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Sneak Peak…PART ONE: How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

As we shared in our last post, we are thrilled that our new book, ONE:  How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality, will be available early October!  Our next three blogs will feature sneak peaks of the new book, with exclusive content from our research and interviews with successful women and male allies.  For the next wave of gender equality, it is critical that men are involved in the movement.

This post will unpack the four key areas where male allies partner with women for gender equality are by:

  • Channeling the women they empathize
  • Asking for her HERstory
  • Speaking up with her
  • Doing the fair share

Channel the Women You Empathize

Think About What You Want for Your Daughter, Mother, or Spouse.  Male allies shared incredible insights into the strong women in their lives that they cared about, and acted as a source of inspiration to transfer that care and compassion to other women.  These men often were selfless in their gives of mentorship, sponsorship, or in how they managed women.  They saw them as humans just like them, and did what anyone would do.  They downplay their extraordinary efforts as ordinary, yet as I shared this with women, they responded that they wished there were more men like this.  Male allies, although all around us, are more of a rare breed than they realize.  Our belief is that these men see themselves as “normal” because they have channeled the strong women in their lives subconsciously, seeing the women they work with as extensions of their “normal” reality.

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Sneak Peak…ONE: How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

We are so excited to announce that our new book, ONE:  How Male Allies Partner with Women for Gender Equality, will be available early October!  Our next four posts will feature sneak peaks of the new book, with exclusive content from our research and interviews with successful women and male allies.

In working with successful men and women leaders throughout my career, and in my research, there is a clear and integral role for women helping one another, as well as the importance of men supporting women.  We rarely recognize the “male allies” behind successful women, and this book is intended to help men and women understand the importance of “male allies,” and also to provide strategies, tools, and ideas for women and men to partner together for gender equality.

From our research, we believe that feminism failed to produce results because it was negatively perceived as “man haters” and left out 50% of the population in its cause.  Now is the time to showcase examples of what good looks like, and the man’s role in creating positive change.  As many of the male allies we interviewed said, it’s the small things that make a big difference.  From everyday men in business, to men in academia, to executive women leaders, to bestselling authors, to Ted Talk speakers, we interviewed dozens of extraordinary men that have done ordinary, and extraordinary things to support women.

This is not a tug of war; it’s not a zero sum game.  We all stand to benefit when we welcome men into the conversation about gender equality.  We’re not going to solve this problem as women alone.  We need the support of male allies to win together.  And, as we found in our research, there are benefits for both women and men.  It’s a win-win.

There are four key areas that we believe holistically represent what male allies do to support women and what women do to engage male allies.  It truly is a collaboration across genders.

  • Heart: How Men Channel the Women They Empathize, and How Women Start the Dialogue with the WIIFM
  • Story: How Men Ask for HERStory, and How Women Share Their Story
  • Speaking: How Men Speak up with Her, and How Women Speak Up with Him
  • Work-Life: How Men Do the Fair Share, and How Women Practice Self-Care

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Retaining Women Leaders

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

We’ve been writing and sharing data that continuously supports that when organizations have more women in senior leadership positions and on corporate boards, performance increases.  Yet, as organizations are initiating women’s groups, diversity officers, and inclusion initiatives, the numbers of women at the top continue to stagnate.  In my research for our new book, ONE:  How Men Partner with Women for Gender Equality, I found that strong women leaders often have access to sponsors and mentors, and many of them are men.  These women leaders believe strongly in the purpose of their work, and the positive impact it has.  We also found another pillar focused on coaching.  Managers of strong women leaders coach them, provide real-time feedback and help her be her best possible self.  They do not solve her problem for her, they help her self-discover her own plan forward.

To increase gender equality at the highest levels of organizations, we must engage women in other ways.  In this post, you will learn proven strategies from our research that outlines these three pillars.  To retain top female talent, leaders focus on:

  • Improving access to sponsors and mentors
  • Aligning their value and purpose with their work
  • Coaching women to success

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Replace Feedback with Guidance, and You Will Get Better Results

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

The word feedback creates fear.  It creates a feeling in the pit of our stomachs, followed by an overly emotional anxiety.  Merely hearing the word makes it hard to hear the words that follow.

Imagine this scenario, someone pulls you aside, and asks, “Can I give you some feedback?”  Fear takes over, you assume it to be negative, and you instantly imagine the worst case scenario.  That is because the word feedback has been framed so poorly in the past.  It has created negative perceptions based on the experiences that our brain remembers.  Our brain recalls the pattern of negative feedback, and prepares our body with fight or flight mode to take cover or run away.  Our emotions take over.  That doesn’t bode well for solid decision making and behavior.

The words we use matter.  So, let’s try a different word – guidance.  I have been searching for a better word than feedback for years – words like feed-forward, insight, coaching – have been floated out there in the coaching community, yet none have felt genuine or appropriate.  Then, a mentor of mine shared an article with me about a concept called “radical candor.”  What struck me most about the concept was the use of the word guidance over feedback.

Consider this, rather than saying “Can I give you some feedback,” why not open with, “I’ve got some guidance for you…”  It’s softer, it frames the moment appropriately, and emphasizes positive intent.  The word guidance ensures that the audience is still listening, and not emotionally hijacked and paralyzed with fear.  Furthermore, effective guidance requires leaders to:

  • Deliver it real-time
  • Assume positive intent
  • Be clear about the behaviors rather than the person

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When to Ask vs. When to Tell as a Leader

By | Coaching, Communication, Leadership, Pivot Point, Talent Retention | No Comments

One of the many conundrums of leadership is knowing when to tell versus knowing when to ask an employee to come up with their own idea and/or solution.  How often are leaders drug into problem solving situations or idea generation brainstorms and expected to have all the answers.  That must be exhausting as a leader to feel like you have to have all the answers all the time.  It’s just not possible.  The best leaders ask questions.  Yet, sometimes the team legitimately does not know the answer either.  It’s no fun as a leader to ask the same question the team had expected you to answer, and receive confused faces in return.  That’s embarrassing.

The art of knowing when to ask versus tell is a lesson I learned early in my leadership journey.  Here’s my story.

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Diverse Leadership Teams Perform Better

By | Employee Engagement, Leadership, Talent Retention | One Comment

Diverse Leadership Teams Perform Better

The Facts

Leadership teams made up of individuals from diverse generations, cultures, communication styles, and genders, have better business results.  Teams with diverse perspectives, often shaped by different backgrounds, preferences, and experiences, have better ideas, and make better decisions.  A recent McKinsey study sheds light on this interesting phenomenon.  Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the national industry median, and ethnically diverse companies are an overwhelming 35% more likely to outperform their less-diverse peers.  We know correlation does not equal causation, but what this study does offer is great insight into why organizations need to focus on diversity.  They further elaborate:

“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns. This in turn suggests that other kinds of diversity—for example, in age, sexual orientation, and experience (such as a global mind-set and cultural fluency)—are also likely to bring some level of competitive advantage for companies that can attract and retain such diverse talent.”

An organization I speak and support, Integrated Woman Leaders Foundation, shared this powerful video at their annual conference this year about the current diversity statistics, and the results that organizations get with more diverse leadership teams.  For those wanting to influence more diversity in your organization, this two-minute video gives all the reasons why diversity matters.

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How Mentoring Improves Employee Engagement

By | Employee Engagement, Leadership, Mentoring, Talent Retention | 3 Comments

The Facts

Prioritizing the right people strategies is pivotal.  Organizations now more than ever have finite time and resources to invest in employee engagement, knowing how vital it is to grow.  When I work with organizations on people strategies, we often brainstorm key strategies collectively as a team, and then prioritize those strategies based on key criteria such as ease of implementation (time, money, etc.), and ROI (impact on employee engagement, retention, etc.).  What has been so intriguing lately is a common theme I am discovering – mentoring – is rising to the top of that people strategy list time and time again.  In fact, according to a Corporate Executive Board survey, 25 percent of U.S. companies now host peer mentoring programs, up from 4-5% in 2007.

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What Organizations are Doing to Engage Women

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Talent Retention | No Comments

The Facts

Let’s start with the facts.  I often make the mistake of assuming that we all know these statistics, and often find people surprised to learn that statistics on women’s equality in the workplace has barely changed in last two decades.  Engaging the other half of our workforce (women) is absolutely vital for us to increase our productivity and profits.  According to a Catalyst, an organization focused on a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion, shares these statistics in its June 2016 report:

  • 4.2% of CEOs are women
  • 19.9% of board positions are held by women
  • 25.1% of executive or senior-level officials and managers are women
  • Women still just earn $0.79 on the dollar compared to men in similar positions

Women produce results.  The Peterson Institute for International Economics’ recent study associates a 15% lift in profitability with more women in top management positions.  When women are a part of these vital leadership roles for organizations, the results are staggering.  With a diverse perspective, and collaborative style, women round the team out, and create more innovative and successful teams.  The results from this study clearly illustrate the overwhelming need to engage women and promote more to leadership roles in organizations.

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How to Retain Top Talent

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | 3 Comments

The Facts

The struggle is real.  With unemployment hovering nationwide around 5%, employees are back in the driver seat with where they choose to work.  Employers have found themselves with less control in finding, hiring, and retaining top talent.  Recent studies from Manpower Group has shown that there is an excess supply of skilled jobs, with a shortage of labor interested in those jobs.  Couple this study with the fact that employees, now more than ever, are looking for value and purpose in their work, more of a balance with their personal life, and the feeling that their work is aligned with their own career long-term goals.

And, with a growing millennial generation that is expected to be 75% of our workforce by 2025, this trend is very likely to continue.  What we know about millennials is true, they are self-driven, demand value and purpose in their work, and transition jobs at a rate much higher than previous generations, averaging 4 job changes by the time they are age 32.  We are not going to change them, they are going to change our workforce, and in many ways, for the better.  They saw their parents live to work, lose their retirements due to corporate greed, and have been shown very little loyalty by organizations they work for with pensions eliminated, benefit reductions, and inappropriate vesting schedules of their 401k plans.  I can completely understand why this generation has chosen to respond with choosing to work to live.  It’s refreshing.

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  • -Exclusive access to 28 interviews with the industry thought leaders behind ONE


-Other free resources through email, such as the Male Ally Action Plan and custom ONE Mantra Bookmark