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

Are you Unintentionally Mansplaining?

By | Communication, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Chances are you don’t even know you are doing it.  Mansplaining is a real thing.  It is a behavior traditionally gender socialized by men that can be described as talking down to women, or over or under explaining when communicating with women.

Have you heard or said this before?

“I will explain it to you later, you don’t understand.”

“This is really complex, let me explain”….droning on…

This is mansplaining.

We’ll break down this unhelpful behavior and help you understand what it is, what to do when you notice it, and clever callout conversations you can easily have that make this potentially uncomfortable conversation more comfortable.

So, what is mansplaining?

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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

Work-Life Management: Practice Self-Care

By | Communication, Delegation, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Self-Care | No Comments

Work-life balance is impossible.  While women leaders and male allies want to achieve perfect balance between work and life, our research has found that this is not a realistic expectation for working families.  The two spheres live in conflict, where work may dominate one week, and life (family, caretaking, and self-care) may dominate the next.  It’s more like a teeter totter than a perfect balance beam.

In our work with women’s leadership groups, our survey data revealed the top challenge for the overwhelming majority of members is balancing work and life.  Digging into the facts, it is understandable that this challenge largely falls on women.

  • Women still spend more time on household labor averaging 2 hours and 15 minutes per day, while men average 1 hour and 25 minutes per day (a ratio of 62/38 women to men).
  • From 1997-2015, the number of businesses increased by 51%. Of that increase, 74% of the companies are women owned.
  • 24 million females in the U.S. care for others 25+ hours/week. In fact, they leave the workforce on average 12 years to care for children and relatives.

This illuminates the need for work-life integration for women leaders and families with dual careers.  When women feel trapped in jobs without flexibility, they self-select out of rigid corporate America.  If your organization is not engaging these women leaders, they are likely losing them.  These are smart, talented people who could bring tremendous value to our economy and to organizations, yet we accept – and even encourage – opting-out of their careers.  We make assumptions about the preference to be at home or need to be with the children, whereas the same assumptions are not often applied to working men.

With the challenge of managing work and life, women leaders tend to put themselves last.  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 practicing self-care.

Saying “Yes” to yourself is hard.  Rather than saying “Yes” to everyone else, choose to say “Yes” to the right things.  Remind yourself that you are saying “No” to a lot of things when you say “Yes” to the wrong things.  For women looking to practice self-care, we share these strategies from ONE:

  • Outsource activities you do not have the skill or will to do. For example, we hired a housekeeper to clean our house once a month, and have enjoyed the ROI of having more time with my family, and more energy and time to do the really important things professionally and personally.
  • Say no to FOMO (fear of missing out). Prioritize what is important for you to be happy, overcoming the fear of missing out on the wrong things.  Social media is a big influence here. Before you say “Yes,” remember it means “No” for something else that may be important.  Do say “No” if something does not drive your happiness.
  • Get more sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.  Unless you have a genetic mutation, this means you.  Very few women we coach get the required seven hours of sleep per night, which is dangerous for their health.
  • Implement the 80/20 rule. Make sure 80% of your energy is aligned with your “why”.  Twenty percent is for the other stuff (routine tasks, things only you can do, etc.).
  • Show compassion for others. Find everyday-ways to genuinely, meaningfully help others.  Giving fuels our energy.
  • Practice gratitude. Journal what you are grateful for each day.  Intentionally choose to focus on what is good in your life.
  • Have a plan. If you do not know what you want and where you’re going, you will fall victim to others deciding for you.

Remember that women leaders that practice self-care, manage their work and life more successfully.  They have more energy to give to others, and are more likely to achieve career success and be happy personally as well.

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

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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Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

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