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Companies Getting Gender Equality Right

By | Coaching, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Learn From What Good Looks Like

I get this question a lot – you promote equality in the workplace – who is getting it right?

The answer, very few.  Yes, things are improving.  Nearly every company over 2,000 employees has a diversity and/or inclusion leader.  Some even have diversity as a top three performance goal and are measuring diversity.  That’s progress.  Yet, there are very few examples of what good looks like to model the path for companies wanting to improve, but do not know how.  The statistics are stagnant, with women still hovering around 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s and 20% of board positions.

So, who is getting it right?

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Do It Afraid, Talk About #MeToo

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Mistakes to Avoid & Tips to Succeed

It’s been nine months since #MeToo was sensationalized in the media, and where are we now?

Companies are continuing to struggle with simply saying the words “me too.”   Men are retreating from the conversation according to LeanIn.  And, now more than ever, we need to have this uncomfortable conversation.  We need our allies to acknowledge that we don’t have it right yet and we are not perfect.

If we are waiting for leadership to say the “right thing,” we will be waiting a long time.

Silence is not okay.  If you are not talking about it, you are losing money.  Research on unconscious bias shows that when people do not feel like they can be their authentic selves at work, they cover.  Covering means they pretend to be someone they are not to fit in.  This is exhausting, and tends to happen more to underrepresented groups (women, LGBTQ, disabled, race, etc.).

When people feel they cannot talk about the social issues or things that they care about, companies do not get the full potential from their employees.  Because they are spending so much time covering, they are not as productive as they otherwise could be.  They become disengaged, and do not feel valued, and their work suffers as a result.  Gallup studies on disengagement estimate that this costs companies $450 billion to $550 billion annually.

You want to talk about it but you do not know how. 

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EQ: Today’s Leadership Differentiator

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Emotional intelligence is a muscle.  We are not born with a finite amount of emotional awareness and flexibility; it is a learned behavior.  For leaders today, this is a game changer.  Leaders that have the ability to recognize emotion and respond accordingly with their teams, are far more successful.

Often a misunderstood concept, emotional intelligence is not about keeping our emotions locked up.  In my work with women leaders and their male allies, I often hear these emotionally charged scenarios:

  • What do I do when women cry at work?
  • How do I manage men yelling in the workplace?

How men and women process emotion is different.  The difference is that men are gender socialized to express it physically and women are socialized to express it privately.  While both responses are likely triggered by anger, women keep it inside, men let it out.  Neither extreme is healthy.

While these are common emotional situations, there is much more to emotional intelligence than tears and fear. 

Emotional intelligence requires two key skills:

  • The ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions
  • The ability to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others

We’ll cover how to assess your emotional intelligence, the neuroscience behind emotional intelligence, and clear strategies to improve your emotional intelligence.

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Pivot Point Podcast Season One Highlights

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

We’re proud that we have a library of 25 interviews and “Pivot Point” podcast episodes.  While season one is officially a wrap, we are busy cooking up season two.  While we are preparing a brilliant new season of fresh content, we wanted to pause to celebrate success, and share learnings from our first podcast run.  Thank you for your support, and for closing in on 1,000+ downloads!

Here is what we learned along our podcast journey:

  • Everyone has a story. Since launching the podcast series, listeners have shared their own vulnerable stories showcasing positive and negative examples of allyship.  Stories spark more stories.
  • It is addictive. I told my editor countless times, last episode, promise, all to turn around and find another amazing interviewee to showcase.  It is really fun to talk to different people and learn their story and provide a platform to share it with the world.  Quite possibly my favorite thing to do in my business is podcasting.
  • Let the conversation meander. The best episodes were not scripted.  We adjusted the dialogue to fit the interviewee’s background and let the conversation go where it needed to go.  As an interviewer, I learned to give the interviewee the space to co-create the content and share their story.

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What is Unconscious Bias?

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Gender bias is often much more subtle today than the blatant bias we used to hear and see in the workplace 20 years ago.  Yet, what we find is that bias is still there, it is just not as overt as it once was.  It is unconscious.  It is thought, not shared.  We are likely not even aware of our biases.  This makes it harder to detect.  To understand it better, it helps to break down conscious vs. unconscious bias.

It looks something like this:

Conscious bias:

  • “I do not like to work with women.”
  • “Women are not fit to do this job.”
  • “That is a woman’s job, men do not do that.”

Unconscious bias

  • “She does not want to be promoted, she just had a child.”
  • “We have to watch her travel schedule, she can’t travel that much.”
  • “We’re going golfing, she would not be interested.”

What is interesting is when I share the conscious bias statements, most agree that they are clearly wrong.  The bias is clear.  Yet, with the second set of statements, women and men alike struggle to see the bias.  Often, we have thought these things ourselves.  I know as a strong supporter of women in leadership, I have thought these statements myself.  It is unconscious because of the assumptions in your thought process.  Often our assumptions are false, but our brains love to make these assumptions.

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Asking What’s Next in Your Career?

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point, Positive Thinking, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

This daunting question seems to smack us in the face every few years.  We want to be better and get better, and often find ourselves stuck wondering, what’s next?  Having honed my craft through three plus years, supporting 100+ women through their successful pivot points, I wanted to share our lessons learned.

What your past tells you about your future

My favorite read on career transition (other than Pivot PointJ) is Now What by Laura Berman Fortgang.  She offers success stories, tools, and practical exercises to navigate your “what’s next” moment.  In fact, I have all of my career transition clients read it and do the life history exercise.  The life history exercise often reveals nuggets and themes from the past.

Try it yourself by:

  1. Writing down all major life experiences by age ranges (newborn – child, child – teenager, teenager to young adult, young adult to 20’s, 30’s, and so on…)
  2. Then, reflecting on how each event made you feel, document a succinct and bullet-pointed list with the event and the emotion
  3. Circling the overlapping themes and feelings
  4. Reviewing with peers, family, mentors, and coaches

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Build a Culture of Allies

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Now is the time that we look beyond our differences, and look at how we can support one another as allies.  This means that members of diverse groups need to support one another and enlist the support of allies outside of our diverse groups.  Diverse groups are usually defined by gender, LGBTQ, race, or disability, in addition to many more variables.  At Pivot Point, we choose to focus on gender equality because it is often the springboard for other diversity variables.  Because most humans can relate to gender, it starts the conversation from a common place.  Once we address gender challenges, we can then layer in the other diversity variables.  And, we need allies because…

We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

In our research, we found that organizations are wanting to build cultures of allies, where diversity and inclusion is not only appreciated, it is expected.  Allies provide a variety of support – they may play a role as a mentor, advocate, coach, sponsor, or support women as managers.  They play the role she wants and needs them to play.  As women, it is important that we get older white men involved the discussion, also known as the “good old boys club.”  We are not going to solve the gender equality challenge alone, by only talking to other women.  Men are decision makers and need to be included in the process.  And, most men want to help.

Based on our interviews for ONE (review and buy here), we confirmed common traits associated with successful women:  they engage men in their career development as mentors and sponsors, speak up for what they want, and draw clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives.  According to Harvard Business Review, women are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.  That’s because men in leadership roles seek to promote those resembling themselves.  As humans, we naturally gravitate towards those that look, behave, and think like us.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How to Have a Productive, Uncomfortable Conversation

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

I get this question from leaders often, “how do I share something with someone that they do not want to hear?”

It’s a tough one as a leader.  I get it.  I wrestled with this endlessly throughout my career leading teams.  Often, as leaders, it is our duty to share feedback and unpleasant information with our team.  This can feel stressful, and we procrastinate the tough talk, just hoping “It will get better.”

Yet, as I coach and speak to leaders, I see how uncomfortable conversations can have a positive impact, when done effectively.  When done well, the relationship improves through increased trust, and the team member can feel safer knowing that people care enough about them to share something difficult to share.

Some scenarios I hear…sound familiar?

  • Someone on my team is (fill in the blank unfortunate attribute). I don’t want to be the one to tell them.
  • I know they are going to get emotional when I share this, I just don’t want to rock the boat.
  • I don’t know if this person can change, should I even bother?

Flip the script.  What if we looked at these situations as an opportunity to improve communication and make positive change?

In each of the scenarios above, there is an opportunity to illuminate to someone something they may not know about themselves.  You see something that they may not see.  Acknowledge the power of that, and then channel that vantage point to park your own feelings and think about what knowing this could do for them.  Remind yourself that it is selfish to withhold information from someone.  You are not telling them because you feel uncomfortable, not them.  Then you can bring your own emotion to the conversation which can then hijack the person you are sharing it with.

Some ideas for a productive, uncomfortable talk:

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Women’s Leadership Conferences Best Practices

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

A participant, sponsor, founder, and frequent speaker at women’s leadership conferences, I have collected the best practices I have seen work first-hand.  The conferences that are growing consistently year-after-year know they must not only empower, but engage participants.  That means it must be a collaborative dialogue, where male allies are a part of the discussion, and participants leave with actionable tools for positive change.

Take Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation.  Since 2010, this organization has been driving influential change through inspiration and impact.  They do not merely empower women to make positive changes in their careers, they provide tools to support and connect like-minded women.  Their workshops are interactive, and keynotes have plenty of time for questions and answers.  And, they encourage male allies to be a part of the discussion.  In 2017, they had 60 male allies in attendance, of the 900+ participants.  Also, featuring a male ally panel, with a candid discussion about gender equality, received rave reviews.

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Are you Unintentionally Mansplaining?

By | Communication, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Chances are you don’t even know you are doing it.  Mansplaining is a real thing.  It is a behavior traditionally gender socialized by men that can be described as talking down to women, or over or under explaining when communicating with women.

Have you heard or said this before?

“I will explain it to you later, you don’t understand.”

“This is really complex, let me explain”….droning on…

This is mansplaining.

We’ll break down this unhelpful behavior and help you understand what it is, what to do when you notice it, and clever callout conversations you can easily have that make this potentially uncomfortable conversation more comfortable.

So, what is mansplaining?

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Gender Equality can be a tough topic at work

  • Get our guide, 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation, and get your organization going in the right direction