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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

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

WIIFM: What’s in it for Men that Support Women Leaders

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

Gender diversity drives business performance.  This is something both genders benefit from equally. When opportunities, pay, and promotions are based on performance instead of gender biases, organizations thrive.  This is a competitive advantage for organizations that get it.  When there is gender equality in organizations, teams perform at a higher level and profits are higher.

It’s not a zero sum game, we all stand to benefit when we partner together.  And, we need male allies to support women leaders to make this happen.

Some key statistics to support increasing gender equality in your organization:

  • There is a 16% higher profitability rate with gender equality and $12 trillion could be added to the U.S. economy by 2025 if companies advance gender equality.
  • 91% of Americans choosing “agree” to the statement: “It is very important women have the same rights as men in our country.”
  • Women currently hold 5.6% of CEO positions in the U.S. and 19.5% of Board seats, and earn 83% of the salary of men in similar roles doing similar work.

At Pivot Point, we recommend women leaders share their stories with male allies.  We need to start the discussion with the WIIFM with our male allies.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to starting the dialogue with the WIIFM: What’s In It For Men (that support women leaders).

For women looking to engage male allies in the conversation and gain their support, we recommend the following blueprint.  Think of these as talking points to have in your back pocket as you prepare to start the dialogue with male allies:

  • I know you are busy, and I wanted to talk with you about my career path and gender equality at our organization. I see you as a great male ally for women because you have done X, said Y, or believe Z.
  • As a woman, I realize there can be unconscious biases impacting our career paths and the pay decisions made at organizations. Gender equality is important to me because when both genders partner together and have inclusive conversations like this, research shows businesses profits are 16% higher.
  • Currently, women continue to be paid 83% of what men in similar positions are paid, and only account for 5% of CEOs and 80% of board positions. I have noticed our organization has A% women in leadership and/or B% pay gap. What do you think?
  • Supporting gender equality is important to positively driving business performance. We can do this better together than separately.  Research supports men as mentors, sponsors, managers, coaches, advocates, and advisors have a big impact on women’s success. How do you think you can help women?

Even the male allies we interviewed indicated a low awareness of the gender inequities facing women in the workplace.  They see the world through their lens, which often has gender privilege.  They don’t know what they don’t know.  We need to involve them in the discussion so they know how to help.

How will you start the dialogue with your male allies?

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

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

Appreciate Others that are NOT Like You

By | Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Diversity | No Comments

So, I had this epiphany when I was a young adult.  I was in college and it was freshman year, and it was my first time living away from home.  My roommate, also one of my best friends from high school, and I were getting into our first argument.  She informed me that, to my shock, “not everyone was like me.”  I thank Amy for this assertive statement, and recall that memory fondly as a great moment of self-awareness.

My roommate, Amy, and I had completely different personalities.  While we had so much in common in our passions and interests, we could not have been further apart on our communication styles.  As a results-oriented, direct communicator, I could not believe Amy would need time process her thoughts before sharing, and often thought of the impact on others before thinking of herself.  She’s the steady one; I am the bold one.  Still to this day, our differences are felt, and I am thankful to have someone to balance me out that knows me so well, and accepts me for who I am, even if our priorities are completely different.

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

Stand Out as a Leader with Emotional Intelligence

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Team Building | No Comments

The way we are wired impacts our leadership style.  While I am not a neuroscientist, knowing the basics of our brains’ wiring is a huge differentiator for leaders.

Leaders feel the pain of the emotional intelligence, or lack thereof, on their teams.  They need to lead by example, recognizing the emotion when they see it, in addition to showing the team what good looks like in maintaining composure.  My favorite leaders have been passionate, yet calm, cool, and collected in nature.  They did not sweat when the rest of the team did.  They kept their composure and were a calming force for the emotions of those around them.  Especially when tensions mount.

So, if emotional intelligence helps us stand out as a leader, how do we cultivate it?  Successful leaders practice:

  • Self-awareness
  • Suspending judgment
  • Choosing to respond vs. react

Let’s begin with a short lesson in neuroscience…

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

Manage Conflict: Demand Debate

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Team Building | No Comments

Who enjoys the “tough talk” with a peer, team, or direct report?  Chances are, it’s a dreaded conversation.  Perhaps even one that is procrastinated, hoping the conflict will just go away.

Yet, often I find with leaders, that when they have the “tough talk,” it goes far better than expected, and it results in a better relationship with the person.  Let’s discuss some of proven strategies I have found in my research and work with leaders.

Leaders that manage conflict successfully do so by:

1) Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

2) Holding the team accountable through ground rules

3) Building a culture based on trust

Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

On a high performing team, people often look at conflict as healthy.  We’re human, it’s bound to surface.  The key difference is that high performing teams deal with it proactively.  They have the discussion it in the moment, or close to the time of the conflict and clear the air.  They do not fear it, they welcome it as a chance to be better.

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Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

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