Get the latest corporate leadership insights straight from CEO Rebecca Shambaugh.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at TEDxRockCreekPark, an independently organized TED event. It was a phenomenal experience to share the podium with incredibly diverse thought leaders, including neuroscientists, film makers and even a 13-year-old entrepreneur. The theme of the event was The Hero’s Journey, based on the idea by Joseph Campbell that each of us is on a hero’s journey. At times in life we find ourselves in a challenging situation, experience a revelation, and are transformed by the experience.
At first glance, the hero’s challenges appear to be external. Yet in actuality, the challenges heroes face are most often internal – it is their self-limiting beliefs and behaviors that prevent them from achieving their goals. Once they address and overcome these internal challenges, they are positively transformed and find the success they seek.
May 22, 2013 | Leave a Comment (0)
Are you just giving "lip service" to the issue of women's advancement?
There has been a great deal of debate recently about Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In (Knopf). Kudos to Sheryl for re-igniting the conversation about the shortage of women in senior leadership and for drawing national attention to this incredibly important topic. Now that we have debated the whos, the whys and the hows, it’s time to move forward. It’s time to move from conversation to action – to stop talking about advancing more women into senior leadership and start doing something about it.
April 18, 2013 | Leave a Comment (0)
At a recent event in Washington, D.C. for my latest book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results (McGraw-Hill), I was honored to have in attendance senior executives from such highly successful companies as Marriott, Merck, IBM and PPD. Several of these executives shared their insights and perspectives on leadership and what it’s going to take to lead effectively in the 21st century.
I opened the event by highlighting the dramatic shifts taking place in our work environments and across the world, as well as the business case for Integrated Leadership, which calls for embracing and leveraging the broader spectrum of human intelligence in our organizations and teams. Dottie Brienza, Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Talent Development for Merck, then shared some terrific thoughts on Integrated Leadership and the importance of having balanced leadership teams: “Numerous research studies show that organizations with a greater number of women in senior executive positions are more profitable, have greater market share and are better able to compete and grow. Businesses that have fewer women, frankly, are leaving money on the table. It simply doesn’t make good business sense to leave women out. This is not because women are better than men. It’s because women bring something fundamentally different to the table that allows businesses to operate more holistically.”
March 28, 2013 | Leave a Comment (0)
When I decided to write my latest book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results (McGraw-Hill, December 2012), my goal was to start a dialogue about the lack of women at the top levels of leadership. According to a recent New York Times article, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and former top State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter have the same goal. The need for this dialogue is clear: after decades of talking about gender diversity, women are still grossly under-represented in the senior leadership ranks. Even though women make 80% of purchasing decisions, comprise 51% of the workforce and hold close to 50% of all managerial positions in the Fortune 500, they represent as little as 15% of the executive suite and corporate boards.
In her forthcoming book Lean In (Knopf, March 2013), Sheryl Sandberg argues that the primary reason women are not advancing to the senior ranks is because they often inadvertently sabotage themselves. On the other side of the debate is Anne-Marie Slaughter, who places the blame for the lack of women in senior leadership with the organizations who employ them and with policymakers who fail to enact legislation to support them.
March 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment (2)
Companies that ignore the broad spectrum of leadership thinking are destined to fail. The new leadership model for the 21st century is called Integrated Leadership, and it’s based on the full spectrum of human intelligence – balanced teams of men and women working together synergistically to create an overwhelming, undeniable competitive advantage. In my newest book, MAKE ROOM FOR HER: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results (McGraw-Hill), I share how organizations can harness the collective strengths of both men and women to soar to new heights.
January 22, 2013 | Leave a Comment (0)
The Chinese concept of Yin-Yang is a wonderful metaphor that beautifully illustrates a balanced, integrated approach to leadership. Yin-Yang describes seemingly opposite forces which are actually complementary and interdependent. In Western society, Yin-Yang is often referred to as “Yin and Yang” and brings to mind simple contrasts such as dark and light, male and female, logic and emotion. But Yin-Yang is much more than mere opposites. Rather, it represents the idea that the interaction of contradictory forces not only creates harmony, but also makes for a greater, more complete “whole.”
December 19, 2012 | Leave a Comment (4)
You may or may not have heard about the recent, sudden ouster and subsequent reinstatement of the University of Virginia’s first woman president, Teresa Sullivan. The story received national attention and dominated the local news here in Virginia where I live.
As for why Sullivan was forced out, a New York Times article suggests that although she is a talented and well-credentialed administrator, UVA’s Board of Visitors (i.e., board of trustees) perhaps felt she was just that – an administrator rather than a leader. The article further infers that Board members thought Sullivan lacked vision and a strategic perspective, didn’t possess the “mettle” necessary to make tough decisions, and didn’t fit their image of a chief executive. But after numerous on-campus protests and a significant social media backlash, the Board reinstated her. I wish Teresa well in what will undoubtedly be an awkward, if not difficult, situation going forward.
October 24, 2012 | Leave a Comment (2)
Like many people, I looked forward with great anticipation to watching the Summer Olympic Games. Every evening, I was awed by the extraordinary discipline possessed by these athletes and drawn to their compelling stories. Given my background in leadership development for women, I was also keenly interested in the accomplishments of the women athletes in these games, of which there were many:
The Games of 2012 have been dubbed “the women’s games.” Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee, noted during his opening speech that these Olympics represented “a major boost for gender equality.” I couldn’t agree more. The Olympics have leveled the playing field for women in sports.
September 11, 2012 | Leave a Comment (1)
Not a week goes by that SHAMBAUGH doesn’t get a call from an organization looking for help to better prepare its leaders to advance into more senior positions. One of the most common challenges facing these organizations is identifying and advancing talented women leaders. My last two blogs discussed the importance of sponsorship in advancing more women through the leadership pipeline to create balanced, integrated leadership teams that drive better business results. And while individual men and women leaders are on the front lines when it comes to sponsorship, the importance of the organization and senior leadership can’t be underestimated.
August 14, 2012 | Leave a Comment (0)
The recent announcement of Marissa Mayer as the new CEO of Yahoo made media headlines around the world. In fact, I received an unprecedented number of calls about her from reporters and radio talk-show producers – all asking me the same question – did I think Marissa could juggle being a CEO and new mother at the same time. Could she really “have it all?” My reaction was and still is…why not?
July 24, 2012 | Leave a Comment (2)
In Part I of “Sponsorship Matters,” we discussed the importance of sponsorship in building balanced, integrated leadership teams that leverage the strengths of both men and women. Specifically, I addressed what women need to do to gain more sponsorship. However, we need to realize that we aren’t going to make sustainable progress if we only rely on women to change the status quo. So this month, we will look at the role men play in sponsoring women leaders.
Interestingly, men typically are not seen as playing a significant role in advancing women into leadership – that job has been left to the HR or OD department. And because men have often been pushed to the sidelines, they have perhaps become apathetic about supporting women. Yet men are in the best position to sponsor and mentor women because many have spent a significant amount of time in the leadership ranks and hold the most knowledge and experience.
June 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment (0)
Recently I had the honor of doing a global webcast for The Conference Board on the topic of sponsorship. Apparently it was one of the more well attended webcasts for The Conference Board, which tells me that sponsorship is a topic people are keenly interested in.
Before we go any further, I think it’s important to clarify the difference between mentoring and sponsoring – and there is a difference, a big difference. A mentor is someone who acts as a resource and role model, offers advice and counsel, and provides perspective and constructive criticism. A sponsor can also be a mentor, but a sponsor takes it to the next level by being willing to advocate on a protégé’s behalf with respect to advancement and strategic opportunities. Sponsorship means that someone at a high enough level to be influential is committed to you becoming an executive.
May 9, 2012 | Leave a Comment (0)
About a year ago, I sat down over coffee with the CEO of an IT company. The CEO – we’ll call him Robert – shared with me that his organization had been the market leader in their industry for the past five years and had enjoyed consistent growth and profitability. Their success to that point, he believed, was based on their leadership and their employees’ sheer drive and relentless focus on key results.
Yet despite their past success, Robert confided that he had deep concerns about the company’s future. A competitor with a creative, new technology had recently overtaken them as the market leader, and he had just learned that they had lost one of their key customers to this competitor. To make matters worse, the organization’s most recent employee survey revealed that morale was low, people were burned out, communication was lacking and employees had lost faith in leadership.
April 17, 2012 | Leave a Comment (0)
Not long ago I had a meeting with a client organization that is working to advance more women to the executive suite. One of the key male executives commented, “We have plenty of talented women in the pipeline who are right at the cusp of being ready for senior leadership, but they’re just not strategic enough.” Our research at SHAMBAUGH indicates this idea that women are not as strategic as men is a commonly held belief.
However, in working with and coaching hundreds of women leaders, there’s no question in my mind that women are strategic thinkers. After all, most women constantly fill multiple roles. This requirement gives them critical problem solving skills and the ability to orchestrate complex situations – two areas that are closely related to strategic thinking skills. So the issue is not that women aren’t strategic thinkers. The problem is that they sometimes don’t come across that way. And in business, as in life, perception is reality.
March 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment (2)
Recently I met with an executive from one of our client organizations who heads up Global Talent Management and we spoke about the topic of whole-brain thinking and balanced leadership. As you may recall, in December’s blog, "The Brain Science Behind The Integrated Leadership Model," I shared the concept of whole-brain thinking and how the physiological differences between men and women’s brains explain the considerable differences in how they operate in the workplace.
In my conversation the executive shared with me that she understands what other highly successful senior executives know – differences are at the heart of a balanced leadership approach: “Our customers are diverse, with different likes and needs. If we only had one type of executive – whether that was all men, all women or all one personality type – we would be limited, only recognizing that narrow slice of the world. We would miss all kinds of opportunities and conversations that are crucial to our success. And as a result, we would miss a critical chance for the continuous learning that will keep us at the top of our industry today and give us the competitive advantage we need to stay there in the future.”
January 31, 2012 | Leave a Comment (2)