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

Negotiation: Ask for What You Want

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking | No Comments

Research shows that men are four times more likely to negotiate than a woman.  Women leaders do not speak up and ask for what they want, especially if it feels selfish.  Yet, women are more successful negotiators than men when negotiating on someone else’s behalf.  We have the skill, just lack the will.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to speaking up.

For women looking to strengthen your negotiation skills, practice:

  • Channeling your purpose and passion
  • Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground
  • Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Channeling your purpose and passion

Humans are wired emotionally.  We are far more likely to take action based on a strong purpose or “why” than the tactical “what” or “how.”  Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, articulates this beautifully with proven research.  That means that when we decide to negotiate, knowing why we want what we want is pivotal.  And, when we share our ask with conviction, passion, and confidence, our audience is more likely to respond positively.

Preparation pays off.  Thinking about what you want, why you want it, and how it will work is key.  We encourage women leaders to document their negotiation plan.  Outline the what, why, and how, focusing on your unique purpose and passions.

Choose your battles.  Ask for what you want that align most with your purpose and passion areas.  We may get finite chances to ask for it, so it is important to be strategic and focus on what you truly want vs. nice to haves.  Reflect on this question, what is one thing that will have the greatest impact on me (personally, professionally, etc.)?  That’s your winner.

Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground

Establishing common ground early in a discussion is important.  With our plan in hand outlining our what, why, and how, we’re armed and ready to initiate a dialogue.  Once we have stated our ask, pause and take a breath, and ask our audience, “what do you think?”  Such a simple, yet powerful question.  When we ask the question early, we involve the audience in the discussion and facilitate a brainstorm collaboration vs. the oppositional “what I want” vs. “what you want” unproductive conversation ping-pong.  This establishes common ground based on both parties’ interests.

Positive intent is a game changer.  Assume your audience has positive intentions, just as you do.  Most people are good people.  That means they want to help us.  By putting yourself out there with your ask, you have demonstrated vulnerability, and most people respond by mirroring that vulnerability.  If you are communicating with the decision maker, assume that they are aligned.  They just need to understand the what, why, and how of your ask to get there.

Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Remember that you have likely been thinking about your ask much longer than the party you are speaking with.  This may be the first time they have thought about it.  To facilitate their thinking, ask lots of open-ended questions.  Powerful questions start with “what” and “how,” or my personal favorite “tell me more.”  Good negotiators listen more than they speak.  They take copious notes and have already anticipated what their audience may want too, or what their questions will be.

In your preparation plan, make sure to brainstorm areas of alignment.  Where are the places you both win.  Offering up something that helps your audience early encourages them to engage and support you.  Emphasizing commonality vs. differences bridges the gap in perceptions.  Be sure to give your audience space and time to think too.  Once you have articulated the what, why, and how, and asked at least three questions, it’s okay to back off.  Do be sure to schedule a follow up time to talk, or ask for the expectation of decision making time frame.  There is nothing worse than having the tough talk, and then nothing happening.  It’s your job to follow up.

My women’s leadership crush

I had the thrill of meeting one of women’s leadership crushes last month at a conference.  I actually spoke after her, which was surreal.

Linda Babcock, author of Ask for It, taught us a simple four step process to practice to be better negotiators.  It reinforces this approach.  Above all, practicing the negotiation conversation is critical for success.  When we practice, we have a vision of success during the real discussion.  We’re far more likely to be confident when prepared.

Her steps include these phases:

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Make a plan
  3. Get ready strategically
  4. Get ready psychologically

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

 

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

Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part Two

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our last blog post, we shared the story of Ashli and her pivotal journey asking for what she wanted.  This post features Carrie, and this story brings tears to my eyes every time I share it.  It is another great example that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

Similar to Ashli’s story from last time, Carrie was also at a cross roads personally and professionally.  She took time to reflect on her true passions and purpose and renewed a love of running marathons.  Once she knew what she wanted, she prioritized her passion.  Here’s Carrie’s story…

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

Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part One

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our next two blog posts, I wanted to share everyday stories of women doing remarkable things.  When these women shared these stories, it brought tears to my eyes.  They are great examples that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

In this story, Ashli took a risk and asked for what she wanted.  Through our discussions, she took time to reflect on key questions:

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for? (skill)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at? (skill)
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life? (skill/will)

Once she knew what she wanted, she was more confident in asking for it.  Here’s Ashli’s story…

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

Women’s Wellness Strategies

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Confidence, Leadership, Pivot Point, Training | No Comments

At Pivot Point, we believe that wellness is defined as our ability to make conscious choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.  Based on our research with every day women leaders and women in business, we have summarized our findings for women looking for ideas for their own personal wellness plans.

After copious research, and dozens of workshops with women leaders focused on their personal wellness, we believe that there are three key areas to improving your personal wellness plan, and it all starts with your purpose.  First, start with:

1) Knowing your why (and saying no to things not aligned with your why)

2) Then, giving to others through compassion (giving to give)

3) Followed by, prioritizing sleep (yes, sleep)

Let’s start with your WHY by asking yourself these questions…

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days?
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at?
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life?

You may be asking, what does this have to do with wellness?  I have found in my work with women, that our choices must be aligned with our personal wellness.  We cannot be happy if we are busy trying to make everyone else happy around us.

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

Positive Affirmations that Work at Work

By | Coaching, Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Positive Thinking | No Comments

“I am good enough.  I am smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me!” 

Unfortunately for many leaders, the word “affirmations” conjures up memories of the Stuart Smalley segment on Saturday Night Live.  Although, Stuart proclaims these statements, you get the sense that he does not truly believe them, coming across as generic and lacking confidence.  While hilarious, positive psychology has advanced light years since this segment’s popular days in the 1990’s.  Over the last 20+ years, much improved information on our brain’s ability to internalize what we choose to tell it has yielded some impressive research and outcomes.

Positive thinking is not just a fad, it’s a must have for today’s leader.  It is one of the best tools to manage conflict, to coach employees to success, and to solve today’s complex business problems.

The leaders I coach often share these tools and techniques to improve their own positive thinking skills:

  • Power posing
  • “Will” and “am” statements
  • Visualization

Power posing

With nearly 40 million views, Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk outlines some proven ways to bolster confidence through body positioning.  By positioning our bodies to be bigger outwardly, rather than inward, our stress hormone, cortisol decreases, and our testosterone levels increase.  Although her research has been difficult to replicate, I personally believe wholeheartedly in it.  For me, when I have felt overwhelmed, or did something for the first time, or lacked confidence thinking someone else was better than me, I have power posed with positive affirmations, and felt a calmness and confidence wash over me.

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