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Productive Gender Equality Conversations

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

The Yin-Yang Effect

There is a reason men working alongside women produces superior business results – higher profitability, lower attrition, better ideas, increased customer satisfaction, just to name a few.  I call it the Yin-Yang effect.

Yin-Yangs were popular when I was a kid.  A symbol of balance where seemingly opposite forces complement one another.  That is what allies for equality is all about.  By achieving more gender balance and equality, we both benefit.  It is not a zero sum game.  It is not a win-lose scenario.  It is a win-win when we work together.

Men and women are different – biologically, emotionally, hormonally – we are wired differently.  That is a good thing.  As women, we bring our feminine lens to the dialogue and men bring their masculine lens.  We look at things from a different perspective.  We win when we bring those different lens together to solve problems and make decisions.

Gender socialization is a term that refers to how we are raised as girls and boys.  From a very young age, girls are to be more collaborative, inclusive, and empathetic, whereas boys are usually taught to take risks, be confident, and be emotionless.  In isolation, these behaviors are not helpful.  A female dominated world would struggle to be decisive, set boundaries, and engage in conflict.  Male dominated worlds (just look around) struggle to gain buy-in, promote creative solutions, and engage people at work (current engagement levels are stagnant at just 33%).

We need to talk to our allies.  We have more in common than we have differences. 

So, what does a good gender equality conversation look like?

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How to Effectively Call Out Bad Behavior

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

Simple Tips for a Tough Talk

Speaking up together is a core strategy in our allies for equality research.  In the 40+ talks I have given on the subject, this strategy by far has the greatest immediate impact.  As I share stories and terms from our research, I look around the room to see women’s heads nodding and men learning something for the very first time.  It is powerful.

What do we mean by bad behavior?

Think of a scenario where you felt uncomfortable.  You know that pit in your stomach feeling when someone says or does something that is not okay.  It could be slight – interrupting someone or making an assumption about someone that is not true, or it could be egregious – leaving someone out because they are different or harassing someone with less power.  The term “bropropriating” categorizes this gendered male to female behavior as:

  • Interruptions
  • Taking credit for ideas
  • Over or under explaining (AKA mansplaining)

Participants often share these stories with me in our “Men as Allies” talks.  They saw something bad and did nothing about it.  They felt terrible, and were paralyzed in the moment with fear.  They were a bystander.

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Belonging: Why Women Are Not Advancing

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

When We Don’t Feel We Belong, We Do Not Stay

With much curiosity and energy on this topic, I am convinced now more than ever that women opt out of corporate America because they do not feel that they belong.  The exit interview data from women is interesting – most still cite work-life balance, caretaking, or finding a new opportunity as the reason they leave.  I believe that this is not the genuine reason.  Our feet are already out the door, what is the point in being candid and real?  This in lies the problem.  Women leave because they do not feel they can be real.  We leave because we do not like we belong.

A supporter and diversity expert, Jennifer Brown, says often that humans need to be “welcomed, valued, respected, and heard.”  We seek more than identity and a paycheck from our work.  In fact, in a recent podcast episode reveals that women are 50% more likely than men to desire purpose in their work.

Belonging is one of our deepest human needs.

This is a human need.  A wise man, Maslow, documented the infamous hierarchy of needs back in the 1940’s and this still plays out today.

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Recognize Your Allies

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

Recognize What You Want to See Happen Again

If you are lucky enough to have an ally, let he or she know they are your ally.  An ally is someone that acts as a mentor, a sponsor, an advisor, an advocate.  They could be a peer, a leader, a direct report, anyone that stands beside you in the fight for equality.  An ally does not exert their power.  They choose to be vulnerable, and step outside their comfort zone to help another that may be underrepresented or have less power.

We need more allies

I was fortunate in my career to have entrusted many allies.  Mostly men.  It is important we recognize our allies.  It models the way for other allies and encourages our allies to continue and grow as allies.

Here is my story

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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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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