Five Friday Highlights: Women Winning at Work

Working Women

Each post I chose to highlight this week somehow relates to how women can succeed. This week, the public discourse has been driven by a visual album about infidelity and a presidential candidate claiming that a female candidate’s “woman card” was too influential on what people thought of her. I chose pieces from different perspectives and I really can’t help wondering how it would go if the authors of these articles were in a room together!

When the New York Post ran I Want All the Perks of Maternity Leave — Without Having Any Kids, social media lit up with reactions to the concept of a “MEternity leave.” The author concludes that, “Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other,” but en route to that balanced conclusion, the author stirred up the ire of many readers. Take a look at the comments and you’ll see!

Maybe the people grappling with the questions raised by the author of the preceding article would benefit from the in-depth discussion summarized in The Future of Women in Business: A Discussion on Gender Parity with Leading Women in Business Today from Ellevate. I love the passage about having “the courageous conversation.” We’ll have to have many courageous conversations in order to achieve gender parity.

Similarly, Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices from Companies That Help Women Succeed in Huffpost Women is a book excerpt that ultimately asks, “given the proven importance of networking, why do women continue to lag behind?” This book needs to be on our lists.

Lightening things up just a bit, I enjoyed Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Jobs: 7 Leadership Tips and Career Smarts from the Laugh-Out-Loud Memoir by Tina Fey from Sharp Heels. My favorite takeaway was “it is important to be a team player, but likability is not the endgame at the workplace.”

In Winner’s Mentality from Femfessionals, Jessica Passman shared her advice for cultivating a winner’s mentality. “Every mistake is an opportunity to grow,” she reminds. She is so right!

Have you had an experience related to gender parity that has taught you or raised additional questions? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Carlos Santa Maria

How to Self-promote (Globally) Without Being Obnoxious

Global Self Promotion

Nowadays, self-promotion is almost synonymous with getting ahead. It can show your boss you’re ready for more opportunities. When done right, it can show your team you’re their advocate.

Doing it should be a dedicated task, particularly in large global organizations. People don’t know what you’re up to and what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them. This can be true, in some cases, even with your immediate boss and team.

You need to create opportunities for visibility. {TWEET THIS}

But the global aspect of our business world can be a double-edged sword. While it makes it a must to promote your work, it also makes it tricky to do so. Different cultures view self-promotion differently. In the U.S., people tend to admire the “skill” of being self-confident and the ability to tout your own successes. In Europe, on the other hand, self-promotion can be seen as distasteful. If you’re going to boast, you better boast about how your actions benefited others. In Asia, the collectivist mindset means self-promotion is more akin to talking about the accomplishments of the team and company overall.

Because most of us are working globally, we need to master the art of self-promotion so that it’s done in a way that is tasteful, increases our credibility, and makes ourselves, teams, and bosses look good across cultures.

So, here are three ways to do that:

Focus on results. When speaking of your success or actions, talk about the impact on your team. How many customers did you attract? How much money was made? What changes, developments, or innovations were caused because of what you and your team worked on?

Create opportunity for visibility. Write articles, blogs, or make videos about you, your team or company’s success. Look for speaking opportunities on panels or at conferences to talk about what you did. Conferences, in particular, love to hear real-world examples from people in the trenches.

Don’t forget to network. Consider spending 10-20 percent of your time on targeted networking. Targeted networking means you identify those useful to your career, team, or boss, and create opportunities to link up. Invite them to team meetings, host events, have lunches and happy hours, and spend time chatting.

The global nature of our business world has lent itself to flatter structures which means we can no longer rely on top management to do the promotion of individuals and teams. We need to be advocates for ourselves. So get comfortable and learn the authentic, genuine ways to promote the good work you and your team are doing.

Image Credit: ryanking999 / 123RF Stock Photo

Five Friday Highlights: Siestas, Expats, and Global Expectations

Global Expectations

If you have ever established residence in a country other than your own, you know that settling in involves so much more than unpacking. In today’s highlights, insight into life in Vietnam for an expat as well as issues that in one way or another reflect changing economies and customs in several countries.

When you think of Spain, do you envision businesses closing for lengthy afternoon siestas? Siestas have actually been in decline for a decade but businesses in Spain are grappling with ways to empower their employees to use their time effectively while also handling child care and other work/life balance issues (childcare can be scarce in Spain). Learn more from the Harvard Business Review’s piece, Don’t Call it a Siesta – What Spain’s New Work Hours Really Mean.

Even if you never cross the border of your own country, you are almost certain to communicate electronically with other cultures. As Bridging the Cross-Cultural Gap Through Email Etiquette explains, cultural differences need to be bridged in email just as much as they do in person. It shares four strategies for more effectively communicating across culture via email.

Get a glimpse into one of the parts of the expat puzzle (childcare) in The Cost of Motherhood for an Ex-Pat in Vietnam. Diana Metzger, whose family moved to Vietnam from the US in connection with her husband’s position with a Dutch NGO, discusses how the Vietnamese view her as a working mother, healthcare, consumerism, and the cost of living (baby formula, for example, is imported and prices can reach $65 for one canister.)

How China Can Avoid the Middle Income Trap explores the difficult choices China faces as growth slows. The author explains why some people in China see reason for optimism yet others have “serious reasons for concern; environmental degradation, corruption, high debt levels, to name just a few. Unless China can address its governance challenge, I fear that the pessimists will prove right. Issues of governmental authority will drive the direction of China’s economic trajectory.”

If you are an American who has traveled abroad, you may have been surprised at how your home country was perceived. Research what other countries tell their citizens about what to expect in the US, and you may see a different “US” than the one you call home. UK issues travel warning about anti-LGBT laws in U.S. states is one example.

What would you tell a visitor to your home country? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Timur Arbaev

Five Friday Highlights: Gender, Candor, and Keeping Your Word

Gender Equity

This week, I am sharing recent posts which deal with executives who demonstrate progress in the right direction toward eliminating discrimination in the workplace and some who are quite the opposite. Whether it is parental leave issues, age discrimination, or other ways in which bias can play out, we have to talk about it in order to effect change. A few of today’s posts suggest how to do that.

Although it is exciting to see that Melissa Harris’s employer made arrangements for a consultant to cover her duties during her maternity leave so that she could be assured that the work would get handled and she would retain her job security, it is even more refreshing to read how he kept his word about the arrangement. Such a fundamental quality, yet one that is lacking in many corporate environments today. Read the full story in Executives on maternity leave: Help has arrived by Jane Hirt with Melissa Harris.

Sometimes the simple act of keeping your word is profound progress toward #genderparity. {TWEET THIS}

I don’t know if Melissa Harris’s boss had a women’s cultural coach like Bonnie Marcus discusses via Forbes in The Real Reason Male CEOs Commit to Diversity, but he clearly “gets it” on the topic of actively engaging with what a female in his workforce needs to continue making a professional contribution.

In contrast to Melissa Harris’s experience, Dan Lyons writes that his supervisor at HubSpot didn’t have any commitment to fairness in the workforce, at least where age is concerned. In When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie, Lyons shared the HubSpot CEO’s statement to the New York Times that “age imbalance was not something he wanted to remedy, but in fact something he had actively cultivated.”

Like Kimball Scott, in Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor, I am positive change is not going to happen without significant shifts in how we communicate with one another in the workplace (and especially in the C-Suite). This lengthy read is worth your time. Scott explores why progress slows to a crawl or even reverts when people “fail to care personally and challenge directly.”

In my travels around the world, I have met thousands of people, each of whom has a personal success definition. Sallie Krawcheck’s My Metric for Success? It’s All About Impact posed the success question in a unique way. She has a dual goal of helping women advance in business and working to close the gender investing gap. It is her statement about why she had to try that most resonates with me, though, and I believe applies to all of us trying to make business more equitable for women:

And why me? Because shame on me if I don’t go after this. ~ Sally Krawchek

What difference can you make in gender parity? Have you personally faced an inequity at work? Was it resolved satisfactorily or in a way that prohibited your productivity? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: Fotolia christianchan

Five Friday Highlights: Tips for Going Global

Global Travel Recommendations

Have you traveled outside your native country? If so, were you surprised at the realities of a totally different place? No matter how many global travel recommendations you collect as you prepare to visit someplace where the language and customs differ from what you are accustomed to, there’s always a surprise or two.

There will always be a learning curve when you arrive in a new country and begin integrating yourself into society. Business Insider can help with the most important etiquette rules to know when traveling for business to 10 countries around the world. Having spent years in Germany, I can attest that a failure to be punctual can lead to even bigger failures in your business relationships; people from Germany value timeliness!

In 30 Intriguing Superstitions From Around the World from Mashable, beliefs are explained that you can only know by learning from a local (or reading an article like this). I can’t say any group in Spain has ever watched my entrance to the room to see which foot I entered with, but now that I know that entering a room with your left foot is considered bad luck, I’ll be sure to start things off on the right foot in the future!

Once you’ve gotten a handle on the etiquette and even figured out some of the superstitions, your work is still cut out for you! International Business Strategy: How to Succeed says it like it is: “It is a common misconception that conducting business internationally is the same as business as usual but expanded across multiple foreign countries or areas.” Global expansion is much more than geography.

Global expansion is much more than geography. {TWEET THIS}

If you were to make yourself a digital nomad, you may end up visiting each country mentioned in the “etiquette” and “superstitions” articles above. How do you feel about your office being your laptop and working from wherever you land for the day? In How Digital Nomads Make the World Their Oyster from DaPulseBLOG, a close look at the challenges and sacrifices of intentionally choosing not to have a fixed address and engaging in what the article calls “the ultimate downsizing exercise.”

Whether you never get your passport stamped or you’ve racked up so many frequent flyer miles you can’t keep up, remember that conversations are always global as explained by Gini Dietrich for Zignal Labs. “Even if you’re a company operating only in one country … events that are happening on the other side of the world could unexpectedly trickle down to the conversations you’re having with your customers.”

Have you read something this week that could prepare a traveler to hit the ground running in a new country? If so, tell me about it by clicking here!

Image Credit: 123rf Frank Blomberg

Five Friday Highlights: Powerful Women and Leaning in Together

“Women are good for business” is the lead sentence in one of today’s highlighted articles. Of course they are! However, the path for powerful women (i.e., ALL women) to contribute their talents, energies, and intellect can still be rocky. This week, a look at the role of creativity in STEM education, and then a look at how creativity is being applied to open doors for women. To close things out, a post with thoughts on balance once the doors have been opened and the women are fully exerting their power in the workplace. What happens at home?

Much of my work is in technical industries, so I encounter women who utilize STEM skills routinely as part of their work. I agree with The Importance of Adding an “A” for Art + Design to the Famous Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Acronym in Sharp Heels. Young women (and men!) who are receiving a STEM-centric education still need to have their creativity nurtured and encouraged. As the article’s closing line states, “you can’t have science that truly means something to the mass of humanity if it lacks art, or art without some aspect of science.”

I was fascinated to read in Empowering Women Veteran Entrepreneurs from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the number of veteran women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by nearly 300% since 2007! The SBA’s efforts on behalf of women veteran entrepreneurs includes resources such as loan programs, technical assistance, and V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), a three-phase program which “enables women veterans to find their passion and learn business-savvy skills to turn ideas or businesses into growth ventures.”

Why isn’t there more female participation in the workforce? asks Want Double-Digit Growth? Hire Women from Fortune Magazine. As the piece outlines, a report from Citi’s Global Perspectives and Solutions reveals two reasons: policies and the outcome of these restrictive policies. Take the time to read the report; its insights are thought-provoking.

“This new era of women’s leadership development is no longer about struggle but rather about focus and balance” claims Louise A. Korver for Talent Management in Best Practices for a Different Kind of Women’s Leadership. Of the seventeen suggested best practices, two that stand out to me are “focus on career development” and “get women on boards.” Which of the seventeen do you think would have the most impact? (Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 to let me know!)

Even once we women put together the intelligence, strategy, and communication skills to contribute our substantial assets to the world, we still have “home.” After all that Leaning In, how do we create an equitable distribution of time and energy to those who matter most? As the people quoted in Mark Zuckerberg Posts Baby Picture to Encourage  Active, Loving Fathers from Mashable, perhaps the Lean In equation needs an addition: TOGETHER. Read the #LeanInTogether quotes from high-powered businesspeople and tell me what you think!

Once women are fully exerting their power at work, how can families #LeanInTogether at home? {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia Sergey Nivens