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What if everything you know about creating a culture of innovation is wrong?

What if the way you are measuring innovation is hindering success?

It’s time to innovate the way you innovate.

Join bestselling author and speaker Stephen Shapiro on June 26 (1:00 PM ET) to learn why innovation isn’t just about generating occasional new ideas—it’s about staying consistently one step ahead of the competition.

In this free webinar, we’ll explore why:

  • Asking your employees (and others) for their ideas is bad for innovation—we’ll give you a better alternative.
  • Your past experience and expertise might be limiting your ability to grow your business—and what you can do about it.
  • You can double your investment in innovation, without spending an extra dollar—simply by focusing in on one critical aspect of your business.
Given today’s frenetic pace of change, the organizations that rapidly adapt and evolve are the ones that will survive. We hope you’ll join us to discuss innovative ways to get started today.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, Stephen will take the stage at our 2018 Global Institute for Leadership Development®, Oct. 1-4, 2018 in Palm Desert, CA to address how to leverage innovation to lead purposefully—and drive greater impact on your team, your organization and your community. This short video features 2017 highlights.

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Advancing women leaders and creating more inclusive work cultures is something that our team is undoubtedly passionate about—it’s what keep us up at night—it’s what fuels our partnership with organizations globally who share similar interests.

This is just one of the reasons that we were so excited to see our very own Danielle Lucido featured in a recent article in the New York Times about closing the gender pay gap. Danielle is part of a growing network of facilitators volunteering their time to lead salary negotiation workshops for women in Boston.

We are proud of Danielle’s efforts and can’t wait to see the progress of this initiative as it continues make a difference for today’s generation and future generations to come.

Take a few minutes to read the article: “How Boston Is Trying to Close the Gender Pay Gap.” Let us know what new ideas this sparks for you and what you are doing to close the gender pay gap in your community.

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I saw a troubling segment on C-Span recently with Gallup executive Jon Clifton, who was talking about trust in American leadership around the world. I was concerned to see that America is less trusted than it’s ever been. This isn’t limited to politics, but appears to cast a shadow over the American public in general, and it has implications for all of us—in business and in everyday life.

What’s more is that global PR giant Edelman, which has been measuring trust for 20 years, has reported significant global declines in business, NGO’s, politics and media. On top of that, in our own study of working Americans, only 1 in 5 said they believe that their organization is led by purposeful leaders. What’s worse is that global employee engagement data from Gallup suggests that disengaged employees outnumber engaged ones by 2 to 1.

So why does this matter?

If you and I are anywhere close to the norm, it means that between 50 and 85 percent of our stakeholders don’t think that we are leading in an engaging, trustworthy or purposeful way. While most of us believe that we are better than average, statistically, half of us are not.

When we aren’t seen as purposeful, we see more turnover, lower productivity, and lower rates of profitability—and failed business initiatives. And, our people are less likely to understand why they are doing what they are doing.

Now what?

The path out of this crisis starts with being clear about what we are setting out to do, and why this matters. What do our stakeholders expect from us—our employees, customers, bosses, investors, and the world—and how do they think we’re doing right now?

From there, we need to take the time to look at the gap between how we’re currently performing and where we need to be—and put together a plan to bridge the gap. The plan should include daily practices and milestones along the way, not just the end goal. Then, we need to track our progress based on the plan, and have accountability mechanisms in place to check how we are doing. All of these pieces, when carefully put together, will help us build trust.

Yes, we’ll continue to get pulled in different directions and face competing priorities—and that’s OK. We’ll also continue to face tradeoffs. The age old saying still rings true: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. We’re constantly in a balancing act and our attention is pulled in different directions: Where do we devote our time and attention? How do we handle customer needs versus our employee needs? Short- versus long-term business decisions? Speed versus quality? Focused attention versus work volume? Thinking versus doing… strategy versus execution… and the list goes on.

Think about these as tensions that you need to structure. Instead of treating them as items on your to-do list, adopt a mindset focused on the choices that you get to make in each of these areas—and in the process, get really curious about these choices; don’t strictly manage them. Managing tensions implies that it’s something you have to deal with, something you don’t get a choice about. Structuring tensions suggests that we have a role to play in driving the priorities that are most crucial.

Taking action

We don’t need to be a political leader or a Fortune 500 executive for this erosion of trust to impact us. And, we have the ability to change things within our own sphere without needing public approval, media coverage, or a board mandate.

Here are three things that we can do today:

1) Start a daily practice. Pick a habit to practice on a daily basis related to building trust, engagement and purpose. For example, I have a notebook that I keep by my coffee pot. I write three things that I’m thankful for each morning and three things that I want to accomplish each day. This keeps me focused and true to my values as a leader and as a person.

2) Find an accountability partner. Seek out a colleague or friend who wants to do this with you. Ideally, this accountability and idea partner is someone who knows what you are trying to get done and why—and can support you in the process while pushing and challenging you.

3) Remember what you’re working towards. Imagine what things will be like when you succeed—when you build trust, purpose and engagement—and don’t lose sight of that. Don’t forget about what could be. This gives us reason to slog through the tedium of day-to-day affairs. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech wasn’t the start of his journey, it was a powerful moment along the way. He didn’t say “I have a plan”—it was a dream! A dream that inspired and united others around him to a cause.

When we marry our daily practices and accountability with what’s possible, we build trust, engagement and followers. No matter where you are in your leadership journey, building your own path to purpose and becoming purposeful will help you become the trusted leader that we all need right now.

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Linkage EVP Susan MacKenty Brady spends most of her time on the road partnering with organizations worldwide to advance women in leadership and create more inclusive work cultures. She has met some remarkable leaders who inspire her—about new and different ways to move the gender parity conversation forward.

Recently, she sat down with Eva Helén, founder and CEO of EQ Inspiration, an organization focused on engaging men to join the conversation on improving equality and advancing women to leadership in technology. Eva has 20 years of leadership experience in the tech industry. She is an entrepreneur, co-founder of two successful software companies, and a role model for women. Here, she shares her biggest challenge as a woman leader in a male dominated industry, the downside to #metoo, inherent gender differences, and the noteworthy mission of her latest venture.

Susan: The second technology company that you co-founded was acquired in 2015. You shared that the transition within the acquiring company was quite the awakening for you as a woman leader in tech. Why?

Eva: Yes, it was. I was used to doing things my way with a good leadership team and advisors making suggestions or willing to discuss my ideas and decisions, but I never had a sense that I, nor my decisions, were perceived as less valuable because of my gender. When I entered a bigger company, that changed overnight. I spent a year being frustrated at the way I was being treated. I was told that I had to “prove myself” and when I did, I was asked to “slow down.” Additionally, there was no official support for women internally and I found that there were very few women above the Senior Director level. Of the women who managed to break through the very low glass ceiling, even fewer stayed. I just wasn’t prepared for it, and emotions I had not felt since I realized that women are treated differently than men (in my early 20s) overwhelmed me. After leaving this role, I thought long and hard about what I could do for other women in this kind of (in my mind) unbelievably old fashioned and unbalanced situation.

Susan: You decided that you wanted to help more women. How are you doing that?

Eva: There are so many amazing organizations by, with, and for women. I feel like this space is saturated—that the need to support and be supported by women is met. There is an organization for every woman in business, in tech, in finance, independent, and entrepreneurs that you can think of. The need for these organizations will never diminish, and we should continue to nurture them. If anything, more women are looking for support by joining these groups.

The next key step is to get these women to move above and beyond the safe zone provided by these networks, to go further than listening to become role models who discuss their experiences, ultimately gain more confidence and advance to greater leadership positions. This requires offering the women who are ready for the next level the opportunity to attend programs like the one Linkage offers—your Women in Leadership Institute™ comes to mind. Also, encourage active mentoring, initiate conversations with supportive men, and make all experiences first hand, with the knowledge of what other women have done.

After talking to a lot of women, it became clear to me that the women’s organizations and networks will work just as well with or without me, so I thought about what’s not already being done today and where I can contribute to move the equality needle. I started questioning where the men were in these conversations of how we reach equality. I asked men if they would join if I organized “women in tech – an event for guys.” Many said yes and that was the beginning for EQ Inspiration.

Our mission at EQ Inspiration is to make men role models (by that I mean guys who are actively supporting women’s advancement) visible to women. I interview the role model candidates, experts on inclusion, and, of course, other women who share their knowledge and experiences with the audience to determine viable mentor/mentee partnerships. But arguably the most important ingredient of EQ Inspiration is the networking. New connections between people who normally wouldn’t meet. I try to lower the barriers to enter the discussion so that we can get some interesting conversations going. It lets us see people for who they really are and not based on assumptions we are making. It’s humbling, fun, and intriguing work.

 Susan: You talk about differences between men and women as one of the challenges, can you describe what you mean?

Eva: As much as I encourage people not to categorize and generalize, that’s exactly what I’m doing here, so bear with me. I ask that the obvious differences between women and men, and the assumptions that men and women want different things based on our different needs, be put aside. There are many women and men who want the same things, so it’s almost like we need to re-categorize. Call it women and men “feminists” at one extreme end of the spectrum, and suppression of women at the other end, with all nuances in between. We can’t assume that all women want the same thing, but the women’s spectrum is narrower than the men’s.

Please note that the following grouping is not rating men as good or bad, simply an observation of their understanding and levels of engagement. If we look at men for the purpose of improving equality in the workplace, there are the “Experts,” the men who have taken on the task of supporting women by bettering themselves and educating other men. There are very few of these men, but to name a few who I’ve met and/or worked with: Dr. David Smith and his co-author of Athena Rising, Lars Einar Engstrom in Sweden, Michael Kimmel, the team at MARC, Ray Arata of the Inclusionary Leadership Group, Max Andersson, and JC Boccella.

The next group of men are the “Change Agents.” The men who not only get it, but also actively support women’s advancement through initiating corporate programs, processes, mentoring, sponsoring women, measuring and reporting change and results. They hold themselves and their teams responsible. They don’t expect HR to do the work. They are change agents of corporate culture and lead by example. They are role models for other men, who they teach by doing.

Change Agents can be found anywhere on the corporate ladder. It can be a leader at the top who says that he will not fill a role until he finds a woman (who has the competence necessary); a team leader or a manager who demonstrates inclusive leadership of their team; an organizational leader who gets rid of barriers that promote equal opportunity; and, at an individual contributor level, a man who does his share to see, hear, and recognize women peers. The leadership by example changes the culture in the organization from within and is the most sustainable way to reach equality. It is the best way to get the men who don’t know why they should care to start awakening and changing their attitude toward inclusion of women and minorities.

The difference between men and men—due to upbringing, peer pressure, assumptions of what men should be like, and so on—doesn’t necessarily cause conflict among men, but it’s something that we (women) have to be aware of. As a woman, it makes no sense to try to convince the men who “don’t care or don’t want to understand” why diverse teams are better. The men who don’t care or, worse, are actively working to push women out, can be found at all levels in the organization.

Rather than focusing on this group, our energy should go toward continuing to support the Experts and Change Agents. After that, we should try to make more of the largest group into change makers. Let’s call this group the “Convincible Resistance.” It ranges from the men who are “enablers,” (a term coined by Joseph Mouzon, Chief Strategic Investment Officer at the Association for Women in Science) silently standing by letting inequality continue, to the men who: a) Know they should care about equality; b) Know it’s the right thing to do; c) have women around them whom they care about, so they’re wondering what they can do to support women in their workplace; and, d) Men who want to treat men and women equally but are scared to do the wrong thing. In short, it’s all men who want to support equality but are not sure what or how they can do that.

Susan: You talk about fear and a silent backlash after the #metoo movement. What do you mean by that, and how can we address it?

Eva: This makes me think of the old proverb. I’d like to suggest that we reverse it from “Speech is silver, silence is golden” to “speech is golden.”

Let’s talk about the average guy in the workplace, if there is such a guy. He’s not the obsessive hugger, or needy, or the “complimenter,” or the “hoverer,” or however you want to categorize the guys who make us (women) uncomfortable in the workplace. The average guy never, or almost never, made a woman uncomfortable, and if he ever did he wasn’t told he did, so he doesn’t know about it.

Now, our average guy hears about the #metoo movement, learns that women around him are not happy and that maybe, just maybe, he’s been part of making his women coworkers uncomfortable. He has no idea how to deal with this. He backs away, quietly, and closes his door. He may talk in private with another man, who also doesn’t know how to deal with this situation, but most likely, he figures it’s easier to just be silent. That’s him protecting his ignorance.

I would like to encourage these men to ask questions, and I am trying to create an environment where it’s safe to ask any and all questions at EQ Inspiration. I offer to set up and moderate all-male panels at women’s events. It’s sensitive, as many women are angry. I speak to all male audiences about realizing their power as individuals. I am a strong believer that we have to work on the communication between women and men, and that it’s our (the people who get equality) responsibility to reach beyond the people who are already engaged in equality work to engage the “convincible resistance.”

We have to work together across genders, generations, and business roles to reach equality. And by the way, I should have started with this: by equality I mean a 50/50 split of women and men at all levels in the organization—simply a reflection of the society in which we live.

Susan: How do you work with men and women once they are ready to move to the next level, either as mentors, supporters, leaders, or role models for equality?

Eva: I don’t. I offer a network of organizations, an ecosystem of vendors improving inclusion and equality. This is why I was so excited to learn about Linkage. What you offer and do matters and it’s so important. Every man or woman who is ready to truly understand what it means to live and lead inclusively, I invite to connect with you.

Susan: Thank you so much for talking to me today.

Eva: Thank you!

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Linkage, Inc. by Bernardus Holtrop - 1M ago

When I started leading teams as a young consultant, after a short while I thought I had it all figured out. I was clear on the output we were generating, distributed work well, and made sure to pay attention to team members’ development—an early sign of my passion for developing people.

However… something was missing. Actually, a lot was missing. A generous colleague who interviewed my team about my leadership put it in one word: they missed my “umpf.”

What they were really saying is that they were missing inspiration, new challenges, setting a high bar for performance—and that feeling of pride that comes from accomplishing something really hard together.

I was leading from a belief that highly talented people didn’t need much leadership; that they would figure out what to do once they were given a target and some direction on how to achieve it. Maybe I was overcompensating for having experienced micromanagement gone wrong firsthand.

The Absentee Leader

Turns out, I wasn’t alone. In a recent Harvard Business Review article “The Most Common Type of Incompetent Leader”, the authors call this absentee leadership. In a recent survey, eight of the top nine complaints of leaders were not about what they did, but what they didn’t do. Moreover, the impact of absentee leadership was more negative and longer lasting than that of destructive leadership.

Our team’s research about what makes great leaders great helped me see much more clearly what I wasn’t doing that my team really needed.

It turns out that the most effective leaders make five commitments to the people they lead: to Inspire, to Engage, to Innovate, to Achieve, and to Become Purposeful. Looking back, I was certainly achieving, but I was not really inspiring or engaging in a way that delighted and excited my team members.

Despite my good effort, I was falling short in the area that mattered the most.

Inspiration, it’s up to you

It took me a few years to realize this, and to get significantly better. Here are a few things that I worked on that you might find useful as you work with your team to inspire greatness this year:

  • Imagine success – In our team meetings, I set aside time for us to talk as a group about what’s inspiring for us as an outcome or vision, before talking about whether it’s feasible or not. Together, we imagine what our clients’ lives will be like when we’re successful, and how that will make us feel.
  • Discuss meaning – As a team, we discuss what’s meaningful and inspiring for each of us in terms of what we work towards and how we work together.
  • Practice authenticity – I have candidly shared my journey to be a more present leader and my attempts to be more aspirational with my team. This helps to create an environment where they are comfortable sharing their own experiences and stories of personal development.

How can you begin your own journey from being an absentee leader to being a purposeful leader? Ask yourself, how can I become more: Inspiring? Engaging? Innovative? Purposeful?

Take note of what comes to mind and share your comments below.

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I’m really thrilled at how far Linkage has come. I have to admit that our appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday night was unequivocally a high point for me during my 20+ years here.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, take a few minutes to watch the clip now. My colleague Jill Ihsanullah and I were included in a segment about addressing the gender pay gap in today’s workforce—how topics like unconscious bias can help drive the positive change that we want to see and achieve gender parity.

The opportunity to showcase sound bites from our experiential workshop on a national TV show speaks to the timely, important work that we are doing to change lives—and to help leaders everywhere become leaders worth following.

Jill’s recent insight piece is a great reminder of the incredible opportunity that we have each day as leaders to address this important topic head-on and ultimately create a more inclusive culture where everyone, regardless of their race, experience, background or age brings their very best self to work.

So, at the end of the day, this wasn’t just a minute on TV, it was Linkage at its best. I’m proud to have been a part of it and I look forward to continuing to be a part of this important movement alongside extraordinary organizations like Paradigm for Parity, and many others around the world committed to achieving gender parity. Together we can, and will, make a difference.

Here are a few of our favorite moments from the 60 Minutes video shoot at NFP.

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Why should I identify my reasons for becoming a leader? How will things be different with my leadership? Rear Admiral Grace Hopper once stated: “You manage things; you lead people.”

What drives you to lead?

The motivation to lead others to success is different for everyone, and it’s important for every leader to understand their own personal motivators. My last blog explores this topic further.

Today, I’m excited to share a short, powerful exercise that I did in one of the first leadership development workshops that I ever attended, many moons ago. It has since stood out in my mind as a defining moment in my own journey of discovery, and here’s why: it helped me uncover my motivation for leading—and for doing what I do every day.

So, grab a piece of paper and set aside a few minutes. You’ll be glad you did—you’re going to uncover the underlying reasons why you are a leader. This valuable self-discovery helps us shine a light on what drives us—and ultimately helps us become more successful, enjoy a deeper sense of satisfaction, and achieve greater impact.

On your piece of paper, make three vertical columns and label them:

  1. Experiences
  2. Growth
  3. Contribution

Now, get your phone out and set the timer for 90 seconds. Before you hit start, think of all of the experiences you’d love to have as a leader if time, money or knowledge weren’t factors. Remember:

  1. Don’t edit your thoughts. Just write.
  2. There are no limits to your imagination.
  3. Simply write whatever comes to you.

Maybe experiences you’d love to have as a leader include: Being out front at company events. Being in a place where I can reward others for their achievements. Being a thought leader in my industry.

Write whatever comes to mind. Go…

When your 90 seconds is up, stop writing. Now do the same thing for growth, which is the middle column. Write down all of the different ways you’d like to grow when it comes to leadership with no time, money, or knowledge restraints standing in your way.

Would you like to grow by: Gaining confidence in my own ability to lead? Developing someone? Finding a mentor or becoming a mentor? In the last column, contribution, write down all of the ways you want to contribute with your passion.

Your contribution could be: Starting a tradition in your organization. Becoming involved in a local organization. Finding great stories and sharing them with others. Leading training sessions for younger leaders. Sharing my knowledge in a blog.

Time’s up. You might find that you’re experiencing a positive physical reaction to imagining the reasons that you want to get better at leadership.

Based on what you wrote in each column, were there any surprises? Are you spending your time developing the right things?

In each column, circle one item that you’re going to work on in the next two weeks. Below your list, write down one action that you can take. For example, if you circled that you want to grow by developing someone, what’s one thing that you can you do now to work towards that goal? Write it down to hold yourself accountable, and you’ll have taken the first step toward becoming a better leader.

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As leaders, we interact with people each and every day—creating informal networks or tribes, as bestselling author and leadership expert Dave Logan calls them. Tribes are groups of 20 to 150 people that already exist inside of our organization that have the power to help us drive unprecedented results.

Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, April 26th at 1pm ET to learn how to cultivate a more purposeful culture in your organization, one tribe at a time. Evaluate your own personal values and behaviors in the context of your tribes—and your broader organization to ultimately deliver better bottom-line results in 2018.


Dave is one of more than 60 thought leaders, coaches, authors and leadership experts who will join us at Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development®, Oct. 1-4, 2018 in Palm Desert, CA. Read the top 10 leadership truths from our 2017 faculty.

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We’ve been celebrating National Women’s History Month here at Linkage, a topic that many of us are passionate about. When our partners at Paradigm for Parity came to us asking for words of wisdom to inspire today’s and tomorrow’s leaders around gender parity, we jumped at the chance to get involved. Many of our team members shared practical advice we can all learn from to support teamwork and inclusive workplace cultures.

Read on for an overview of the advice shared that naturally fell into five themes that have the power to transform how each of us lives and leads every day.

Your voice is your power—if you use it

Finding and using our own voice can offer a unique perspective to a challenge or issue, help us identify and define our own value, represent our authenticity, and make us visible. Here are a few ideas my colleagues shared:

“I urge any young woman to learn and practice negotiating early and often: negotiate flexibility, negotiate being added to a project that isn’t in your normal work silo, and negotiate for a new technology or process. Show your value, work hard, and ask for things that you believe you’ve earned and deserve.” – Ashley Brown, Salesforce Administrator

“The only way you can add value to a conversation is by actively engaging in it. Inevitably, you’ll find yourself in a room of people who are all senior to you and it will be tempting to keep quiet out of a fear of saying the wrong thing or looking foolish…. But remember: you have a unique perspective that no one else has—and you do a disservice to the conversation to keep that perspective to yourself.” – Briana Goldman, Senior Consultant

“The more perceptive of a person you are, the harder it will be for you to realize that, in the working world, you are likely invisible until you announce yourself. Find role models who know how to articulate and demonstrate their own value.” – Jill Maver Ihsanullah, SVP of Consulting

Get curious

There was also a theme among our team around curiosity and our ability to question legacy thinking that may be perpetuating bias or unintended behaviors.

“If ever there was a time to learn and practice exquisite curiosity, it is now. Men and women need to seek understanding of differences, and amplify and leverage those unique differences to create differential value.” – Susan MacKenty Brady, EVP of Global Program Strategy & Development

“Question your beliefs, assumptions and biases on a daily basis; and become curious about your thinking when you find yourself justifying actions that support long-held beliefs. We’ve been indoctrinated into a belief system from a very early age and often that belief system is a significant barrier to the advancement of ourselves and others.” – Susie Kelleher, Principal Consultant

“As a woman, take a conscious look at how you perceive female peers and the women you lead. Do you expect more or are you more critical of the women around you? We all need to be working on commending great work and achievements regardless of gender.” – Angela Hicks, Learning Architect/Instructional Designer

“Define your path to success by expanding your thinking, and learning from examples, while not letting those examples bind you to a status quo—because there is no one single way to succeed. And, when you see someone else trying to find their way, bring a message of innovation and curiosity, not answers.” – Shannon Bayer, AVP Affiliate Network

“If you’re wearing blinders, you can’t look around…. If you’re looking in a mirror, you can only see yourself. Look to others (ask and listen), look to data (interpret, verify), try new ways of being (fail and succeed!), and keep learning.” – Shirley Milgrom, Manager, Learning Architectures

Sponsorship and networking

Statistics tell the story: Sponsorship isn’t just a passing fad, and it might just be one of the most meaningful strategies that we can establish as leaders today to help our teams thrive in the future. Read our 5-Step Guide for more on this topic.

“Find a sponsor early in your career. A sponsor is someone who speaks highly and honestly about you behind your back, who knows your talent and dreams, sees your potential that you may not see, and positions you for opportunities of which you may not know.” – Reed Parker, SVP of Business Development

“It’s tempting to only focus on those senior leaders you aspire to impress; however you must always remember the impact you have on those who look up to you as well.” – Kerry Seitz, Director, Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™

Ask for what you want

Our recent survey data shows that women have a tougher time than men asking for what they want. This is one of the 7 Hurdles we’ve identified that women face in the workforce. My colleague Susan MacKenty Brady explains in this short video. Asking for it is one thing. Identifying it to know what you want to ask for can also take a lot of work, discovery and be a journey in and of itself. Tuning into your purpose can help you define this.

“The answer may not always be ‘yes’, but making the ask will get easier with time and also shows your engagement and commitment. Stay closely connected with colleagues who already know your value, take their feedback to heart, and don’t be afraid to fail—be resilient and it will pay off.” – Ashley Niven, Manager of Operations

“In today’s pace of business, we know that hard work, determination, powerful statistics, and passion alone don’t always unleash a woman’s leadership potential. It takes executive alignment, talent systems, accountability, transparency and metrics; and, it requires individual women to pause, negotiate and look up to define a larger leadership purpose beyond what they feel possible.” – Danielle Lucido, Linkage Network Director

Diversity is the new (old) equalizer

Research from McKinsey shows that more diverse companies financially outperform their peers. We need to find ways to bring diversity—in both people and perspectives—and gender parity to the party. And, create cultures of mutual respect and admiration for the differences that make us complementary. My colleague Mark Hannum sums this up nicely in his advice to men who want to support their female talent:

“Surround yourself with diverse talent. The best teams of talent are made up of both men and women. As your career progresses, be sure to find and sponsor the best women you encounter in your workplace…. Everything will be better as a result of that practice!” – Mark Hannum, SVP of Research and Development

I hope that next year at this time, we’ll see more practical applications of both formal and informal sponsorship programs in companies; that men and women will have a different and more mutually respectful (and natural and open) talk track with each other; and that my daughters who will turn 15 will experience a year of role models in the news that don’t have to do with gender or racial injustice, misogyny, #MeToo, disrespect and predatory behavior.

In closing, I’ll offer you my own parting words of advice: Think creatively and be fearless about talking with, connecting with and networking with people inside and outside your organization. Your visibility will help you when opportunities arise that you may not always be aware of.

What advice would you add? What conversations do you want to be a part of for National Women’s History Month next year? How can we change the conversation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and you may see them reflected on this blog in the future.

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Is there an executive at your organization whose advocacy for advancing women has created impact? Share their story with us.

Each year, excitement grows here at our Boston headquarters as stories of inspiration, courage and change start pouring in for consideration for our Executive Impact Award. This year, we will once again be selecting three executives who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing women leaders and consistently go above and beyond to make a difference.

This is your opportunity to recognize an exceptional leader and give them the opportunity to share their insights in front of 800 women leaders at Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™. The deadline for entries is Friday, April 13, 2018, at 5:00 PM ET.

 

The 2017 Executive Impact Award winners participate in a panel led by Carla Harris at the Women in Leadership Institute.

Over the years, we’ve honored remarkable leaders from a variety of industries. Our 2017 winners shared memorable words of wisdom on stage last year that our attendees were talking about for weeks after the Institute.

In previous years, we honored Jeannine Rivet, a health care pioneer who is described by her colleagues at UnitedHealth Group as the “Queen of Culture” and Jayne Parker, Disney’s Head of HR, who appointed their first-ever Chief Diversity Officer.

Our 2018 winners will be announced on this blog in May, and they will be honored at Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ in Phoenix, AZ, on November 14, 2018.

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