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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

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

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

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

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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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.