One of 2013's top stories for women in leadership was to see Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors become the first woman CEO of any auto company! Mary's route to the top is similar in many ways to other Fortune 500 women. Like most F500 women CEOs, Mary:
- Is married.
- Is a mother (two teenagers).
- Has a Bachelor's degree (electrical engineering) and a Masters (MBA).
- Has held both line and staff jobs - including a stint as Chief HR Officer, running an assembly plant and as EVP of global product development
- She's known for her interpersonal skills and team focus, cut-to-the-chase style and focus on the customer
Diversity Executive magazine recently interviewed Susan L. Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women. Below are excerpts from the interview. (Please share this important info liberally with colleagues in and outside your company and other women in your organization.)
"Can you describe the missing 33 percent of a woman's professional background that keeps her from reaching the top?
As women move up, we get to a point where future opportunities rest on our perceived potential for leading the business, not just leading the people. When determining whether a woman can lead the business, executives look for business, strategic and financial acumen. This is what I call The Missing 33% of the career success equation for women — not because women don't or can't have business, strategic and financial acumen, but because very few women are clearly told how essential these skills are for reaching the top."
The first time I heard the term elevator speech was in the middle of the dot-com bubble. I had been hired to design a three-day new employee orientation program for webMethods and the CEO was laying out the specifications. Among them he said this, "Everyone at webMethods must understand that they're salespeople. They must know our elevator speech and be able to pre-qualify potential customers anywhere they meet someone -- on the plane, at a cocktail party, at a conference."
In general, it is a mentor’s job to help her protégé position herself to achieve career success and the protégé’s job to work with her mentor to achieve career goals. When it comes to career success, our research indicates that men and women speak differently about mentors and their roles. Understanding this difference will help you be a better mentor and/or protégé.
What we've found is that when discussing the impact of their mentors, successful men talk about "PIE” and successful women talk about "CAKE”. To illustrate, let me first ask you a question. If you were to review a posted job in which you were interested, what percent of the listed job requirements would you feel you had to meet before you’d go ahead and apply?
Susan L. Colantuono is the CEO of Leading Women, a consulting firm working to close the leadership gender gap. She founded and ran the Women's Institute for Leadership at Bryant University from 2002 to 2010, and is the author of No Ceiling, No Walls Colantuono recently spoke with Diversity Executive magazine. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.
Can you describe the missing 33 percent of a woman's professional background that keeps her from reaching the top?
As women move up, we get to a point where future opportunities rest on our perceived potential for leading the business, not just leading the people. When determining whether a woman can lead the business, executives look for business, strategic and financial acumen. This is what I call the missing 33 percent of the career success equation for women — not because women don't or can't have business, strategic and financial acumen, but because very few women are clearly told how essential these skills are for reaching the top.
6 TED Talks for Leadership Development and Career Success for Women
We searched TED for the most viewed, most fascinating, most informative talks on women in business and on leadership and created a list of TED Talks that everyone should watch.
Here's our list. Continue reading to see why!
When it comes to overcoming mindsets that cause the leadership gender gap, one of the practices that we recommend is to require recruiters (internal and external) to deliver diverse slates of candidates for key positions. While companies often focus on senior positions, we recommend this practice be implemented for positions above the diverging point (the point at which the % of women begins to decline and that of men increases).
While it is intuitively logical, that this practice would contribute to more women being selected, the research of Iris Bohnet of the Kennedy School explains why. Comparing women and men in hiring pools minimizes the risk that gender dynamics (bias, assumptions, stereotypes) will result in poor hiring decisions.
Yesterday as I worked in my home office, a small herd of young deer came over the stone walls. Two entered the yard. A nibble from the ground here, a nibble from the ground there. Delicate steps, ear-twisting listening, noses seeking the scent of danger. Zip, gone a few tips of lily leaves, a few hydrangea leaves, a few rose leaves.
After they left, there was no sign that they had been here. No bare spot of grass, no absent frond of lily leaves, no stripped branch of hydrangea or rose. I was struck by how carefully they steward the land from which they take their sustenance - a lesson I try to live daily as I seek to simplify the material part of life.
And then, struck by the invisibility of their presence, I thought of this quote about leadership from Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.
I recently read a book in which the author claims that changing a culture is like turning an aircraft carrier. I frankly think his simile totally misses the mark. For starters, an aircraft carrier is quite nimble for its size and turning it is actually quite simple. The Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) gives orders to the helmsman (who controls the rudder) about the direction of the turn and to the lee helmsman (who controls the engines) about the speed of the turn.
Unlike other large ships, an aircraft carrier has 4 engines and can turn very quickly (even within its own length) by reversing two screws while the others are moving forward. This makes turning an aircraft carrier child's play when compared to changing a culture. Here are my top 5 reasons why culture change is more difficult.
The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Study is out - and Leading Women's research is in and neither is great news for companies without a leadership development program for their Millennial women:
Deloitte research says:
“This year’s survey shows that women are equally likely as men to rate 'opportunities for career progression and leadership roles' as a major factor for staying at or leaving a job.”
“Millennials want to work for organizations that have a purpose beyond profit, and they want those organizations to provide opportunities to develop leadership skills. These may be the two most important factors in creating job satisfaction and long-term loyalty, especially among Millennial women.”
“This year’s survey shows women (67 percent) are slightly more likely than men (64 percent) to leave their employers within the next five years. One reason could be that 48 percent of female respondents say they are 'being overlooked for potential leadership positions.'”