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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

5 Simple Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization: #3

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

What do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality?

There is always room for improvement.  We can always be better.  That is why we recommend teams focused on gender equality and diversity & inclusion consistently challenge themselves to be better.

People believe it when they consistently see and hear the same message.

Our brains need to hear something 7 times before we really hear it, or can activate it.  Speed that up by engaging in a dialogue about the message.  To effectively deliver the message and facilitate this dialogue, get broad input from your team about key areas that are holding the team back from being truly inclusive.

Ask your team:

  • What are the barriers and obstacles to achieving gender equality?
  • What feedback do we get from women and allies in exit interviews about equality?
  • What data or evidence do we have that we are missing the mark (i.e. senior leadership team, pay, promotion, attrition)?
  • What gaps do we have to achieving equality?

Most often, I hear that organizations are blind to their own bias and the cultural barriers preventing gender equality.  Reflecting on the questions above, challenge yourself to get real about the answers.  There are always skeletons in the closet.  No organization is perfect.  We all have barriers. Read More

gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

5 Simple Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization: #2

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

What are we missing out on by not maximizing the talents of both genders?

People sincerely dislike missing out on something.  The old adage, “no pain, no gain,” captures this well.  We do not change for change’s sake.  We need to feel some pain to want to change.  That is why we like to start the conversation on gender equality with, “what are we missing out on?”

This question, as all of our gender equality conversation starters, does spur some debate.  That is a good thing.  High performing teams have healthy debate.  They invite different perspectives to be better.  We found this to be true for many diverse organizations in our “Pivot Point” podcast season two.  In fact, we have an episode dedicated to “Welcoming Diverse Perspectives” with leaders in the diversity space.

Rarely are organizations at gender parity

I often get the response, our industry (tech, finance, etc.) is not diverse.  Find me an industry that is diverse.  Education?  Health care?  Look at the top, not likely to be diverse.  The fact is that most C-suites remain 20% women, across all industries.  Non-profit may be the only industry touting consistently above this.

So, if we are not gender neutral at the top, how do we capture what is missing?  How do we quantify the pain?

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

5 Simple Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization: #1

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

What would our organization look like if our gender equality goals were met?

Most teams want to be more diverse, they just do not know how to get the conversation started.  You are not alone.  In fact, the term diversity often triggers those with privilege that do not see themselves as diverse.  It does not have to be like that.  That is why we have a series of questions focused on how to start this critical, productive conversation with your team and organization.

The first question is a visioning question.  I utilize these often in my leadership, career, and leadership workshops.  We need to see what is possible.  By anchoring to a vision of success, our brains see that it is possible, and map behaviors to support it.

Simply ask your team, or those in your next meeting, “What would our organization look like if our gender equality goals were met?”

I know what you are thinking, people will eye dart and look wild eyed in response.  I doubt it.  If you do hear crickets, offer this…

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

A 21% ROI is Still Not Motivating Gender Equality

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

The Business Case for Equality

We are leaving money on the table.  A typical U.S. organization has 20% or less women on their C-suite.  Most commonly leading Human Resources, Marketing, or Corporate Communications, women are still outnumbered on most leadership teams.

Why does this matter?

As outlined in the latest McKinsey Diversity Matters report, they found a 21% higher profitability rate associated with organizations that have gender balance on their leadership team vs. those that do not have balance.  Quantify that at your organization – look at your last earnings report and tack on an extra 21% – how much is that at your organization?  Money your competitors are taking, or worse yet, lost opportunities altogether.

It begins with beliefs

The best business case I have heard to date came from one of my clients in Southern Indiana – Cummins.  A male-dominated industry, headquartered in rural America, Cummins could easily make excuses for a lack of diversity.  Instead, they boast 35% women on their C-Suite.  They have an intentional focus on gender equality and belief that it is what is best for business.

They believe gender equality is a driver for future growth.

Their leadership team consistently shares that as a global business, their growth depends on the growth of developing countries.  Developing countries with women leaders in their communities grow at a much faster rate than those where women are underrepresented.  Therefore, to fuel continued growth, they need women reflected throughout their organization to mirror customers.  Genius.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

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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Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

  • Get our guide, The 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation.