The Real Reason Why Women Don’t Make it to the C-Suite

Gender Equity

My work with female leaders over the last eight years has revealed that the advancement of women in the workplace is no simple issue. I’ve interviewed more than a hundred female executives, held workshops for more than a thousand, and individually coached many more. These women are based all over the world and have diverse cultural backgrounds.

When I’ve seen women step back from their jobs, go part-time, and even say they’re happy to be where they are, I always question it. Bonnie Marcus, author of The Politics of Promotion, conducted a study, Lost Leaders in the Pipeline (with co-author Lisa Mainiero) that found women do have strong ambition. In fact, in her survey of 615 professional women, 74 percent self-identified as very/extremely ambitious.

Yet, Bonnie says, “Their ambition is not nurtured in the workplace and diminishes mid-career after five to ten years. The assumption has always been that women lack ambition or leave for family reasons, but that’s not necessarily the case. Research shows that more women would remain in the workforce if they had programs and support that enabled them to be successful over the course of their careers. ”

To read my conversation with Bonnie about what companies can do to improve the numbers of women in the C-Suite, please click here to read the entire article!

Gender Equity

Image Credit: LeoWolfert/123rf

4 Ways to Deal With Difficult Personalities

Business Communication

The other day, I was chatting with Dr. Nate Regier, author of Conflict without Casualties, and I was reminded of a popular debate I had while studying intercultural relations twenty years ago–is our behavior caused by outside influence or genetic make-up? That is, are our personalities a product of nature or nurture?

Continuing our month’s theme of speaking with thought leaders in the consulting space who also work in global and/or cross-cultural contexts about leadership best practices, I explored this question with Nate.

But here are four ways you can reveal the junction when in a difficult conversation or conflict.

1. Consider the cultural norms and values within a particular country context.

2. Consider a person’s individual personality traits.

3. In situations of conflict, seek first to understand the cultural and personality needs, then explore what “content” disagreement still exists.

4. Understand that you may need to adapt your style of communication and motivation to that person’s preference.


To read more of our conversation, please click here to read the entire article!


Business Communication

Image Credit: oqba/Fotolia

Your Leadership Vision: A Book Excerpt

Leadership Vision

I am pleased to welcome author Paul Larsen, who is sharing an excerpt of his new book, Find Your Voice as a Leader.

Your Leadership Vision

Compelling visions have always revolutionized the world. Be it Bill Gates’s dream of creating Microsoft or Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of Facebook, a vision defines you and determines your success. To be a leader, clarity of vision is essential. Without a clear vision with clear objectives, you’re likely to end up where you started.

Creating a new vision takes commitment and discipline. Here are a few techniques that might help:

Where do you see yourself? Before setting a vision, ask yourself this fundamental question. What do you want to achieve? How? Is the vision attainable? Is your goal congruent with the organizational goal?

  • Break it down into smaller targets. If your objective is clear, this is the next step. Analyze your resources and team composition. Divide your vision into small-term and achievable (periodic) targets.
  • Think critically. Your vision will define you, your organization, and your team. So look before you leap. Consider all the variables. Brainstorm. Discuss new ideas with your team, and evaluate their feedback before working out a proper strategic plan.
  • Ask for help. There’s no harm in that. Say you want to launch a new product line in the market. Conducting market research and seeking the advice of market experts beforehand helps.
  • Maintain your integrity. No matter what vision you set, NEVER compromise on honesty and objectivity. Your organization is unlikely to thrive, and your team is likely to be disgruntled if your vision violates the basic principles of integrity.

Consider these ideas before you create your vision and outcomes, and test as many as you can. Additionally, you could think about a time you weren’t successful with your outcomes. Why not? Then think about a time you were successful with your outcomes. Why were you successful? Review your thoughts and discuss them with other team members. Together, you’ll create the best vision and outcomes for your organization.

Remember that negative begets negative and positive begets positive. Most importantly, realistic begets realistic. Aspirational is good, while realistic is better. When you create positive, realistic outcomes, you’re ensured a greater chance of success.

Your Goals And Outcomes Can Change (And Should).

Organizations change. Your life changes. Things happen— sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected. You need to be able to evolve, to bend, to be flexible. Yet you still need to keep your eyes on your targets, your goals, and your outcomes. And you always need to measure your progress toward your vision, as well as to measure your results.

Charting your outcomes on an Outcome Map enables you to keep track of your advancement toward your desired end results, no matter what challenges you face. As you find your voice in whatever role you play, charting your outcomes aligned to your values is critical in moving from intention to action.


Paul NLeadership Vision. Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a Certified Professional Performance Coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the Chief Human Resources Officer for a $3 billion organization. Paul partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, start-up, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “VOICE” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts, Twitter, and Walmart.  Read more about Paul and his latest book, Finding Your VOICE as a Leader at


3 Powerful Acts Leaders Drastically Underestimate

Leadership Behaviors

In working around the globe, the one common thread I’ve noticed in organizations is their different values and approaches to hierarchy.

When I spoke with Bill Treasurer, author of the upcoming A Leadership Kick in the Ass, we discussed the drastically undervalued concept of caring:


In Steven M.R. Covey’s bestselling book Speed of Trust, he makes the case for trust as a critical, highly relevant, performance multiplier. And according to Covey, “The best motive in building trust is genuinely caring about people.”

Caring is of utmost importance as a leader. It builds trust between you and the people you manage. Thus, leaders need to ask their employees about their personal lives and get to know them as human beings. In short, they need to care.

Bill shared with me a story of a leader at a construction company who came down hard on his team whenever there was a safety violation. He would fire those who were responsible.

The leader’s intent was to make the company safer and to show safety was of utmost importance. But the unintended consequence was the complete opposite. It created an atmosphere of distrust and made people feel they needed to hide near misses.

To address the issue, the company underwent a cultural transformation–when there was a safety breach, instead of the leadership asking, “Who did this?”, they asked, “What went wrong and how do we fix it?” This created an atmosphere of trust where people felt comfortable outing mistakes. And the result was a safer work environment–what the leader wanted all along.

To learn about the other two areas, please click here to read the entire article!


Leadership Behaviors

Image Credit: Racorn/123rf