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

How to Have a Productive, Uncomfortable Conversation

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

I get this question from leaders often, “how do I share something with someone that they do not want to hear?”

It’s a tough one as a leader.  I get it.  I wrestled with this endlessly throughout my career leading teams.  Often, as leaders, it is our duty to share feedback and unpleasant information with our team.  This can feel stressful, and we procrastinate the tough talk, just hoping “It will get better.”

Yet, as I coach and speak to leaders, I see how uncomfortable conversations can have a positive impact, when done effectively.  When done well, the relationship improves through increased trust, and the team member can feel safer knowing that people care enough about them to share something difficult to share.

Some scenarios I hear…sound familiar?

  • Someone on my team is (fill in the blank unfortunate attribute). I don’t want to be the one to tell them.
  • I know they are going to get emotional when I share this, I just don’t want to rock the boat.
  • I don’t know if this person can change, should I even bother?

Flip the script.  What if we looked at these situations as an opportunity to improve communication and make positive change?

In each of the scenarios above, there is an opportunity to illuminate to someone something they may not know about themselves.  You see something that they may not see.  Acknowledge the power of that, and then channel that vantage point to park your own feelings and think about what knowing this could do for them.  Remind yourself that it is selfish to withhold information from someone.  You are not telling them because you feel uncomfortable, not them.  Then you can bring your own emotion to the conversation which can then hijack the person you are sharing it with.

Some ideas for a productive, uncomfortable talk:

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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

Women’s Leadership Conferences Best Practices

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

A participant, sponsor, founder, and frequent speaker at women’s leadership conferences, I have collected the best practices I have seen work first-hand.  The conferences that are growing consistently year-after-year know they must not only empower, but engage participants.  That means it must be a collaborative dialogue, where male allies are a part of the discussion, and participants leave with actionable tools for positive change.

Take Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation.  Since 2010, this organization has been driving influential change through inspiration and impact.  They do not merely empower women to make positive changes in their careers, they provide tools to support and connect like-minded women.  Their workshops are interactive, and keynotes have plenty of time for questions and answers.  And, they encourage male allies to be a part of the discussion.  In 2017, they had 60 male allies in attendance, of the 900+ participants.  Also, featuring a male ally panel, with a candid discussion about gender equality, received rave reviews.

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

What Do Male Allies Do?

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

Male allies cannot declare themselves to be male allies, they are genuine male allies when women recognize them as male allies.

I learned this from two of the very best male allies, Dave Smith and Brad Johnson, authors of Athena Rising, a guide for cross-gender mentoring.  As male allies and advocates for gender equality, they have been connectors, endorsers, interviewees, social media supporters, and mentors for me throughout the daunting process of writing a book.  To me, there is no greater example of male allyship in my career and business.  Their support continues to astound me, and I am stronger today because of their support.  Male allies provide a variety of support just as Brad and Dave do – 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.

We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

A mantra I often sign in copies of our book, ONE, on male allies.  I find stories help showcase what male allies do best.  One my favorite stories of male allyship comes from a male ally I follow, Adam Grant.  Adam is author of Give and Take and Originals, both compelling reads to shake up our views of giving and original thinking.  Being a fan of his work, we reached out to Adam when writing ONE.  Knowing he is incredibly busy, we thought: what is the worst that could happen?  As a genuine and intentional giver, Adam politely declined an interview, but gave us five names of men and women passionate about male allies.  All responded, and this book is far better with their input.  From his male allyship, I got to meet famous authors, experts, and speakers at the forefront of gender equality, Adam’s support paved the way for other men to follow our movement and engage in the content.  One such group he connected me with were the Wharton 22s, a male ally organization at the University of Pennsylvania.

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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

Why It’s Important for Women to Engage Male Allies

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

After finding myself in the 20th room of all women trying to fix “women’s issues,” I had an aha moment.

How are we going to fix the challenges facing women by ourselves?  Given that men are still the majority of decision makers inside organizations (95% of CEOs and 80%+ of senior leadership), what are the chances of success when we exclude them from the discussion?

Not very good.  And that is exactly what has happened in the last 30 years of feminism.  We have been successful in gaining awareness around gender equality and the challenges holding women back.

Yet, the success has largely been limited to consciousness raising, not consciousness shifting. 

We have been excluding a key demographic in this conversation – men.  50% of our population and most of the leaders inside organizations making decisions, they have been left out.

We told men what NOT to do, not what to do.

We can see some of the likely consequences of this non-inclusive behavior in the recent rash of sexual harassment allegations.

The conversation cannot just be about the problems – it has to also be about the solutions.

In our research for ONE, we found that men want to be engaged in the dialogue.  They care, and not just because they have daughters, or were raised by single mothers, or have been positively influenced by women in their lives; they believe in it.

Male allies support women because they believe it is the right thing to do. 

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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

Sexual Harassment Training Do’s and Don’ts

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

Just mention sexual harassment training, and you will likely elicit a wide-eyed awkward response.  A necessary, yet scary topic in many organizations today, sexual harassment training is top priority following recent political and social stories.  As a society, we are grappling with how to detect and prevent this behavior.  If our team members are being harassed, they likely do not feel safe at work, and are not doing their best work.  Preventing this behavior is not only is the right thing to do for humans, it’s the right thing for business.

So, what is sexual harassment?  Defined by the EEOC as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature,” these behaviors have an adverse effect on organizational health.  Yet, most training is meant to comply with EEOC requirements, with limited success.  It tells us what not to do, yet not what to do.

The recent New York Times article cites challenges with traditional training approaches as:  making people feel uncomfortable, prompting defensive jokes, or reinforcing gender stereotypes of masculinity as powerful and femininity as vulnerable, therefore, potentially making harassment worse.  The root cause of these negative behaviors is encouraging sexual harassment in the first place.

So, what do experts recommend?

  • Empower the bystander: Male allies call out bad behavior.  Often the bystanders witnessing sexual harassment, they can be the ones to teach men how to treat women, and set the example of what good looks like for other men to follow.

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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 Women Entrepreneurs Want

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

Being a huge fan of women in business, I got curious about the fast-paced growth of women business owners recently.  And, the statistics tell an interesting story.  According to Entrepreneur online:

  • Women are founding companies at a historic rate, with more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today
  • Over the past 15 years, women-owned firms have grown at a rate 1.5 times other small businesses and are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs this year
  • Businesses with a woman on the executive team have 64% higher valuations at the first round of fundraising

So, this begs the question, why are women leaving Corporate America to start their own gigs?  Our client data suggests these key themes:

  • The 8-5 just doesn’t cut it. Why do we need to be in the office 8-5?  This is an outdated work standard that needs to change.  This doesn’t mean women are not willing to work the necessary hours to get work done.  In fact, women business owners report working much longer hours than they did in Corporate America.  They integrate work and life.  If only corporate America could provide work from home flexibility or flex time to accommodate men and women that are caretakers or have other life duties.
  • Work must have meaning. Women, even more so than men, are looking for purposeful work.  They want to know that time away from their family matters.  Women want to be a part of building something bigger than just them that will impact the world positively.  What better way to ensure that, than to create something of your own.
  • Corporate America does not promote women (especially during the child bearing years).  This is sad, yet true. The recent McKinsey Women in the Workplace report illustrates this trend is not improving.  C-suites and corporate boards are still less than 20% women.  While women believe this will change early in their careers, after years of hard work without advancement, they opt out.  At least in their own businesses, they call the shots.

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

Leading Across Generations

By | Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Research indicates that Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025, and with this, organizations are struggling to engage top talent across generations.  Often, with leaders I coach, they ask, “how can we change the millennials to be more motivated, and less entitled?” to which I respond, “they are far less likely to change for us; they are far more likely to change us.”  There are so many wonderful traits this next generation brings to the workforce:  a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the world, a desire to work to live rather than live to work, and an uncanny ability to find solutions to complex problems.  Yet, there are some distinct behaviors and expectations that do not always align with organizational values and processes.

The Pew Research Center outlines generations by birth year range as follows:

  • Millennials: 1981-1997
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1980
  • Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964

Much attention has been placed on Baby Boomer and Millennial alignment, as they represent two ends of the spectrum, and have the most differences between them.  However, Generation X is the next generation of leaders, and represents the majority of small business owners.  They are a force to be reckoned with as well, yet often blend in with the Baby Boomers or identify with the Millennials as the pendulum swings.  Humorously, at a conference I was at recently, the speaker talked about Generation X being overwhelmed by the Baby Boomers.  Due to their sheer size, Baby Boomers made Generation X into mini Baby Boomers.  Partially true, Generation X seems to be amicable and the most flexible to each of the other larger generations.

In order to effectively lead an organization today, leaders must inspire and engage across all generations.  In this post, you will learn:

  • Understanding how “coming of age” experiences shape generations
  • Learning how to “flex” your leadership style to meet the needs of each generation
  • Aligning cultural values consistent with generational expectations

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Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

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