Our Blog


SHAMBAUGH's Leadership Insights

Get the latest corporate leadership insights straight from CEO Rebecca Shambaugh.

What Inclusive Leaders Do

If you look around conference rooms, corporate boardrooms, and leadership teams, it’s clear that despite continued lip service to diversity, most businesses today still prefer the status quo when it comes to senior leadership roles. Much of this can be traced back to comfort level: SHAMBAUGH has found that people often feel safer when surrounded by those who are like-minded.

Some of the aversion to inclusion can also be found in a mentality of, “It doesn’t appear to be broken, so why fix it?” Some leaders may feel that if their profit lines are currently working, there’s no need to change what they’re doing at the leadership level. The problem with this assumption, though, is that frameworks quickly become outdated. The thinking styles that got you where you are today won’t get you where you’re trying to go in the future.

Read More »

July 12, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

Demystifying Executive Presence

I’ve been on the road the last several weeks with the SHAMBAUGH team, working with our clients’ leadership and executive groups. A common theme has arisen in a number of my interactions regarding executive presence, which is a somewhat intangible attribute that can be subtle to define and awkward to discuss. No wonder it’s an area people want to learn more about! So let’s explore this together and learn what executive presence is, why it’s important, and how you can show up with it.

Read More »

June 20, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

Women’s Events Spark Shared Solutions for Gender Equality

Last week saw the latest in action-oriented events in what I and many others globally have dubbed the Year of the Woman. Like last January’s Women’s March, the International Women’s Day and “A Day Without a Woman” events (both held on March 8) played a vital role in galvanizing women and giving them a collective voice to raise issues of gender balance and inclusion.

Hand in hand with these initiatives, though, we need both female and male leaders who are willing to strategically build on the momentum of these important efforts. At SHAMBAUGH, in light of the issues that these women’s events continue to raise, we’re putting extra emphasis on encouraging women to focus on being bold, rising up, and stepping into leadership.

Read More »

March 22, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

How to Get on a Corporate Board

As I travel to different parts of the country for speaking engagements and conferences, I’ve noticed a growing trend. An increasing number of women have been asking me about what steps they can take to land a board seat—particularly on a corporate board.

It’s a timely question, since the latest research on women and boards released in February showed only a very small increase in the percentage of board seats held by women. A new report from Deloitte and the Alliance for Board Diversity found that in 2016, women and minorities occupied less than one-third (31 percent) of board seats in Fortune 500 companies. Meanwhile, the usual pattern continues of white men continuing to claim the vast majority (over two-thirds) of corporate board posts.

Read More »

March 1, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

Facebook’s New Family Leave Policy Follows Theme of Makers Conference: Be Bold

I attended the Makers Conference last week in Rancho Palos Verdes and still have goose bumps from how inspiring it was. If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s a forum that brings together hundreds of trailblazing women leaders with a goal of not only elevating the conversation about women in the workforce, but also raising challenges and solutions through storytelling and action-oriented sessions.

This year’s theme encouraged all attendees to Be Bold—and as I listened to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speak on “A New Workplace” session, it struck me just how true to that theme Facebook has been.

Read More »

February 15, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

How to Build on the Momentum of the Women’s March

In my last post, I challenged readers to make 2017 the Year of the Woman. Last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington—and hundreds of Sister Marches around the world—show that we’re starting off the year in exactly that direction.

The marches collectively brought millions of women together in solidarity and empowerment. The mission of the Women’s March is for women to “stand together with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

Read More »

January 25, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

Make 2017 the Year of the Woman

Happy New Year to all. As we prepare to move beyond and build on the learnings of the previous year, one thing is clear: 2017 is poised to be a year of great change—and in many ways disruptive change—for our organizations, our communities, and our society.

In keeping with this observation, I have noticed a related trend. In my recent talks at conferences and executive forums, it has become clear that many more corporate leaders at all levels are paying increased attention to gender equality and approaching the topic with greater intentionality. This is a smart move for the 21st century, since we now have substantial data and physiological evidence that 50-50 leadership produces greater ROI, productivity, and employee engagement.

Read More »

January 11, 2017 | Leave a Comment (0)

Leveraging Different Thinking Styles to Develop Tomorrow’s Leaders

In my last post, I shared some of the latest thinking that suggests inclusion is the new diversity. In addition to those ideas on what today’s leaders and organizations can do to build a more inclusive culture and develop a truly diverse group of future leaders, consider these four strategies:

Read More »

December 14, 2016 | Leave a Comment (1)

Inclusion Is the New Diversity

Tony was on the Executive Leadership team. The senior leaders were charged with identifying a new board member from within their internal groups. Susan reported to Tony, and although her last performance review was lower than she had expected based on her boss’s assessment of her decisiveness and strategy setting, she was considered to have high potential in the organization based on her productivity and attention to detail.

While Tony briefly considered nominating Susan for the open board seat, he quickly ruled her out and moved on to other candidates. His reasoning was that Susan’s work style was more expressive and collaborative rather than the analytical, conceptual leadership style favored by the current board members.

Read More »

November 23, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

Think Less, Fail More: 5 Strategies to Boost Women’s Confidence

In my last post, I discussed how women can benefit from the “fake it until you make it” approach when it comes to improving their confidence levels. Men often use this strategy without thinking about it, erring on the side of overconfidence, while many women end up inadvertently holding themselves back from advancement opportunities by believing themselves to be less capable than they really are.

In SHAMBAUGH’s Women in Leadership Learning (WILL) Program, we share a number of strategies to help boost women’s confidence, which is important in developing a strong leadership and executive presence. Here are five steps that women can start taking today to let others know that they’re ready, willing, and able to take on the tough assignments that can lead to big opportunities...

Read More »

October 26, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

Women’s Confidence—How to Get It If You Don’t Have It

Fake it until you make it.” When I wrote my latest book Make Room for Her, that was a central piece of advice that men gave women when it came to the issue of confidence. When researching the book, I spoke with a male colleague of mine who is an Executive Vice President of global business development, who had this to say on the subject of women and confidence:

“The only way you grow is to lose some battles along your way to winning the war. When taking on new opportunities or working in unfamiliar areas where you have little or no experience, it’s important to be okay with knowing that you are going to stumble and fall. You will certainly make mistakes, but in the long run you will learn and grow, which will make you considerably more valuable to others.”

This EVP also told me that women need to keep “putting themselves out there” and “taking the risks involved with something that’s new to them,” adding that doing so starts with believing in themselves. “Women have to know that they can be successful without having all the answers and they have to be willing to fail in order to ultimately succeed,” he said.

Read More »

October 12, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

Inclusive Leaders Do These 4 Things—Do You?

If you want your organization to succeed today, then you must find ways to make inclusive leadership more than just a buzzword. But how can management teams ensure that all voices are on deck, particularly in light of challenges like this Catch-22 that an executive pointed out to me recently?

One way is to recognize that the traditional views on creating a diverse workforce based solely on creating more balance and fairness in demographic categories such as gender, age, and race are no longer sufficient—that threshold is too low. Successful inclusion now needs to go beyond the moral and legal imperative of simply integrating people with different demographics into the workplace.

Read More »

September 28, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

Do You Have a Leadership Mindset?

Take a look at the 2016 Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. You’ll certainly see some familiar names and faces, particularly in the top 10. But when it comes to money, media presence, spheres of influence, and impact (the four metrics used to select them), what is it that all of these female leaders have in common?


Despite their wide diversity of cultural backgrounds, industries, and styles, the uniting factor that has catapulted these 100 women into the top echelon globally comes down to having a leadership mindset. Cultivating this type of mindset in an organization often comes down to leadership agility and how skillfully one can navigate change, failure, and crisis. It’s the hard times that call out one’s leadership /brand and determine how one is viewed, not how well one leads during relatively stable conditions. All of the women on the Forbes list have certainly experienced setbacks and deal with change every day—but importantly, they’ve done so while maintaining a growth mindset, which is an important attribute for any leader or executive.

Read More »

September 14, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

How to Make “Women’s Issues” Everyone’s Issues

I was heartened to see the recent New York Times article by Peggy Klaus. In her piece, Peggy notes that she has recently heard more professional women questioning the value of women-only events and conferences, asking “how helpful is it to talk mostly to one another instead of to the men who hold the power and who must be a key part of the solution?” In one of my recent posts, I referred to this tendency as the “isolation factor.”

This is an issue that we’ve been addressing for a long time at SHAMBAUGH, specifically through our Integrated Leadership model. As Peggy said in her article, “we should not leave women’s issues to the women alone.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, which is one reason why our Integrated Leadership model focuses on what organizations and men can do—alongside women—to harness the full power of gender-balanced teams and leaders.

Read More »

August 23, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)

Why Inclusive Leadership Is So Important

One of the responses I received to my last post, The Truth About Inclusion, was from a senior executive in the tech industry. He agreed with a concept that I’d mentioned in my post—that of “psychological safety,” the zone where members of teams feel they are in a climate of trust and mutual respect—posited by Charles Duhigg in his article in The New York Times Magazine.

Noting that psychological safety appears to be a “way forward to successful teams,” the senior leader also pointed out what he feels to be a “Catch-22” about the concept: “that those who currently control the boardrooms and technical teams feel psychological safety when things remain the way they have always been.” So he asked: “How do you encourage the status quo teams to embrace creating psychological safety for all under these circumstances?”

Read More »

August 10, 2016 | Leave a Comment (0)