Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Women in Management - Dr Lois Frankel

Dr Lois Frankel is a superb speaker and author of books such as 'Nice girls don't get the corner office'. Her talk this morning at the Business Chicks event was superb! Here are some really practical guidelines that we can all apply.

1. We must speak loudly and clearly - people like people with high energy!

2. Do something different to be noticed - what do I have to do differently?

3. If women think they can't do it they just don't. Men take more risks.

4. Ask yourself - What are the rules for membership in your family? These rules and how you followed them impact the way in which you interact in organisations.

5. When in a meeting be amongst the first 2 or 3 speakers. Don't always give your opinion and you can still participate by asking or answering questions. Just make your voice heard. The longer you wait the more you will be marginalised.

6. What else do you have to add to your tool kit or skills set to be successful? Get along with other people, relationships, find your voice etc

7. Trying to teach women not to cry in the workplace is like teaching pigs to sing

Immediately excuse yourself from the room ("You can see I have strong feelings about this I am going to excuse myself'). Ask what am I angry about - we often turn anger to tears. Put words to it and return and explain why you are angry.

8. There is a glass ceiling, discrimination and no gender equity.

But you can be proactive. Nice girls act like the little girls they are taught to be in childhood.

Should you be nice? Yes. But what skills do you need to use to balance out the nice?

9. Nice girl syndrome = disease to please.

You act in ways to make others like you.

Avoid being too powerful out of fear that men will reject you. You're between a rock and a hard place. Too powerful = being called names and not powerful = no goals.

There is an 'Old boys club' and we live in a white male system. The System designed to keep its power and to maintain itself.

Avoid aggressively pursuing your goals because it may make others uncomfortable.

10. You don't ask for what you really want. Usually we don't ask until it’s offered.

11. What's the opposite of a nice girl? A winning woman. Evaluate the past, vision the future. Live your values by using and sharing your connections. Prepare for push backs. Craft meaningful messages. Manage expectations. Build relationships that work for you.

12. Don't act like men. We live in a society where we don't like women who act like men and vice versa.

Think of yourself as a peach (soft on the outside and rock hard in centre) - Be a steel hard magnolia.

The top 10 mistakes nice girls make:

1. Not getting it - accept that there is a glass ceiling. Don’t wait to be invited to the glass tree house, engage in the strategies that will get you noticed. Accept what the system is and do something about it.

2. Working too hard - you work too hard. Women are miracle workers. They get the job done with fewer resources and miracle workers don't get recognized. Find the base line for hard work in every organization. Some have high baselines for hard work. You have to work up to the baseline or else you will be called out. Guys usually laugh, negotiate or delegate to a woman when asked to perform a miracle. Women jump in too soon.

3. Not setting boundaries

4. Striving for perfection - women work twice as hard to be considered half as good. You will never achieve perfection. It is an exercise in futility. Guys know when good enough is good enough.

5. Ignoring the look and sound of success - 50% of credibility comes from how you look, 40% comes from how you sound (clear, loud enough, and articulate), 10% from what you say. It is given at a certain point in your career that you know what you're talking about, now you need to differentiate yourself.

6. Unclear vision/branding - you are a brand in the workplace. We emotionally connect to certain brands. Have your own sponsors and advocates to credentialise you. Do the beer test- when I meet you do I want to sit down and have a beer with you?

7. Staying too long in a bad situation = the sunken cost dilemma. $5000 for the new car, $1000 on new tyres, then $1000 on transmission, another $750 on radiator. Sooner or later I won't have to out more money into it? Know when it is time to walk away. What am I getting out of this?

8. To wait to be given what you want, rather than asking for it. At Princeton they saw men in higher positions that women and assumed it was due to sexism but they discovered it was because women were waiting to be invited.

9. Using too many words - when we talk to guys you don't get feedback. Waiting for an interaction and keep talking hoping you will get that. The more you talk the more diluted your message. Nobody wants to know what’s in your head. Ask if the person's question has been asked? Answer first then ask. The is the cue to the other person to speak.

10. Trust your financial security to someone else - don't turn your financial portfolio to someone else and then leave it alone. Stay involved.

Tips for being in meetings:

What women do wrong in meetings:

Don't sit on your foot

Don't fold your hands in your lap - have them on the table

Don't wait for your turn to talk - everything will be said first

Don't go and get another chair if there are none - you’ll be stuck on the corner. Ask people to move over.

Always sit next to the most powerful person in the room even if there are lots if chairs

Don’t play with hair

Unless your name is Betty Crocker don't bring food to meetings

Don't volunteer to be the scribe unless it is rotated - use a sense of humor to start a rotation system

Don't apologize all the time

Interrupt people who go on and on by saying,"Llet me just make sure that I understand you correctly," and then summarize what they have said and then give your counterpoint.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The great debate - do real women need quotas

A group from Management Consultancy International attended the wonderful great debate last week to listen to a range of speakers on the topic of - Do real women need quotas?
An amazing array of women (and 2 men) gave us their views.
Julie McLellan said that women do not need quotas - we need experience, education and a network that will promote us. Her suggestion was that if you want to get on to a board, you need to find someone in the network who is swamped with offers and who will be happy to hand your name forward.
You need education as well because boardrooms are not for the well-intentioned and the ignorant. There is joint and several liability and we have to perform to the highest standards.
Not only does there need to be progress - there needs to be sustainable progress. We need mentoring in place and training to give us better directors.
Most women are derailed long before they get to board level - let's spend time fixing that issue first so that there is a huge pipeline we can tap in to.
Ita Buttrose stood for women needing quotas. She made the point that if we are selling or marketing to half the population here, would you not want input from women in to this key market segment? But the old boys network is still very strong. Women have taken huge strides forward - and the world never crashed! We can't just think about tokenism - having women on boards sends a strong message to other women in the organisation that they too have open doors for endless possibilities.
Women will not go away and they need the right to have their voices heard. John Singleton joked with Ita saying that women are not bastards enough and are too honest. And if you look at some of our corporate 'heroes' who are now in jail, what is there really to learn from them?!? Ultimately the "mob" running the boardrooms currently do not want to give up their power easily - unless obliged to.
Jean Kittson argued against the need for quotas. She said that we have quotas in our social clubs in our sports arenas because we set professional standards. Our ovaries are not enough to get us in to the 'club'.
Quotas could in fact work against us in that they could encourage in-fighting amongst women who feel that others have been parachuted in to positions based on favoritism.
Malcolm Turnbull said that the only way around this issue is to create family-friendly workplaces. In that way everyone wins. A workplace that is flexible helps end all forms of discrimination.
Peter Ritchie ended the debate by making the point that we all yearn for better leadership. If we had quotas twenty years ago, we would have more women leaders now. Men, he said, are a "bunch of over-mothered woeses!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amazing Success in our Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program

Our excellent facilitator, George Konstantin, had a wonderful moment during one of our classes and he writes as follows:

"In a recent TAE class MCI experienced one of those moments of unsolicited pride in what we do. A moment when a participant demonstrates true immersion and application in what you pass on that you cannot help but feel grateful.

Mary, one of the Training and Assessment Certificate participants based her ‘program presentation’ around the importance of flexibility and the resulting engagement in participants in her classrooms. Working with her current student cohort Mary introduced a simple activity, picked up in her TAE class, that yielded a great results. The activity, the kind passed on from facilitator to facilitator, was picked up on a recent professional development trip to San Diego by Denise Meyerson.

The “onions” activity promotes questioning, discussion and ultimately the kind of creativity a presentation or lecture simply cannot prompt. Mary decided to use it in her design class to encourage students to express themselves in an atmosphere free from boundaries.

At first, she said, the students were bemused, this was all a bit daunting to them. Even design students presuppose there will be clear guidance and direction in what in the ‘results’ expected of them. After reinforcing and clarifying the activity was one of genuine self expression Mary showed the “find the right answer” philosophy a clean set of heels.

The students, with some coaxing, eventually lost the bemused looks on their faces, and started to truly create. She advised that this simple activity (which carried for almost an hour) and what it represented in her class, a break away from the rigid chalk and talk and instructional design classes, saw her participants transformed. Her account suggests they learnt more about each-other and themselves that day than they had in any session until that time.

Mary explained how the students opened up, started to discuss and collaborate, and I must say the results are very impressive.

Thanks for sharing our experiences with MCI Mary, well done."