Its so fun when women and men decided to assert themselves and ask the big questions Can You afford to Ignore me? It always helps when the question is the title of your book!
I had the best time at our event hosted by FWA and Chapman and Cutler LLP. We were in the heart of New York , surrounded by 61 women and one brave man who despite the really bad weather decided to take the time to learn more about how they are will no longer be ignored. The first part of the program was to put some practical tools in their professional development kit.
The second part was a fantastic time answering questions and clarifying doubts or perceptions that keep all of us stuck and feeling ignored. It never fails when you get to witness “aha” moments that continue to confirm we are on the right path.
I’m the luckiest women in the world- having the opportunity to meet fantastic women, fully engaged in their professional career and interested in supporting others to do the same.
No, They Can Not Be Ignored!
Guest speaker at the Financial Women Association- Can You Afford to ignore Me? event. The topic was networking and developing a personal board. We had a full house and a grand evening with women from all age groups and backgrounds.
You and I claim that we are fair, impartial, and free from stereotypes and biases.
Science and research shows it is impossible to be free from natural propensities that make all of us fall into what is called default thinking. Default thinking is a place we go as a consequence of our upbringing, cultures, and yes the way our brain works.
So the first thing about getting real is to understand that it is of human condition to be biased! There you have it!
In order for us to function in a world that subjects us to a 11 million pieces of information at any time, we need to use filters such as: perceptions, interpretations, preference, and selective attention. These are called mental heuristics. The tricky part of this is that many times this process yields wrong or less than desirable outcomes. In my work of gender integration, this issue is pivotal. Unless we get to talk about the elephant in the room and develop some type of oversight to keep an attentive eye where “the elephant” wants to go, we will lose this battle.
My work helps both men and women understand, become aware, and develop an inner voice dialogue that tempers the natural propensity to jump into generalities and perceptions that keep everyone stuck! This is the reason I wrote my book.
The second thing we want to do is to reframe the way female attributes are described and devalued by both men and women, as desirable yet not a part from what the business world “needs”. Funny since collaboration, empathy, good listening skills, are attributes that come at the top of the list of what is described as core competencies needed to navigate and succeed in the new global economy. So let’s start to praise these characteristics and talk about them without hesitation.
The third thing we need to do to get real is to understand that professional development programs need to be adapted to the gender nuances that help everyone debunk gender biases and stereotypes. This is what yields gender integration. The so called “universal” principles of leadership have to be experienced and articulated with a voice of authenticity and credibility. I get to witness those transformative moments, when people get real, when they become aware and experience their own AH-HA moment! Priceless!
I find it useful to end with a good read. This is a great article helps illustrate my point- Enjoy!
The Big Idea: Before You Make that Big Decision….
We continue to read articles that discuss why women are good for business- take a look at the recent article from HBR: Study: Firm with More Women in the C-Suite are more Profitable, and then we continue to read that numbers are not improving!
I’m sure we are all feeling a little “Gender Fatigue!” All talk, no action.
So let’s start a productive discussion to get us out of this sticky floor and into action with real traction.
It’s interesting when you read the current gender discourse we can almost predict the “buzz phrases.” As if by reiterating what we know to be true things wouldchange!
The reality is that we are suffering what I call a collective Inattentional Blindness… Focusing on one “approach,” talking and writing, but missing the obvious… FIXING the problem.
That is where we come in. We have been dealing with the obvious – fixing the problem for more than 10 years and have hundreds of stories to share.
Our intention with this blog is to help you start to see the obvious and move gender integration forward.
There is a great video on YouTube by Simon and Chabris that exemplifies what we have been doing – focusing on ideas and “perceptions” that fail to address the obvious. Men and women are different and there is a lot for us to talk about how these differences do enhance business performance! Stay tuned and watch the video… I’m here to help you see the Gorilla!
President Obama just pushed the envelope closer to debunking one of the most critical and frustrating factors in keeping the so called Glass Ceiling “alive” -lack of pay parity.
That private sector continues to be hesitant in solving this issue in a way that makes no business sense!
Stay tuned to my blog coming up this month titled “Get Smart- Pay Smart.”
For now here is a great read, and here is my challenge to you… Fix this issue. Make this Monday Morning memorable. Make the big announcement, take the big step and watch what happens not only to the women in your organization, but also to your new generation of leaders. Remember the millennials are watching!