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Every Action Has An Equal And Opposite Reaction

It appears business believes they have a special dispensation from the effects of Newton’s Third Law. You can’t get around it though. That old crafty law is always operating, whether companies or leaders—or even you—want it to or not.

Let’s follow the trail of this law weaving its way through the unrest, dissatisfaction, and resentment building in women executives as they’ve been unable to obtain equal ground in the marketplace.

Through the years, women have attempted to make their mark by assuming more male-like attitudes—no noticeable results with this approach. They endeavored to be valued team players though rarely did they gain victory on that front either. Women took on working harder and longer hours, but that only dug them deeper into low-level work. Women have watched men achieve positions they hoped for, only to be told how they do their work was holding them back rather than to be measured on the results they create as men are.

In fact, LeanIn and SurveyMonkey report 66 percent of a women’s performance evaluation comments were on style; whereas less than 1 percent of men received behavior comments. This statistic isn’t unexpected when many senior managers still seem stuck in archetypal thinking of “women take care” whereas men “take charge.”

While the top leaders of a company profess the need for equality yet as Catalyst illustrates, the statistics for women at the top haven’t shifted dramatically—with a slight decrease reflected between 2017 and 2018.

Along with women feeling they’ve been held back in their workplace, many have been harassed and taken advantage of by more powerful men in their organization.

Is it any wonder the unexpected consequence of all of this negative energy was the #MeToo movement?

The domino effect of this feminine outcry is high-profile, high-powered men in entertainment, education, media, business, politics, sports, and technology have been brought down. There is no doubt this charge has created a massive shift ousting 201 powerful men. So far, nearly half of the filled positions were by women.

The unexpected consequences are still reverberating throughout the marketplace, so we don’t know the long-term results. But let’s take a peek at one of the fallouts. The recent LeanIn research brings to light 60 percent of male managers in the US are afraid of having a one-on-one meeting with a woman in 2019 a giant step back from 2018’s 28 percent.

As Sheryl Sandberg admits: “Women are in a bad place. No one’s ever gotten promoted without a one-on-one meeting—I feel confident of that!

Additionally, of concern to women intending to move up in their organization, the senior managers say: They’re

nine times more likely to hesitate traveling for business with a woman;
• six times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a woman.

Wow! The unconscious consequence of these statistics has a massive impact on both genders. For men, because they don’t only manage women, but also report to female bosses and have customers who are women. The big, hairy question for them is: Who do I need to be moving forward? And for women, it’s evident that the road to the top has narrowed yet again. The big, hairy question for them is: How do I breakthrough yet another layer of barriers, so the power players in my company know me?

Even as we follow this thread through the machinations of our organization, the lesson is every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Don’t leap without calibrating your decision as well as whether you’re ready to handle the cost or not.

Engagement “Whataboutism” Could This Be You?

As I was considering writing this article, Grammarly sent the word for the day (No surprise is it I’m hooked on this app?) which was “whataboutism.” I’d never heard the term before, but then I’ve found there’re no coincidences in my world. The definition is a conversational tactic in which a person responds to an argument or attack by changing the subject to focus on someone else’s misconduct, implying that all criticism is invalid because no one is completely blameless. Excusing your mistakes with “whataboutism” is not the same as defending your record.

The business world is running amuck with engagement “whataboutism” even with all the research, attention, time, and money thrown at the issue.

Of course, it’s tempting to point fingers at your company. They do have a responsibility to generate an atmosphere conducive to producing work commitments. But an engaged workforce also demands commitment from every employee—not a fast, impulsive “yes”—but steadfast, everyday attention.

Ask yourself the following question to see how culpable, or not; you are in the engagement crisis. Read More→

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost. J.R.R. Tolkien

Knock… knock… knock. Do you hear the future struggling to crack open your heart? It’s the yearning you can’t quite touch. You long to encounter its promised sweetness but have given up on it ever coming to pass.

You’re confident regarding your mastery at checking items off your “to-do list.” You’d happily stack your production up against anyone’s, but time-and-again frustrating breakdowns occur in your efforts to cause outside-of-the-box experiences.

Stop flaying yourself. Begin creating one new habit at a time, but keep in mind the old maxim: What got you where you are today won’t get you where you want to go tomorrow. Read More→

Business Is Turning Upside Down On It’s Axis– Now, What Do We Do Together?

I flat out am drawn to business. Every time there has been a crossroad, I choose the sign pointing toward the marketplace rather than away from it. That said, I’m not so profoundly enamored that I can’t see the dangerous fissures forming at the core of organizations for what they are.

For years as a consultant, I’ve been addressing the gender challenges women have and still face as companies often don’t recognize their unique, yet essential contributions. Now men are in the discrimination bulls-eye as years of disrespect, and in some cases, harassment has come around to bite many high-level male leaders in their proverbial butt.

But gender alone isn’t the only domain where systemic unfairness occurs.

  • Companies methodically devalue an employee’s contribution as mere cost-centers and bottom-line assets.
  • It’s been made clear by our organizations that anyone and everyone is expendable.
  • There’s statistically significant evidence that Gen X’s (and every generation in-between) receive job callbacks more frequently than do Baby Boomers.
  • As Harvard Business Review reveals, there hasn’t been a reduction in hiring biases against blacks for over 25 years.
  • Even human employees with their incomparable, creative brain, are under attack and downgraded by the touted AIs which are ready to take over any repetitive, routine work once performed by man.

Each of us is responsible for the transformation we crave. The truth is we all marginalized or devalued ourselves, if collectively we remain silent when discrimination is occurring against any group, whether based upon gender, age, creed, ethnicity, or race.

These are knotty issues. In today’s chaotic, revolutionary marketplace change is to be expected. None of us can assume deferentially holding on to the status quo is a winning formula. And yet, employees still remain loyal to attitudes and customs that harm the workforce and or the values companies have been built upon when it is no longer an option. Standing tall with fresh eyes is essential. This blog is a call to arms individually and collectively! It’s an “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any longer!” time in business.

Stop the madness.

It’s not easy for any of us to wrap our arms around the shake-up we’re all experiencing. And none of us is going to win ground by denying a revolution is occurring right before our very eyes.

We need to stand up for our fellow employees. No longer can we ignore actions that diminish. Instead, today’s times demand a proactive, selfless force that appreciates the strengths each brings to the business.

Where do we go from here?

Begin by operating as one who believes there is more than enough for everyone. You can’t be passive any longer by allowing yourself to be a citizen of any “zero-sum” game that injures countless employees, and instead:

  • Stop being quiet when someone is being harassed or diminished in your presence.
  • Publically recognize co-workers doing a great job.
  • Highlight the strengths of the disenfranchised and unrecognized employees.

This subject is a challenging one that impacts all of us working today—one requiring principle-based, courage. Are you ready to be part of the collective driving the marketplace into a whole new land?

Did you say yes? Before you do, check out Margaret Wheatley’s definition because what you’re saying “yes” to is a critical and awesome responsibility:

A movement is defined by the people willing to stay dedicated to their cause for a long time, those who take risks, work hard, expect defeat, and still keep going.

Don’t be part of the problem instead give voice to workability and solutions. It’s time—more than time—for each of us to take responsibility for the environment we work within and its people. For it is through respecting the diversity of everyone that we empower creativity, profitability as well as a healthy, thriving organization.



Men: Check Your Assumptions At The Door

Business competition, side view profile of two colleagues in classy suits having disagreement and conflict, standing in modern work station, place, face to face, lean with hands on the table

Who would have envisioned the unprecedented, topsy-turvy, transformation taking place in our business’ hallways—particularly for men?

There’s a whole new game where the rules of engagement are evolving right before our very eyes.

Men, what if all you’ve accepted as accurate regarding managing others, which has long been in your success toolbox, needs an overhaul?

And please don’t dig in deeper to your rightness.  You see, when faced with an environment in tumult, the natural human response is to grasp even more insistently to what has always worked. This reaction doesn’t bode well for the male executive, who is driving for a distinguished career.

For you to come out the other end as a successful leader, it’s crucial you recognize men and women perceive and tackle events very differently. If you can’t inspire and create amazing results through your entire staff—not one gender alone—your future hopes will be dashed.

It’s time to check your assumptions at the door:

In Collaboration: In the recesses of your mind, have you ever thought your female team members should pay more attention to the role they’re assigned and to attaining immediate results rather than expending critical resources on everyone getting along on the journey? You just may be seeing things accurately, but is it aiding either the process or the outcome the collaborative group achieves? According to Pat Heim, who has studied gender differences, women are more likely to agree with the statement, Being a good team player means helping all of my colleagues with what they need to get done. In contrast, men are more likely to agree with the statement, Being a good team player is knowing your position and playing it well. You amplify collaborative execution with both focuses. You see driving, and striking targets are what collaborative teams have been created to achieve, and yet if everyone isn’t entirely engaged, the brightest and best results will be slow in coming.

In Competition: A question I often ask in male-only leadership environments: What tools do you find most useful in improving sales or production? The response universally is competition! This motivator is an excellent one when it comes to men; however, women do not respond as positively to such stimuli. According to a study by Mellon Foundation, women tend to perform worse in a competitive environment, most notably, when competing against a man. Their research additionally demonstrated, while money is a powerful spur for men, it isn’t for women. They desire promotion just as much as men, so it’s not “want” we’re talking about here; instead it’s about what generates performance. For the sake of argument, let’s imagine this research triggered an “Aha” in you. Now, how do you plan to motivate at least half of your workforce moving forward? Try listening, show appreciation and respect, while offering mentoring, and trust your women enough to have them take the lead. For women, motivation lives on the softer skill side of the equation.

In Risk: Everyone involved with business knows risk-taking is an essential element. For years, research has told us women aren’t risk-takers, which is a mark against them from many. But there’s a more relevant insight to be had on this topic. It is true women often approach risk more deliberately than do men. Women take calculated, sober risks, and are more pessimistic relative to projected gains. There’s even been speculation, since the 2008 financial debacle, that had more women been at the decision-making table the outcome would have been very different. Don’t make the error in judgment of thinking women aren’t running the corporate race powerfully—they do it using their feminine strengths. Are you listening to all ideas—both those for and those against—with an equally balanced ear?

In Confidence: You may not believe this because it’s coming from me, a woman, but men typically assess themselves as more capable than those around them; whereas women consider themselves equally capable as their co-workers. Because women lack that tooting-their-horn-attitude, they don’t play up their achievements or put their name in the hat for the significant assignments as do many men. Such an attitude has women assessed as unsure or lacking in boldness. Just because women don’t readily show up in the same manner men do doesn’t diminish the long-term contribution they create for the company.

I’ve coached 1,000’s of men over the years. I promise rarely does a male executive consciously discriminate against his female employees (I did have one high-level executive who flat out did, and confided doing so in coaching sessions—so, I can’t say never!). But I do know we all fall prey to biases we’re not even aware we hold. And leaders are responsible for getting it straight and checking their assumptions at the door… that is if they have any hope of winning in today’s marketplace.­


Hey, if you’re running gender challenges, reach out I’d love to help.