Your Gut…Your Friend or Foe?

Gender Integration, all about understanding how to manage and self-regulate biases and stereotypes. My work is to help identify what I call internal control zones that help individuals “see” and “feel” their present state and how gender bias is affecting their day to day success. Our work promotes reframing those perceptions.

One “tool” I use in my work is to ask how close do people listen to the signals the gut sends to them- what is it telling them?

For me every time I have pushed my gut aside or just ignored its “signals” the outcome has turned into a truly leaning experience, another phrase I use for failure, disappointment or regret.

This article, Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut? Klein and Kahnemanhttps://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/strategic-decisions-when-can-you-trust-your-gut is a gem.

Take a read. It sheds light on the view of two experts on this issue!

For me my gut is my friend. For you?

Saying Thank You can Enhance your Bottom Line!

One of the most pervasive issues surfacing at work today is the lack of ability to feel and show appreciation at work. People are feeling a sense of anonymity, disengagement, a loss of interest and desire to do better and give more to their companies, because many say to me, that they feel no one really cares, and everyone is too busy to stop and say I appreciate you and what you are doing.

This article – The Surprising Power of Appreciation at Work by Chris Cansialos, published Forbes Magazine, https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriscancialosi/2016/02/16/the-surprising-power-of-appreciation-at-work/2/#15fe84de67a9 is a great piece that helps quickly identify behaviors that can TRULY enhance your capacity to show appreciation for the work done by your team or your peers.

Here you have some tips:

  • Check your emotions through the day– Remember emotions are contagious ,how you feel is captured by people around you.
  • Be careful with the way you express yourself– I always say you can say anything– its how you say it and words you use that makes a difference.
  • Shift the narrative– when people come to you with a “problem” or negative attitude, do not “join” them and give fire to more negative feelings. Shift the paradigm from “That sound challenging and how can we fix it?

We spend most of our precious hours at work, appreciation is such an elegant and human attitude which builds trust, engagement and ultimately better overall performance. Fascinating how a heartfelt Thank You can buy so much good emotional capital!

Quiet Confidence

Gender Integration, all about understanding how to manage and self-regulate biases and stereotypes. My work is to help identify what I call internal control zones that help individuals “see” and “feel” their present state and how gender bias is affecting their day to day success. Our work promotes reframing those perceptions.

One “tool” I use in my work is to ask how close do people listen to the signals the gut sends to them- what is it telling them?

For me every time I have pushed my gut aside or just ignored its “signals” the outcome has turned into a truly leaning experience, another phrase I use for failure, disappointment or regret.

This article, Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut? Klein and Kahnemanhttps://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/strategic-decisions-when-can-you-trust-your-gut is a gem.

Take a read. It sheds light on the view of two experts on this issue!

For me my gut is my friend. For you?

A Day in Her Life!

It seems unconscious bias, particularly the series of behaviors associated with men and women at work continue to be covered by the press and in social media. It is everywhere!

Most of the coverage is about describing the issue and sometime showcasing the lack of fairness and poor business judgment associated with harassment, unequal pay, derailment, etc.

Not much is changing. Many feel that this is the “normal state of affairs”.

I refuse to accept this option. I have seen over and over again that as soon as people start to reach out to understand how it feels to be the nonwhite European male– “a women” “an Asian”, “a transgender”, in the workforce there is a paradigm shift that is organic and “inevitable”. As soon as people feel the “real” pain the whole process of unconscious bias starts to shift.

This article was one of the pieces that helped me start my work.  It is the story of Lewis E Platt, former HP chairman, who had to live the life of a single parent when he became a widower.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/22/business/a-push-from-the-top-shatters-a-glass-ceiling.html?mcubz=0

Read, and pass on to as many people as you can.

His life and his approach to gender party changed when we had to live “his wife’s” live.

It’s not about Equality it is about Fair Treatment… An excerpt from my book

The constant flow of news coverage of gender integration issues at work and in politics does not seem to slow down nor go away, and that is a good thing.

Today I want to share my thoughts about one key factor I feel has been overlooked and in my estimation is a fundamental issue to review. The choice we made of using the word equal instead of fair, when seeking gender parity and inclusive environments.

“For both women and minorities, trying to be equal to — in the sense of being the same as — white men has rarely paid off in either career success or personal fulfillment. This approach has also constrained the growth and success of businesses and organizations by eliminating or muting the different attributes and qualities that make women and minorities complementary, strategic partners.

To unlock the potential of both individuals and organizations, I believe we must shift our paradigm from equality and sameness to fairness. A simple definition of fairness is “the ability to make judgment free from discrimination or dishonesty.” Applying that standard, rather than mere appearances of “equality,” demands the development of a work environment that:

  • Supports the exchange of ideas in a context of respect and interest in others
  • Celebrates the value of diverse backgrounds and cultural contexts
  • Encourages individuals to use and develop inherent qualities and abilities rather than trying to assimilate
  • Promotes inclusive thinking and behaviors
  • Focuses on measuring, encouraging and rewarding real talent and performance
  • Eliminates the quota mentality and demoralizing role of women and minorities as token figures”.

Millennials …The “I can- Why not?” Generation

It is a unique moment, it is a time in which we have four generations working together and for the longest time Boomers have been trying to hold on to what I call  “cultural” power”. The overall expectation that for success to happen there is a need to conform to “the boomers way of doing things”.

I have been reading a lot more this summer and continue to find the most fantastic stories of young, really young, entrepreneurs, who have taken on interesting and challenging situations and have come up with great solutions.

It is becoming obvious that the capacity they have to think outside the box and challenge the status quo is paying off. They are helping reshape many paradigms, the way you succeed, the way you can come up with “good answers” to a problem, the new way to go about doing it all!

 This article shows another great example of what I have been running into lately.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2017/08/17/this-27-year-old-founder-is-helping-sick-children-heal-with-video-games/#262634e06e57

One thing we might want to think about. It seems that young talent are more comfortable to go at it “alone”. I wonder if corporations are missing on great moments for innovation and growth by staying anchored to old ways of management and leadership.

Food for thought…Can you Afford to Ignore this trend?

Understand Your Audience

Coaching and facilitating workshops yield a tremendous amount of rich material for reflection and defining what is trending in the workforce.

The issue behind dealing with team, managing teams, making them produce the right results continues to be in the top tier of “things that keep you awake at night”.

I always say everywhere I go that one of the most fundamental things we need to do is “read” our audience. Understanding what they need, who they are, what are their expectations is critical to success. It is a process that requires observation, desire to ask open ended questions, active listening and making sure you are “present” during the communication process.

This article gives all of us good ideas and examples. There are many other ways in which you can define learning styles. Perhaps it’s a good time for you to start getting more informed about this great tool.

https://hbr.org/2017/05/do-you-know-how-each-person-on-your-team-likes-to-work

It will make your work and your team’s performance easier and definitely more effective and productive!

Enjoy! Happy Monday!

Happiness at Work? Achievable!

Daniel Goleman’s work has been a fundamental part of mine. He opened my eyes to the impact of emotions and how they “contaminate” the people that surrounds you. You have the capacity to contaminate people with happiness. This article on Happiness- Three things I learned from teaching Happiness is a gem. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_things_i_learned_from_teaching_happiness

The author describes not only the best approach to explore happiness and how it is attainable to anyone who really wants to work this emotional muscle, she also helps identify the great benefits to having a “happiness mindset”.’

In today’s works force, to ask someone if they are happy at work seems like an oxymoron. Yet we spend most of our valuable time at work! It’s time to start to develop our capacity to cultivate a positive and delightful state of mind. One that can serves our body, mind and fellow workers better.

Happiness is really about making a decision to shift ones attitude. To be more mindful of what we say and how we behave. Mindfulness is becoming an important word at work. For productivity to increase and engagement to take a hold, people need to be working from a place of awareness and feeling grounded.

You can’t afford to ignore happiness at work. A happy workforce helps create trust, higher degree of satisfaction at work and at the end of the day the desire to come back next day all fired up!

Get Smart- Pay Smart…debunking why women leave work…

During a meeting with one of the top CEO’s of the country, the selection for this ranking was made by various reputable business publications, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the deep gap between perception and reality as it pertains to women’s presence in the workforce, and what I call the “convenient truth” . When discussing why women where leaving the company his response was, ”women leave because they do not have a husbands who can help … they need to understand this is a business  and work life balance is not possible”… it was clear he had made up his mind and that there was not much more he could do. It was a “social” issue about roles women and men play and that was out of the scope of what he could do.

When I shared with him that the top 4 reason for women of all ages to leave work was not work life balance, but lack of interesting work and stretch assignment, lack of pay parity and feeling valued, lack of mentors and a clear vison for their future, he looked incredulous and shortly thereafter the meeting was over.

In my book I mentioned that “unequal compensation sends a message of devaluing women’s work, which can erode self-worth, kill morale and disincentivizes promising female employees.”

Two recent article published by HuffPost Business and the Washington Post reaffirm my observations and research. What is really frustrating is that I published my book in 2013 and these articles just came out this month.

The Hoffpost  Business  reports  that women,  leave their job for better pay, more opportunities, fairness, last in the list are  family related issues. What is also an interesting finding is that these are also the reasons men are also expressing…Yet the family- work life balance “convenient truth” seems to continue to occupy an insipid “halo” only around women.

The Washington Post reiterates these finding:

“Surprisingly,” the report reads, “young women identified finding a higher paying job, lack of learning and development and shortage of interesting and meaningful work as the primary reasons why they may leave.”

It’s time to debunk this issue. It’s time to take action!

As always I’m including the articles I have mentioned and may I suggest you not only read, but perhaps, just for a change of pace and narrative, maybe you could champion a meaningful conversation with top leadership to take a second look at this issue? It is costing you money, productivity and loss of talent. Can You Afford to Ignore this?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/22/the-real-reason-young-women-leave-their-jobs/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-women-quit-jobs_us_56ebfcf8e4b084c6721ffc15

Deloitte, Do not throw the Baby with the Bath Water!

I just read a really great article about a “bold” move that Deloitte is undertaking to help move the needle forward regarding gender integration. https://hbr.org/2017/08/deloittes-radical-attempt-to-reframe-diversity

They are suggesting eliminating ERG’s or Affinity groups to emphasize working with White European men, who as they are aware, hold the power to make decisions which ultimately impact the capacity for more gender balance.

I am always fascinated by the way organizations take on an idea and through away what is in place! It always feel like we are entering the new flavor of the month paradigm! May I point out that is one of reason why gender parity or inclusion are nor taking traction. This process requires rigor and constancy. ERG and Affinity groups offer a great value, they provide a venue for safety and freedom to speak freely. They have acquired a lot of emotional and institutional capital that helps organizations understand what to do ,so that they can help employees be more engaged, motivated, ready for change and develop an overall sense of  alignment and collegiality.

I said in book more than four years ago that this conversation- gender integration- is about men and women. I also know that we are still in the very early stage of gender parity- women and other non-white male groups need to have a place to go to and receive support and new perspectives. I know because that is what I do and it works!

I wrote and article years ago –  Its been a great year for Gender Integration – It’s time for Men Talk! http://issuu.com/czechleaders/docs/lm2015-1-web/45?e=15342938/12172746

Where I made the claim that we need BOTH processes working in tandem;

When we started our firm our vison was and is to become the leading expert in gender integration issues at work. This simple statement meant that we wanted to support organizations to create a sense of balance and complementarity within its workforce. That both men and women would be able to feel fully engaged and deliver great results.

It has been quite a powerful and exciting process. I always have said that we needed to and still do need to offer female employees training and learning experiences that help debunk wrong perceptions and incorrect paradigms.

It is also time to reach out to the other 50% of the population- men.

During our work we have seen two significant tendencies surface- first- women become aware of the behavior that is not applicable anymore, and second – men become aware of the subtle nuances related to women expectations as well as how unconscious biases can have a pivotal impact in decision making process such as determining whether a female candidate is promotable, ambitious for more, and committed to work.

The need for both ERG and other related initiatives need to continue and evolve into channels that promote mutual dialoged AND the time to engage the source of power- white European men, to debunk old ways of decision making and stereotypes has come. One without the other does not offer the right solutions. Hope we help keep the baby, it’s almost walking! Not a good time to drop!