Contributed by Beate Chelette
There has been lots of talk these days about introverts and extroverts, generated by the bestselling book Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Herself an introvert, author Susan Cain writes that introverts are “too often denigrated and frequently overlooked in a society that’s held in thrall to an extrovert Ideal – the belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight.”
The truth is, it’s not an either-or situation. Every person has many different faces, and it is all too easy to forget that. I come across business owners all the time who wish they could create an army of Mini-Mes, a team of people who are all just like them. Yet the real power comes from having people on your team who are different because they can do jobs that you might not have an innate preference for.
Let’s dive into this deeper. Recently I became a Certified Practitioner of the MBTI Step I and Step II Instruments. MBTI is also known as Meyers Briggs psychological type theory. I asked my team to fill out the standard 93 questionnaire designed to measure innate type preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. I reassured my team it isn’t a test – it isn’t – and that there were no right or wrong answers. It’s simply an effective tool to help people build relationships – and teams – and to understand why differences arise at home and in the workplace. Most importantly though, with an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, team building becomes so much easier and effective.
By Michelle Clark
What does the sound of your voice have to do with your level of corporate success? Apparently a lot, according to “Voice pitch and the labor market success of male chief executive officers,” a research paper recently published by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Evolution and Human Behavior. The authors, William J. Mayew and Mohan Venkatachalam of Duke, and Christopher A. Parsons of U.C. San Diego, present strong evidence that male CEOs who possess a deeper vocal range are more likely to work for larger companies, enjoy a longer tenure, and make more money.
While this study does not explicitly analyze how the vocal pitch effect impacts professional women in a corporate setting, a solid argument can be built around the fact that female executives might find themselves at a disadvantage because of a supposedly inferior biological trait. But, this is not the message that should be taken away from the paper, suggests author and Duke Professor Bill Mayew.
“This can be an empowerment tool for women in the sense that if we can understand what characteristics matter, the next step to is to look at why they matter, and when do they matter most,” says Mayew. “Then you can start to think about tailoring them. For example if you are a female sitting in the boardroom, and you cannot control your voice pitch, what are the other things you can do in terms of getting your voice heard?”
As one of the first research studies to emerge on the topic of how evolutionary and biological traits affect how quickly an executive ascends the corporate ladder, this paper shifts the focus from the common factors of education and experience to intangible traits that are more difficult to measure, such as voice pitch. By learning what factors might play a role in determining who gets chosen for senior level positions within large corporations, women can focus on displaying their own unique set of strengths.
By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)
Renee Haugerud, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Galtere Ltd., issued a challenge for young women in the investment space. “It really is an industry where you have to be a self starter. So dare to be bold. Dare to have a view point. Take everything you know and make a decision. Put your money where your mouth is and dare to start a company.”
Haugerud founded Galtere 15 years ago, and she is enthusiastic about increasing diversity in the investment space. She believes it will strengthen the entire industry. That’s why she and her husband founded the Galtere Institute at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – to encourage women to go into trading, to examine the gender differences that have made the industry the way it is today, and to examine how it can evolve in the future.
“If we can teach men a more female-centric view of trading, and we can teach women a more male-centric view of trading, we’ll have the best of both worlds,” she said.
By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)
A new study [PDF] suggests that managers can boost team performance by offering “prosocial” bonuses. The study’s authors say that teams do better when individuals get bonus compensation which they are then instructed to spend on another team member or a charitable group.
The Harvard Business School working paper was released this month and written by Lalin Anik, Duke University; Lara B. Aknin, University of British Columbia; Michael I. Norton, Harvard Business School; Elizabeth W. Dunn, University of British Columbia; and Jordi Quoidbach, University of Liège. The researchers were looking for ways around common problems caused by traditional bonuses, which have been shown to be ineffective in increasing morale and productivity.
According to Anik et al, prosocial bonuses, or bonuses that are spent on other people, may be the answer. Teams that employed prosocial bonuses reported higher productivity and more satisfied employees than those that only used traditional bonuses. They write, “These results suggest that a minor adjustment to employee bonuses – shifting the focus from the self to others – can produce measurable benefits for employees and organizations.”
Apparently, the sense that they are doing good can motivate people to work better together – here’s how.
By Robin Madell, San Francisco
Imagine if you were able to recruit women from across the country to spend hundreds of hours debating how best to help women stay on the leadership track at American companies.
Then imagine what might happen if a small group of those women spent countless more hours distilling the resulting ideas into 78 solutions, 16 ideas for CEOs to make change in just 24 hours, and tips and advice for women themselves.
Well, Bentley Center for Women and Business (CWB) did just that. The resulting report—Idea Exchange: Advancing Women in the Workplace—helped move this type of conversation into action by sharing ways to eliminate barriers both small and large to the supports women need inside the office and at home.
The Glass Hammer spoke with Susan M. Adams, PhD, senior director for the CWB, who helped lead the Idea Exchange initiative and facilitated the writing of the report by serving as the content expert.
By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)
A new McKinsey report suggests that while tracking and analyzing diversity metrics is important for success in gender parity, we should not downplay the importance of personal experience. Leaders should be encouraged to engage in storytelling, McKinsey suggests, making their connection to diversity personal.
Lareina Yee, a Principal in McKinsey’s San Francisco office, explained that while, in the past, she and her team had researched into problem areas that companies experience when it comes to diversity, for this research they decided to delve into the things that companies are doing right. “Instead of framing all of the things companies were not doing, we decided to ask ‘what are things that companies are doing that make them better?’ Who are the positive deviants?”
She continued, “That’s how we got to the storytelling piece. It’s about commitment, and we believe that intensity of commitment is critical for the success of the program.”
Yee, who wrote the report with Joanna Barsh and Sandra Nudelman, says that when leaders are genuinely committed to improving workforce diversity, they put their passion and their resources behind numbers-based corporate initiatives in a combination that yields success.
By Michelle Clark (Keene, New Hampshire)
According to a recent study by Mercer, the percentage of women assigned to international projects currently sits at 13 percent, a 3 percent increase from 2010. Mercer’s research suggests that 39 percent of companies say that employees with international experience are promoted more quickly, it is encouraging to see more women are being considered for international assignments, and subsequently accepting these roles.
The dialogue around international assignments and female expatriates has most recently been focused on the question of fairness – are women receiving equal opportunities to take advantage of the international experience that can positively impact their career trajectory? A study conducted by Catalyst last fall indicated that women, in fact, are not being equally considered for critical international experience that will enhance their career. Or, if they are chosen for an international assignment, women are most likely to receive smaller projects with small budgets and less corporate impact, compared to their male colleagues.
However, Mercer’s Global Mobility study results paint a different picture of women in international assignments. Historically, eligible women have been overlooked for international assignments due to assumptions about work-life balance constraints and the potential safety risks of sending females to work in different cultures where views of women – especially of women in dominant business roles – were not yet widely accepted. Now, 13 percent of all international assignments belong to women. This number might not feel very significant in the grand scheme of things, but is actually a solid indication that there is a very noticeable sea change taking place within the international business community.
Contributed by CEO Coach Henna Inam
Want to get choice assignments? Want to make more money? Want to have a bigger impact? Get sponsored.
Only 13 percent of women leaders have sponsors according to data from the Center for Talent Innovation. How do the rest of us get the right sponsors? Sponsors are the people several levels up in the organization who have political clout and influence to get us promotions, the right assignments, and visibility. To get the inside scoop on how people really decide who they sponsor, I spoke with several people in leadership roles and those in HR who have the inside scoop on how this actually happens.
Five Factors That Drive Sponsorship
1. Consistent Results. We have to be great at what we do and we have to do it consistently. In order for sponsors to be willing to use their precious political capital on our behalf, they have to have confidence that we will deliver for them. “Demonstrate competence consistently. It’s what builds confidence and credibility” advises Chris Lowe, President of Food Service at Coca Cola North America. This is a necessary factor, but it’s not sufficient.
2. Communication of your personal brand. What is it that you’re great at and helps you stand out? This is not about fulfilling the job description. This is about us understanding the special spark or talent we have that creates value in an important way. Are you the person that is able to turn around client relationships? Are you the person that’s able to solve the toughest problems? Are you the visionary that is able to envision future trends like no one else? A great tool for doing that is using personal assessments (I recommend Strengthsfinders and Stand Out) in addition to feedback. Discover and articulate your personal brand in your performance review and career discussions.
Keep reading »
By Robin Madell (San Francisco)
So you read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and perhaps like our editor liked it more than you expected to. Now what?
The messages in the book are a powerful call to action to do more than just read and move on. The author’s expressed hope at the end of the book is that women will not only keep talking about the ideas that she raises, but will form “Lean In Circles” to facilitate the dialogue.
We interviewed Gabriela Franco Parcella, chairman and CEO of Mellon Capital, on her progress in championing a Lean In Circle at her firm. She explained, “My feeling is that if we can help accelerate the learning curve for women, why not? It took me 18 years of working to learn some of the lessons described in the book. I would like other women to benefit from our experiences so that they can avoid mistakes that we have made.”
By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)
According to Suzanne Muir, a Global Client Partner at Capco, a financial services consulting firm, women would benefit by reaching out to one another more often. “We don’t collaborate enough. I don’t see enough women keeping up with peers. Women need to stick together and I really encourage a lot of that.”
In fact, she is helping launch a new mentoring circle initiative at her firm. “We launched our executive women’s network about two years ago, and over time it’s really gelled into a great group of women at all levels. Now we want to add that mentoring component.”
Each circle will include a senior woman and nine to ten junior women with the goal of attracting and retaining high performers. “The junior women will lead and facilitate the circles and bring ideas and thought leadership forward to create their own community of interest. They are still looking for their best fit in their career, and giving them a sense of community will enable them to feel comfortable. I think that’s important.”
She continued, “Our future leaders are those women, and it’s incumbent on us to provide that path forward.”