For the first time ever, a woman has been named to FIFA’s shortlist for the Puskás Award for scoring the best goal of the year.
Stephanie Roche plays soccer for the French professional team ASPTT Albi, and she's also a member of Ireland's women's national soccer squad.
Roche was shortlisted alongside World Cup efforts from Colombia's James Rodriguez and Netherland’s Robin van Persie. She says her matches are normally not filmed, but footage
of the goal uploaded to YouTube by her manager was viewed more than three million times. And Roche doesn’t think it matters that fewer than 100 spectators witnessed her goal, compared to goals scored in front of tens of thousands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“I’m happy that my goal has been recognized by FIFA and that a lot of people have been voting for it,” says Roche. She continues, “There are a lot of women across the world that score good goals, week in, week out, that go unnoticed.... it might give people an extra push to go to watch a women’s (soccer) game.”
This experience has a certain resonance with the customer service industry where lots of talented and dedicated professionals (men and women) are also scoring great goals for their organisations, without necessarily getting the recognition they deserve.
CCA held the third of our women in customer service leadership events in London this week, in association with Verint
, and there was a wide ranging discussion about the intersecting issues of women in leadership, with that of customer service leadership in general.
The thorny question as to whether there should be female quotas for main board positions was discussed, and there was a stark division in the group with a majority against on the grounds that merit should prevail. A strong counter argument for quotas however, was that legislation is essential for this scale of shift to happen, as discussion and persuasion alone would not change outcomes. In supporting quotas, however it was acknowledged that the transition would be painful, and may take a lengthy period to become ‘the norm.’
Interestingly Sport England have decreed that 25% of its board members should be women, whilst Germany's biggest companies have been ordered to ensure that 30% of supervisory board positions are held by women from 2016 under a new law. "This law is an important step for equality because it will initiate cultural change in the workplace," said Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was initially against the reforms.
The CCA group were not inspired by current female role models on the boards of leading organisations, partly due to macho styles of leadership, which were seen as undesirable yet essential to their success. There was a strong sense that organisations in today’s climate need to work towards greater authenticity, and that this could be achieved by embracing wider skills and behavioural sets than is currently on show.
When viewed as the’ submissive’ doing arm of organisations, rather than a source of strategic insight, managers in our sector may lack confidence to make their views known, despite the fact that they have a wealth of experience. Organisations who adopt top down management approaches risk scoring a classic own goal as they are missing out on priceless real-time insight which can create value, now and in the future.
The one day CCA MBA programme has an objective for participants which is ‘to be yourself more skilfully’, a phrase coined by John Knell in its introduction. It is intended to help aspiring leaders recognise their strengths, away from the fast pace and scale of operational pressure in their organisations.
Ultimately the goal for all organisations must surely be to question which roles are closest to customers, and to ensure that there is a requisite investment in leadership development - in other words ensuring that everyone shifts a few degrees closer to the customer. When this is the true aspiration, employees at all levels will gain confidence and a belief in their brand, and real talent will be recognised regardless of rank or gender.