make room for her

Contact us

make room for her (24)

Building a Business Case for Integrated Leadership

In my last post, “Why We Need Integrated Leadership”, I discussed several reasons why companies need to begin moving toward a more balanced, integrated approach to leadership. I explained how in our ever more complex and connected world, organizations no longer have the luxury of failing to tap into the full capacity of their leadership team. We need all voices on deck to create a unified and integrated group of leaders who can leverage each other’s unique strengths, while integrating both the practical and creative insights of different perspectives.

Continue Reading

Why We Need Integrated Leadership

Not long ago, the CEO of a well-known IT company told me over coffee about losing a woman on his executive team who got hired away by another firm. The CEO (let’s call him Dan) explained that this female executive had been the “voice of the customer” for the leadership team, and had recently told the group that their key customer was unhappy—yet no one had listened to her. In fact, a fellow executive team member suggested that her assessment was off-base, as the company’s sales figures for the previous quarter were in good shape. But he was wrong and she was right: not only did the company experience a regrettable loss of their key client, but this important customer ending up taking their business to a competitor.

Continue Reading

Top 3 Leadership Attributes Women Need in the 21st Century

A 2015 study from Pew Research Center found that the majority of the American public agrees that women are as capable and qualified for corporate leadership as men are. Pew reports that “most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders.”

But as we all know, at the end of the day, that vote of confidence hasn’t resulted in gender equality in top leadership positions. There’s no need to restate the numbers; if you need a refresher, my recent post on growing momentum globally for gender quotas tells some of the story.

At SHAMBAUGH, our goal is to provide solutions rather than to dwell on why these challenges relating to women’s leadership aren’t progressing quickly enough. To that end, here is a summary of three top capabilities that women need to thrive as leaders, based on a recent McKinsey study of 250 high-ranking female executives and validated by SHAMBAUGH’s own research:

Continue Reading

Who You Know Matters as Much as What You Know—Why Women’s Sponsorship Still Matters

Do you expect that if you work hard to prove your value and differentiate yourself as a model employee that you’ll be automatically considered for career advancement? Research has shown that over three-quarters of women (77 percent) believe that long hours, hard work, and education lead to promotion rather than relationships and key connections.

This belief is simply false—and men know it. As I reported in my recent book Make Room for Her, Catalyst’s research has shown that 83 percent of men believe that who you know matters as much or more than your job skills and level of competence when it comes to corporate advancement. Men focus more energy than most women on building and intentionally leveraging a meaningful network to help them rise in their career. Women would be wise to follow their lead, since studies have shown that women are overmentored yet undersponsored.

Continue Reading

An Important Part of the Equation for Your Women’s Leadership Strategy

It’s been a busy whirlwind of speaking engagements these past few weeks, where I’ve discussed what I refer to as “Integrated Leadership” at a number of conferences and executive forums. The reason that Integrated Leadership is so crucial is that it reinforces the already compelling business case for gender-balanced leadership.

I recently met with Henry Maier, President and CEO for FedEx. Henry spoke just before I did at a recent conference in New York, where he stated so well: “When it comes to gender-balanced leadership, we are all in this together—men, women, and the organization.” Henry’s perspective is exactly on point in that it emphasizes the importance of having an integrated strategy focused on advancing talented women in our organizations. To move the needle in that direction, we all need to walk the talk.

Continue Reading

Breaking Through the Gender Barrier—You Can’t Do It Alone

Last week, I had the welcome opportunity to participate in a rich dialogue with Cathy Engelbert, who was recently appointed Chief Executive Officer for Deloitte LLP. I congratulated Cathy for becoming the first women in a professional services firm to take the helm as CEO, thus serving as a role model for many future female leaders.

Our conversation, which focused on the perennial topic of how to advance women in leadership, took place at the St. Regis in New York alongside 20 other women executives who have powerful roles in the Capital Markets sector. Several of these women have seats on notable corporate boards. Throughout the discussion, I was reminded about the importance of integrated leadership to women’s career advancement. To break through the gender barrier, women and men both need to play a significant role, as do organizations.

Continue Reading

Should U.S. Follow Europe’s Lead for Gender Quotas on Boards?

There’s some big news this month on the gender-inclusion front. On March 6, Germany approved a new quota that will require some of the largest multinational companies in Europe to ensure that women occupy 30 percent of their board seats. Currently, the New York Times reports that women hold less than 20 percent of boardroom seats in Germany, which is home to corporate behemoths including BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler (the maker of Mercedes-Benz), Deutsche Bank, and Siemens.

Germany is far from the first in Europe to legislate boardroom quotas—Norway, Spain, France, Iceland, Italy, and the Netherlands have already done so, with Norway mandating the highest percentage of women on boards at 40 percent back in 2008. But many consider Germany to be the most significant country thus far to make this tangible commitment to improving women’s representation on corporate boards. The Times reported that “the measure has the potential to substantially alter the landscape of corporate governance here and to have repercussions far beyond Germany’s borders.”

Continue Reading

Strategies to Build a More Inclusive Workplace Culture

In my last post, I shared reasons why it’s important that inclusive cultures become the norm rather than the exception, both in corporations and the world. An inclusive culture, as defined by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, involves “the full and successful integration of diverse people into a workplace or industry.”

BBI adds that while an inclusive culture encompasses a commitment to workplace diversity, it is not limited simply to basic representation. Instead, according to the Institute, “it indicates a climate in which respect, equity, and positive recognition of differences are all cultivated.” At the same time, the social and institutional response to various differences should pose no barrier to the positive employment experience of any particular group.

Continue Reading

Making an Inclusive Culture the Norm

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed the topic of inclusion coming up more frequently, particularly in political circles. In a speech earlier this month on the 2015 national security strategy, National Security Advisor Susan Rice emphasized the importance of helping countries in transition become more inclusive societies, as well as promoting equality here at home.

“We believe everyone should be able to speak their minds and practice their faith freely,” said Rice. “We believe that all girls deserve the very same opportunities as boys. We believe that all humans are created equal and are worthy of the same love and respect—including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters. These beliefs are fundamental to who we are.”

Continue Reading

True or False…Men Earn More Money and Promotions Because They Work More Hours Than Women

True…sort of. Several years ago, Mandy O’Neill, then a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, and Charles O’Reilly, her dissertation advisor, set out to study the career trajectory and income of MBA students. Their findings were fascinating: Four years after graduation, the women were earning at least as much as the men. Yet just four years later (or eight years after graduation), the men were out-earning the women. Even more intriguing was the fact that the only discernible difference was the number of hours the men and women worked. The women were working fewer hours than men on average, even when compared with men who had the same number of children.i

Continue Reading