Empowering Women in Business: Unveiling the Strategies that Propel Lynell Green’s Business Ventures Forward

Lynell Green has established herself as an accomplished strategic management consultant and executive coach for over 40 years. She has a proven track record of delivering impactful public speeches, leading leadership programs, providing coaching services, and consulting in accounting, tax, and finance. Lynell’s client portfolio includes notable high-profile organizations such as Meta, Twitter, Netflix, and Hilton, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. Her passion lies in supporting leaders in developing and implementing effective strategies that enable them to grow their influence and impact on a national and international scale. Demonstrating her dedication to personal growth and development, Lynell successfully completed the Warren Buffett 10,000 Small Business initiative program in Boston, where she worked alongside CEOs from diverse regions of the United States. Additionally, she recently obtained a Certificate of Specialization in Strategy from the esteemed Harvard Business School, signifying her ongoing efforts to enhance her mastery of strategy as a framework for leadership and life.

You have many years of professional experience as a consultant, coach, public speaker, and accountant. How do you define success and when would you say you first achieved success in your professional life?

In many ways, success is about having the discipline to focus and execute while being nimble, resilient, and innovative in a constantly changing landscape.  I say it is like turning around an 18-wheeler on a residential street.  The process requires you to pay attention to every move but remain confident in your abilities to effectively get the job done and not allow your own fears or concerns to put you in a freeze frame.  Success includes the ability to know when you are frozen and having the tools in your leadership toolkit to get back on track.

In my professional life, I first achieved success when I discovered that I do my best work in fast paced challenging environments.  After I left the international CPA firm I was working for, I became the Manager of Taxation at a public entertainment company, and I was bored to tears.  I let my CFO know that I was bored, and I was going to leave.  He asked me to wait, so I did.  Within a few weeks I was offered the Treasurer position.  I had never managed a multimillion-dollar stock, bond, currency, and commercial paper portfolio but with my accounting background I understood ROI, so I said yes and set out to do my best as I learned on the job.  Some days I felt like my hair was on fire as I traded on various exchanges around the world, moved currency for our productions in various countries, made sure our daily cash needs were met and excess cash was invested.  I had a very supportive CFO and he promised he would not let me fail, which he didn’t.  I consider this experience a success because I discovered I loved the pace, the daily challenges, and the learning curve which continues to impact the type of engagements I say yes to today.   It also reinforced how critical it was to have a leader take a risk on me and mentor me as I learned.  

What are the differences between diversity equity and inclusion? How do you incorporate it into your leadership training? 

Most of my clients are in the tech industry and have responsibilities at a global level.  I am working with clients in at least three countries every week.  This requires an awareness of DEI concerns from a global perspective. In a global context, diversity, equity, and inclusion take into account the complexities of various cultures, languages, and regional dynamics. Global organizations recognize the need to adapt their strategies and practices to create inclusive and equitable environments that reflect the diverse global workforce and customer base they operate within.

As an overview, diversity involves valuing and integrating diverse perspectives from around the world to foster a global mindset and cultural competence. Equity recognizes that different regions and countries face unique challenges and inequalities and strive to create equitable systems that account for these variations. Inclusion in global organizations emphasizes creating inclusive environments that respect and value the contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and regions. It involves fostering a sense of belonging for all employees, regardless of their nationality or location. 

Even in the most responsible organizations, a commitment from the C-suite along with HR structures for accountability are needed at every level for a company to have a workforce that effectively incorporates DEI practices. 

In my leadership training, one of the critical elements of getting everyone on the same page around values, mission, and vision is trust.  Trust requires everyone to be aware of their own conscious and unconscious biases and intentionally give each other the benefit of the doubt by being interested in the person, not just in their work.  I incorporate interactions in my leadership training that provide opportunities for participants to be curious and get connected with each other while still embracing their differences.  Everyone must be willing to assume good intent, not take things personally and be willing to receive feedback when they intentionally or unintentionally offend.  The work needs to get done, so a commitment to a DEI intelligent workplace is not at the expense of meeting KPI and OKR goals, executing company profitability initiatives or doing quality work so the company remains competitive.

Can you provide an example of a leadership training program that you designed or implemented for a global organization and how did you ensure its effectiveness across different cultures and languages?

Meta engaged me to design a training program that would address various subjects around employees’ career journeys.  I created a 6-session workshop, and I led an APEC cohort, a MEA cohort, and a US cohort along with a separate cohort for managers.  We had participants located in Singapore, Dubai, Europe, Brazil, Netherlands, India and across the US.  

I took time to understand what was happening in each region, the background of the people participating, and we sent a survey to each participant where they expressed their priorities for the training.  It is imperative that training across different cultures and languages has ground rules for communication and respect while participating in the training.  This creates a safe space for people to say things like “English is my second language; can you slow down and repeat what you just said”. Or having the freedom to say “I think in my native language so when you speak in English, I have to translate into my language, think about what you said and my response and convert what I want to say back to English before I raise my hand” or “I hesitate to share because I don’t think you will understand my English because of my accent.”  It is important that everyone is curious and willing to adjust to support their co-workers.

When we worked on communication, some participants stated how difficult it was for them to disagree with their manager even on important issues because it would be considered disrespectful in their culture.  We worked on how they could language their concerns to their manager that honored their desire to be respectful but allowed them to freely express their point of view without feeling guilty. Leading in multicultural environments requires emotional and cultural intelligence.  Results can be amazing as people discover more effective ways to work and communicate with a sensitivity to cultural and language differences.  Living in Hawaii from elementary school through college has uniquely equipped me with a cultural awareness that I bring to all my interactions with leaders and their teams.

As a leading consultant and coach, what skills do you rely on most to achieve maximum success?

It all starts with caring for each person I have the privilege to work with whether it is one on one or in a group setting.  I am reliable to listen to each person without allowing my judgements or opinions to cloud what is possible.  My premise is people don’t do what they are told, they do what they discover for themselves, so I lead from discovery to provoke leaders to see what is possible with their leadership by exploring the gap between where they are and where they want to be in their ability to expand as a leader.  I do my best work with leaders that want to flourish and are committed to supporting leaders arising on the teams and departments they influence; global leaders causing global leaders.

I also believe we are all operating inside of a strategy for our personal and professional journey even if we haven’t articulated it.  Exploring my clients’ strategic framework with them provides opportunities to present tools leaders can use to impact what they care about in every area of life.  My Certificate of Specialization in Strategy from Harvard Business School trained me to help leaders assess their leadership from a strategic perspective.  I love working with leaders and teams through this discovery process.

Another critical skill I possess is my hunger for learning for myself and to better serve my clients.  Most of my clients are executives at public companies which gives me the opportunity to read their SEC filings, listen to their investor calls and follow employee sentiment on various websites.  It makes a difference in my training and coaching that I have my finger on the pulse of the environment my clients are navigating.

Behind every powerful person is an inspirational role model. Who is that person to you?

My parents and grandparents instilled in us that anything was possible with a consistent work ethic.  Their influence is foundational and inspires all that I accomplish. 

In business, Anne Mulcahy, prior CEO of Xerox and her successor, Ursela Burns inspire me as the first fortune 500 company that a woman succeeded another woman as CEO and the role mentorship and friendship played in their story.  As leaders, we grow as we mentor others and help them navigate their journey.

I am a firm believer that it takes a village for anyone to succeed, and I love mentoring and being mentored.  Leadership is about the journey.  Don’t go it alone.

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