and build a HR function that’s anchored in their perspectives and voices, so we can unleash the best of our workforce. And as a result, I feel very excited that within my first year, the HR organisation at the BBC for the first time has not only a brilliant centre lead across BBC strategy, but a three year roadmap that underpins that. And we have a very undertaking a sequence of game changing efforts from building a new people experience function to updating our diversity and inclusion strategy. So it’s been really, really, really exciting, inspiring, and in some ways, magical to be a part of this.

Jacqueline Conway  11:27

You’re speaking so eloquently about your role at the BBC, as a chief people officer and the enormous and important agenda that you have there within your functional leadership. But of course, when you get to the C suite, you sit on the executive committee, one’s role is both functional, and has a responsibility for the enterprise. So you have an enterprise wide responsibility. And I wonder if we may go into that a little bit. And you could tell me a bit about what it’s been like joining the executive committee at the BBC.

Uzair Qadeer  12:11

I have had a and I do feel grateful for it, I’ve had a gift of being part of really, really, really brilliant, top teams and organisations, teams that put the enterprise first themselves second, they’re always thinking about the well being of the organisation and its people. And I truly, really mean it, the BBC have in place. Probably one of the most remarkable top teams that I’ve ever had a fortune of being a part of. This is a top team that has some of the brightest minds, not just across our industry, but globally. In it, you’re looking at, you know, people like to Davey or Debra Hernandez or Charlotte Moore, these are some of the most incredible leaders that are out there in the media world, anywhere today. And they all have come to BBC for a single reason. And I think that when I speak to them, and I hear their stories, when I hear their passion when I see them working, the single reason is very similar to what brought me to the BBC, this burning desire, this passion for this organisation, and understanding at a deep level of the role that the BBC plays in British life and British society and what it means to all of us, and then the role that it plays globally, in taking the unbridled British creativity to rest of the world. And I think that this top leadership team really feels that they feel the weight of that, and they’re driven by that. And as a result, they really feel passionately about doing the right thing.

Jacqueline Conway  13:41

Number of the people at the BBC is without doubt, as is, in many organisations, really gifted people who are known as the thoroughbreds in their industry, and who have achieved great things in their career. But what I certainly believe about enterprise leadership, is that it’s collective leadership. Because it’s one thing to have brilliant individual contributors. And they are, of course expected to bring their deep knowledge and expertise, and what we were taught to be wisdom to the role, but it’s quite a different thing for them to set aside personal agendas and ways of working in order to do something for the collective greater good. And I’ve seen people who have been able to make this transition transition, and others who unfortunately have not, so I was particularly keen to find out if the executive team at the BBC are brilliant individual contributors are really also skilled and collective enterprise leadership.

Uzair Qadeer  14:43

That hits to the heart of my job as Chief People Officer. So I think that in an organisation it is the job of a Chief People Officer amongst many other things to create the highest performing well functioning, and the United top team. So one of the first things I did when it came to the organisation other than prioritising our people and listening to their voices, was to really focus on that, working with our director, general Tim Davey, who’s, by the way, absolutely brilliant and has similar aspiration to create a really united, well learned top leadership team, I have put many instruments and things in plays, that have helped us achieve a lot of that to bring the best of the collective together. And those things include at least three that I’d love to share with you today. The first one has been to really help create a sense of reflective self awareness within every member of the executive team that has included several exercises that we have done on interpersonal styles, social styles, how do you adapt how you work, adapt your style, when you’re working with somebody who may be very different from you? How do you collaborate across functions, and across different styles of collaboration, we have used tools and methods that are that are well researched, and scientifically proven, to drive a lot of those conversations and a lot of those sessions, and that that has been a real unlock, you know, when you bring a team together in a sophisticated manner, you put them through those programmes, you’re doing the right sessions and designing it for them, then you’re you’re embarking them on a collective journey of self reflection, self growth, and you’re instilling ideals in top leadership team that they have to be flexible, and nimble. The second thing that we have done, we have done a lot of work around enterprise leadership, really, really helping our top team understand that the best leaders out there, which includes them, and top leaders in the organisation or senior leaders across the organisation, the best leaders in the world are the ones that think horizontally, first, vertically second, when their backs are against the wall, when they’re in high stress moments when they’re making big decisions when they’re, you know, delivering breakthroughs and innovations that think about the enterprise first, and their department or their function or their discipline. Second, because the truth has Jacqueline, that the enterprise is what we all are here for our functions exist so they can support. They’re like the pillars that feed into stability and well being of the organisation. Often, I’ve noticed, and in many organisations, people don’t know that. People have tribal, this mindset. They want to protect their own department, their own team, they’re always thinking about goals within their own team. We have dismantled that, at the top team level, we have committed to and we have gone to actual sessions on enterprise leadership to make sure that we are all acting as a collective as enterprise leaders wants to think about the horizontal, first vertical second, so we can deliver the best of the BBC to the world. And the third thing that we have done is we’ve spent a significant time of amount of time together, talking about way effective ways of working, how do we work together brilliantly? How do we segment work? What do the best enterprise leaders do when it comes to work segmentation, essentially delivering work in ways that it’s always valuable. So so so in simpler words, so the juice is always worth the squeeze. So you’re not wasting too much time on things that are simple, and you’re not rushing through things that are too complex. And when when, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, you and I can spend two days together talking about all the work that I’m doing with the top team and how we are curating a brilliant Enterprise team. But when you look at that, those are the three big pillars that have really helped to set the tone for how this top team delivers, and why they have been able to be so successful in delivering what they’ve delivered over the last couple of years.

Jacqueline Conway  18:41

Fantastic. And one I’d like to one thread I’d like to pull on the is the simple complex, because of course, the complexity is a given at the enterprise level, particularly a global organisation, with the level of size and complexity that the BBC has. And but it’s a it’s a skill to be able to work with complexity, isn’t it? And I wonder if you could say a little bit more about what you’ve done to prepare the top team to work with complexity.

Uzair Qadeer  19:19

This is actually a drill, thank you for digging deeper into it. A double click on this, I think is a really brilliant topic to talk about. Because one of the things that I’ve learned in my career earlier in one of the boot camps or trainings that I attended was exactly this idea around how do you segment work? How do you manage both complexity? You know, complexity is one dimension as complexity goes up, but also the amount of time you should spend dealing with that complexity. And of course, if complexity is really really high, and you’re not spending a lot of time dealing with it, you’re rushing through it, you really put yourself and your organisation at risk of becoming hyperactive. It feels like you’re on a hamster wheel. You Just trying to get through the motions, but it’s not making sense. If the complexity is low, and you’re spending too much time thinking on it, involving too many people in decisions, having too many sign offs, writing too many papers, you’re putting yourself at a risk of being hypo active. And that’s not good for any organisation. These are simple things that you’ve done before you know how to do them. So you should be able to do them again in a meaningful way without too much bureaucracy. So you don’t want to end up in those two stages. So then that leaves you with the other two stages that you want to operate in. The first one is, when complexity is low, you do want to make sure that you use learning from the past on how you dealt with those sorts of situations, and very quickly lead your teams through that, to free up their bandwidth to focus on what needs what really needs, their time and attention. And that takes us to the last kind of bucket of work, which is when complexity is high, then if you free up your teams by leading them quickly through low complexity items, and quickly transaction lysing them and completing them, then they can spend freed up bandwidth to think about high complexity matters that are actually transformative. That’s where change happens. That’s where big innovation said that’s where uncharted waters are. And the freedom bandwidth allows teams to collaborate and innovate in really serendipitous manners. So that’s, I think, how we have started think about work and how we do work and, and how we segment work in a meaningful way. And I think thinking about that has put us on a journey to become even more effective as a top team. And as an enterprise team, where we are consciously trying our best, you’re not once nobody’s always successful at it, but we are trying our best to constantly make sure that we are productive, or we are transformative. But what we are not is we’re not hyperactive, and we’re not hypoactive.

Jacqueline Conway  21:50

When I think about those high complexity, issues that you potentially have to grapple with, then, of course, what an executive team needs, there is the space for dialogue and to be able to sink into the issue in a way that’s more expansive than the normal day to day sort of complicated or simple kind of issues.

Uzair Qadeer  22:15

There definitely is and again, very consciously created space to be able to do that. We’re very thoughtful about when we have our strategy sessions were very thoughtful about when we have our operational sessions, were very thoughtful about how papers are brought forward for either or so. So I think that I think that’s the type of stuff that top teams really have to think about. I think chief people, officers have to lean in and work with the Secretariat and offices of the CEOs and the DG, in our case, to really start to think about what are the fundamentals that have to be in place to be able to do that? And that requires a lot of constant sorry, very conscious choice making, looking at a menu of options and thinking, how are we going to structure our work? And how are we going to segment and put a label on what that work looks like? And then bring right thanks for right forums, it isn’t easy. I don’t want a lot of your I don’t want a lot of your listeners to listen to that and say think, oh, that’s that that he makes it sound a lot easier than it actually is. And and that’s really true, it is not easy. It is really a trial and error method, you really have to iterate over time. But if you keep on iterating, and keep on trying, no matter who you are, as an organisation, you’ll find something that custom fits who you are, and how that works for you. But starting to put labels on strategic strategy meetings, operational meetings, purpose of things, is a really great way to go about it.

Jacqueline Conway  23:39

Part of what makes the BBC what it is, is hugely diverse group of people all bringing unique talents and abilities to create something that’s just quite magical. And so that has to be woven into the very DNA of the organisation.

Uzair Qadeer  23:59

It’s it’s very true. It’s very true. And it’s very important for the BBC. So let me first take a step back, please and talk a little bit about diversity and inclusion, but also how we think about it at the BBC. So a lot of organisations talk about diversity and inclusion at the BBC, but think about it in a much more meaningful in a holistic way. So I believe, of course, diversity is super important in the workplace. I think inclusion is a non negotiable. All stuff should be included, respected, valued and heard. But I think what’s most important is belonging. And I define belonging as a moment where as I said before, all people feel included because of their uniqueness, not despite a fit. So we have to create a company in which every person can freely and unapologetically, but professionally belong. So when you think about belonging, then that’s where diversity and inclusion come to life and people belong, then divert people people with many different backgrounds can thrive. I can be who they are, can live their true sense of reality, can can collaborate and innovate freely. If they’re included, they can share ideas, they can take risks, they can innovate again. And that’s why belonging is so important. So we think about belonging a lot at the BBC. Now, for us that work is really important. Yes, the DNI work is super important, because it is the right thing to do. But at BBC, it’s also very important because our audiences come from all walks of life. Our audiences come from all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of lived experiences. And if we, as an organisation, aren’t reflecting the realities of our audiences, in our content in our work, then we’re missing something, then we’re not reaching out to them, and we’re not speaking to them. And therefore, DNI work done for us becomes really, really important. It’s about making sure that our workforce is reflective of society that we work in. So it can create the work that allows our audiences to see themselves in our content.

Jacqueline Conway  26:05

That sense of belonging must happen across the entire organisation, in every touchpoint that people come across each other. But as per our conversation about enterprise leadership, what’s the role of very senior leaders in supporting a culture of belonging?

Uzair Qadeer  26:27

Well, we’re on our journey. So I want to be quite transparent about the fact that when it comes to work so meaningful, and often so difficult, it’s the journey, not the destination sometimes. So we’re on a journey to create an organisation where we have a deep sense of belonging. But as I listed that, you know, I kind of said, diversity is important. Inclusion is important, and belonging is the eventual magic that you want to create. And another way to think about that could be diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act. But belonging is a pact. And a pact requires for every single person to come together and appreciate each other for who they are. So we want to create that, I don’t think we’re there yet. We want to be there. It’s a journey. But I think we’re doing a lot of work isn’t the first do to, in order to create belonging, you first need to have a diverse workforce, then you need to make sure that the workforce is included, and then they can belong. And in terms of creating a diverse workforce is where our work is really, really happening right now, in tandem of doing things on inclusion belonging, we have actually market leading commitments on DNI, we call them 5020 1225. They’re about creating a 50% gender balance in our workforce, ensuring that 20% of our workforce is black, Asian, or minority ethnic, ensuring that at least 12% of our workforce is comprised of colleagues with disabilities. And finally, the 25% of our colleagues come from low socioeconomic background by 2027. Those commitments aren’t just targets for us, they aren’t just quotas for us. What that is, is it’s our quest to say that we want to create a diverse and inclusive organisation that can understand our audiences and help us create content that can really deliver what the audiences have come to expect from us, which is a true business imperative, while doing something, that is the right thing to do.

Jacqueline Conway  28:29

So let’s then think about development, because part of that is how, how people are developed. And I hold a belief that as people move up and through the organisation, there are three things that fundamentally change and shift, the more senior you become, to the point where it gets to the C suite. There’s, a really big, profound paradigm shifting change in those things. And those things we’ve already one of them we’ve already touched on today, which is complexity. But the other two is around ethics, and future. So when you get to the when you get to the C suite, we’ve already agreed that the complexity that you are grappling with has increased. But as well as that your job isn’t just the day to day of what’s happening right now, of course, it does involve a component of that, but also involves you looking not just within the strategy cycle of three years, but perhaps 10 years, 15 years, 40 years ahead and seeing what are the what’s the world that we want to help create? What are the trends and disruptors that we can see, so that we can transform this organisation to be fit for purpose in that future world.

Uzair Qadeer  29:58

It’s very important Jacqueline that that organisations are able to do that not just the BBC that every organisation is able to do that at the end of the day, people are your greatest asset. Companies are made up of people organisations are made up of people. And if you do develop people the right way, to answer your question, then great things can happen. So, before we talk about how do we develop people, let’s take a big step back and talk about how we think about people in general at the BBC, because I think it’s really important. And I think that, I think that we have a really exciting way of doing that. So I shared with you earlier that we have now ever since I’ve come on board, we have decided to completely rethink the role of HR in the organisation. And we’ve started to focus significantly on people experience. And we’ve defined what that looks like, how we develop people, runs right through that. So if I could take a big step back, and first talk a little bit about what is people experience, I think I’d be able to help you understand how we develop people through that. So we think about people experience I always have I’ve previously written on this topic, I think about employee experience of people experience as five E’s of people experience. The first E is entice, even before you know somebody, or they know your organisation. How are you able to? Or how successfully Are you able to entice them to want to be a part of the BBC is your employer branding, the right employer branding? Are your job descriptions written in the right way? Are people excited about the work that you do is the work that you do is purposeful and meaningful. And of course, at the BBC, it is our work is fantastically purposeful and purpose driven. But entice is really important. If you entice, if your entice is set up the right way, then you organically attract people in large numbers that you would want to develop. So going, companies often think about development much later, but in my mind, you want to have right people to develop. And if you’re not focusing on entice, then you’re gonna have wrong people to develop that I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The second E is enter. Once you’ve enticed the right type of people, then you have to think about entrance the right way as well. And I have really, really challenged in the past organisations do and now at the BBC, we think about entrance quite a bit to enter people in a really meaningful and modern way. Entrance isn’t about a new employee only, yes, of course, you have to enter the new employee of the organisation and rapidly integrate them into the culture of the organisation at the BBC. We have a flagship BBC academy that has incredible trainings and tools in place to be able to enter people the right way. But we think about entrance now and want to think about in the future, as something much bigger, it could be about a returning employee, somebody who’s coming back from a parental leave, or a health break, just because somebody had to step out for a life event does not mean that they have to fall behind. We have to find this rapidly reintegrate them into the organisation and catch them up on what has changed while they were out. So entrance has to be the second E, which is a big part of development, because often people fall off of the development trajectory because they have to step away. And again, companies don’t think about it that way. Really, they think about development again, as Oh, can we send somebody to training can we do succession and talent reviews, which every company does, we do it here at the BBC, of course, and do it quite well. But you have to think about entrance. The third E is where things start to become really development focus. The third E is about engagement. In order to develop people, you first have to engage them. At the BBC, we’ve put multiple tools and mechanisms in place to constantly and consistently listen to our staff and engage them in a meaningful way. Whether that’s curating communities of senior leaders, whether that’s creating communities of people, managers, whether that’s having our annual staff survey, whether that’s putting into place things like my conversation, twice a year opportunity for people and their people managers to get together. And not only talk about work, but talk about aspirations of our people. So we know who we need to develop. And we have developed developing them in line with who they want to be. You can’t develop people against their desires and wishes and in directions that don’t want to go to right. So that’s the impoverished piece to 30. So important. And then you get to the fourth is sorry, engaged piece and then you get to the fourth e which is empower. And that’s where things become even more developmental. You want to develop people at different stages of their journey, and what fits best in that stage. We have one of the most exciting integrated suite of development opportunities, I believe, that I’ve ever seen here at the BBC, starting at our short term learning opportunities programme called Hot shoes to our apprenticeship programme and incredibly bold commitments on an apprenticeship ambitions, bringing in bright talent, giving them opportunities to learn giving them opportunities to grow at the BBC or use this as a launchpad for their careers and BBC account Atomy plays a significant role in that, we now have an enterprise leadership programme, which is fantastic. That puts forth a bold idea that enterprise leaders don’t have to be people, managers, you can be individual contributor and be a brilliant enterprise leader, you can be a people manager, and you can be a brilliant enterprise leader, you can be early in your career, and you can be an amazing leader. And you can be a senior leader and still be an amazing enterprise leader. And we have kicked off a component of that called Enterprise unleashed very, very recently. So a lot of work happening there on development as well. And then we do a lot to measure that development, we have analytics and dashboards that run through all of that, as well. We have other programmes as well in place that allow senior leader communities to be developed differently people managers to be developed differently. So the fourth II of empowerment is so important when it comes to developing and all those systemic programmes come. And then there’s the last E of people experience that’s forgotten, the fifth  which is exit organisations forget entice and Enter. And they forget exit, you can’t develop people, if you’re not exiting them the right way from the organisation. It is a reality of life, people find other opportunities, your best people do leave their people you sometimes have to part ways with, but you have to make sure that you exit them in ways that feel supportive, meaningful. And for those that you want to feel like you’ve set up the BBC as a revolving door for them, that they’re allowed to now go on and further develop themselves in another organisation or ecosystem. But they also know that when they’re ready, there may be possibilities for them to come back in a different role, different capacity and at a different time to the BBC. So thinking about the five E’s is how full development lifecycle comes to life. And we have, as I shared with you now, mechanisms, programmes, or in certain cases ambitions, to start to elevate our game and really deliver world class development to our people.

Jacqueline Conway  30:31

I wonder then, just to carry that the specifics of the development on? What do you think whether it’s at the BBC, you’re thinking to you, the rest of your career, are the skills that most needs to be skills or capacities that most need to be developed in executive leaders? As we move into the 2020s? And beyond?

Uzair Qadeer  37:23

I think that if I could pick three things there, and I do love your question around skill. So I’m going to give you the answer to your question. And then I’m going to give you slightly more that I think is really, really can can really be helping framing that answer. So let’s first talk about enterprise leaders, the top leaders in companies, I think, if I could pick three things, those are we already know, study after study shows us Jacqueline that one of the pitfalls that top leaders in organisations have, because they’re busy, they’re running around, they have, you know, for years led in certain ways and have built muscle memory around it. Top leaders struggle sometimes across industries across companies, from having low degree of self awareness. So the first thing leaders need to build to be amazing enterprise leaders is a deep level of humility. And as a result, a high degree of self awareness. If we’re self aware, then we know where we shine, where we need to surround ourselves with others, to help come up with best ideas. What what is it that we need to change? What is it that we need to continue to use as a unique competitive advantage? So we have to do that self awareness is so important, and I think that it’s the job of a Chief People Officer and Chief People officers should be out there helping leaders become more and more and more self aware, whether that’s through tools such as interpersonal dynamics, exercises, enterprise leadership exercises, so on and so forth. The second thing that I think top leaders should really really think about is this construct of being enterprise first leaders horizontal, first vertical second, and that requires a lot of time, that requires a lot of conscious effort. And I think that’s really, really important in order to create companies that can do magical things where leaders can come together and act in a united manner to create the best product for the users or customers, in our case, the audience’s on behalf and on behalf of them. And the third thing is it goes back to what you and I talked about earlier, great enterprise leaders can very quickly segment work and put work in the right bucket. Is this something we can do quickly? Is this something we need a long term strategic effort and time to think and do and, you know, finances and investments and exploration for? And are we trying to make sure that we’re not putting our teams in circumstances that are making them feel like they’re on a hamster wheel, or that are really making them feel like they’re in molasses completely paralysed? I think that word segmentation and rapid rate differentiation is very, very important. And with Apple training, you can build that muscle memory within an organisation So that’s really, really important that that enterprise leaders exhibit and learn about those three things. So then it becomes contagious across the organisation.

Jacqueline Conway  40:09

Yeah, I mean, I really agree with that contagion point, we often see that if you elevate your senior leaders, then you create this capacity for others to fill that space. So in so doing, the entire organisation lifts itself up, and it has a, it’s a highly developmental approach to the entire organisation.

Uzair Qadeer  40:36

You hit the nail on its head, because it’s like throwing a stone in the water, because then the ripples go all the way. So if you can change the executive team, the change then ripples across the organisation. And if it’s a positive change, then it ripples positively. But I answered your previous question around what is it that enterprise leaders need to do the three things I said to you, I’ll also talk about something slightly unrelated because you used the magic word, which was skills, what are the skills that leaders need, and I really appreciated you using that word, Jacqueline, because top leaders should constantly be thinking about that word, because we’re living in a world that there was a recent study that showed us that half life of skills is now two and a half years, I think the number was 39% of skills learned last year have become obsolete this year. When you’re living in that sort of a world gone are the days where leaders or people in organisations can make careers out of a skill set, it means we are transitioning and pivoting to a different world where people will constantly have to learn unlearn, relearn, and, and, and evolve new skills. We’re living in an environment where people will have to not operate in verticals. But in networks work doesn’t happen in a team that reports into each other, but it networks of teams that exist within a company, if you really want to do work the right way. And most importantly, people will have to evolve from construct of careers, to experiences, because it’s a breadth of experiences, doing different things, learning different things is what will constantly give them new skills that they need to succeed. That applies to the whole company. But nowadays, it most importantly applies to leaders. So leaders can then do that to themselves, constantly gain new experiences, new skills, new visions, and constantly collaborate to deliver amazing things. So this whole shift of careers, to experiences, verticals, to networks, and jobs to skills is a really, really important one, that leaders have to think about, as well as to think about how they can become best enterprise leaders and drive the change into their companies.

Jacqueline Conway  42:41

Absolutely. And, and I wonder if in addition to skills, there’s something about not just the hard skills that we need, but the way our way of being in the world, or values, the kind of consciousness that we have, you know, the capacity to think beyond just ourselves, but to others, the ethical piece that I mentioned before, I mean, some of these are skills based, but some of them go even further than skills don’t they.

Uzair Qadeer  43:14

That’s right, they go further, because I call them not corporate, non negotiables. It doesn’t matter what skills you have, it doesn’t matter how diverse or inclusive you are, it doesn’t matter how fixated or focused or obsessed with people experience or enterprise leadership you are. If the non negotiables are not in place, I believe nothing else matters. And I think integrity is a non negotiable. I take one of the things I take really seriously and have always have throughout my career. I like to use the term culture of integrity. I believe that we CPOs chief people, officers, Chief Human Resources officers, we should be on the hook to create cultures of integrity within an organisation. We should be having conscious conversations with top leaders around acting with integrity. What does that look like we should be talking to senior leader communities, people managers around that. One of the work that I’ve done at the BBC since I’ve been on board is to socialise across the organisation, ways in which people can raise concerning matters within the organisation because we want to create an organisation where when people see something, they can say something. It’s very important. Of course, you rely on people to say something professionally, in a manner that is conducive and thoughtful. But you want to create a system in which you’re creating different mechanisms and putting them and socialising them. So culture of integrity can take root. When I think about the future, a year into my job, years from now, if I could, if I could, you know, create my dreams that scenario and look back at this moment. I consider it to be the greatest honour of my career to serve this organisation at the moment that the world is then Today The world needs the BBC more than ever before. The threats to democracy, misinformation, abuse of tools like artificial intelligence, multiple wars, democracies, number of free people and free societies falling down. There is nothing I could have asked for that could have been more just meaningful than this. Then if I could go into a distant time future and say, what is it that I really want to accomplish here exactly that I’d love to look back and say we elevated BBCs people experience, we created a deep sense of belonging for this organisation that has really helped our audiences see themselves in the work that we deliver. And we have made this organisation one where integrity has taken a permanent route, and has created a lasting presence that will outlast hopefully, any of us that come in and out of the doors of this company.

Jacqueline Conway  45:48

Wow. I amen to that, there’s so much richness in what you as the year has said here, and it shows off the breadth and depth of an Executive leader with an enterprise focus has to hold in mind as the effect change in their organisation. If you’d like to stay abreast of the work that we’re doing in this area, please subscribe to this podcast if you haven’t already. In the shownotes you’ll find a link where you can sign up to receive my executive digest. And of course, reach out if you’d like to talk about any of this with any of us at Waldencroft.

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What’s required from Executive Leaders has changed. Find out how executive leaders and executive teams can survive and thrive in our disrupted world. Interviews with CEOs and insights from Waldencroft’s Dr Jacqueline Conway.

By Jacqueline Conway…

Dr Jacqueline Conway works with CEOs and executive teams as they fully step into their collective enterprise-wide leadership, helping them transform their impact and effectiveness.

Jacqueline is Waldencroft’s Managing Director. Based in Edinburgh, she works globally with organisations facing disruption in the new world of work.