The 1 Factor You Must Have to be an F500 CEO!

It’s not what you think.

Right now you’re sitting there reading this thinking, “I need to know what this is so I can see if I have it or can get it because it’s in my life plan to be an F500 CEO!” You probably are thinking it must something like grit, determination, maybe smarts, attractive looks, or maybe it’s Tim talking about this it’s probably height because he’s a short motherf@cker!

Something truly, statistically interesting has happened over the last 14 years to CEOs of the Fortune 500. It really defies logic.

In 2005 the average age of an F500 CEO was 46 years old. Feels about right. 46 feels like young enough but also old enough all at the same time. The perfect combination of youth and wisdom.

In 2019, do you know what the average age of an F500 CEO was? You would think in 14 years that line would probably stay about the same. Maybe because of all the Baby Boomers leaving the workforce we would see it fall, but probably not too much. If a few Boomers were hanging on, we might see it rise a little, but again, it’s hard to move the average all that much.

In 2019 the average age of an F500 CEO was 59! Basically, over 14 years, the average age went up one year every year! It’s hard to even imagine that could be the case!

So, what’ the one factor you need to be an F500 CEO? 

You need to be a Baby Boomer!

That’s right. Stop going to that Ivy league college and working on your MBA. Don’t worry if you’re ugly or short or fat or female or black or white or a dude. The only thing you really need to be is OLD!

Turns out, big giant companies like Old folks running their company!

Why?

If you are running a multi-billion dollar company, maybe even closing in on a trillion (Trillion is the new Billion!) you don’t want some kid at the wheel. You want someone with seasoning who will tend to be less reactive to major events. They’ll be a bit slower in how they move the company, a bit more conservative in how they manage the assets and resources.

Also, think about what’s happened over the past 15 years. We came out of the great recession. We had this young 45-ish CEO taking the lead in turning us around and putting us back on top. It actually worked! We’ve had this great decade of prosperity! Do you know what companies do when things are going really well? They don’t change anything! Including their CEO!

In fact, many times if the CEO wants to retire, and they trade that CEO in for a younger one, and 12 months in the company is slightly underperforming to expectations, they’ll fire that CEO quickly and bring back the old one to right the ship!

So, 37-year-old Millennial who is chomping at the bit to take over. Calm down and wait until you’re old! You really only have about twenty more years to wait until it’s ‘your time’. That isn’t that long, just 25% or so of your life. You’ll get there, be patient!

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @TryVantagePoint – Virtual Reality Harassment Training!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the HR technology startup VantagePoint. VantagePoint is a virtual reality(VR) learning technology company that has produced both sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training, as well as a training metrics dashboard to go along with their VR training.

I’m not sure we are even close to what VR can become in the HR world. Clearly, there is a great use case for it in training and we see organizations are beginning to start testing it, but to this point, it’s still rather uncommon in most organizations. In fact, it’s uncommon in almost every part of our lives. Only 2% of people in the world have ever even tried it! But, it’s growing like crazy, basically doubling in usage every year.

All that said, it’s actually super cool and fun! Now, if you ever had put on a VR headset and did a fly through the grand canyon, or taken a trip on a roller coaster, you could probably see how that might get old, are nauseating, very quickly! If you have watched a live NBA game from the first row at half-court, through VR goggles, you start to understand how totally awesome it can be!

VantagePoint’s CEO, Morgan Mercer, was early in on the VR tech and it’s potential use to train our employees in how to be better with sexual harassment and has also added in content for D&I as well. VR is only part of what VantagePoint is about. Doing great VR means you have to have great content for your employees to get emersed in. Ultimately, VR is the training delivery tool, but what VantagePoint understands is you better deliver great engaging content is you want great training.

What do I live about VantagePoint? 

– When you go through harassment training with VR goggles and headphones on, you feel like you are witnessing harassment happening, live, right in front of you. You’re uncomfortable. You want to do something. The fact is, doing training in virtual reality forces the user to be totally focused unlike any other kind of training I’ve ever done.

– VantagePoint has figured out, as LOD and HR pros we don’t really want to mess around with hardware (VR goggles, etc.). So, part of their strategy is to just bring everything to you, have a person on-site, and take away any pain or frustration that might go along with that side of training. You just have them show up, and they take your employees through the training. (You can also do it on your own if you like)

– The harassment training isn’t just watching this stuff happen on VR. The user also gets calls on a pop-up looking iPhone with a call from HR telling the user what they did right or wrong, etc. If you get something wrong, you get thrown back into the experience to do more work.

– I love that you can measure not only the compliance side of the training, but you can also see who is actually getting it, and who isn’t with the metrics dashboard they’ve developed.

We all know we can and have to do better when it comes to sexual harassment training in our workplaces. Traditional, classroom-style training just doesn’t seem to cut it, because it doesn’t grab the attention of the audience. No matter how well done. VantagePoint has figured out a better delivery tool, and one that will be commonplace in the very near future when it comes to all kinds of training.

The price point is actually less expensive then I thought it would be, and I would think most organizations of every size will be able to afford the VantagePoint VR training. I do think Morgan, and her team, are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to this kind of training in our workplaces. But, great VR content is also labor-intensive to pull off well.

I would definitely recommend a demo, especially if you’re looking for a great alternative to traditional harassment and D&I training. This is training that your employees will definitely remember and pay attention to!

Want Better Work Teams? Hire More Women!

There is a Harvard Business Review study by Professors Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone, in which the researchers studied how team/group diversification would impact overall team intelligence (you can view their explanation of the findings in Defend Your Research: What Makes A Team Smarter? More Women).

Big surprise to all us husbands, they found that teams with more women are smarter!  From the article:

“The standard argument is that diversity is good and you should have both men and women in a group. But so far, the data show the more women, the better.  We have early evidence that performance may flatten out at the extreme end—that there should be a little gender diversity rather than all women.

You do realize you’re saying that groups with women are smarter than groups with men? 

Yes. And you can tell I’m hesitating a little. It’s not that I don’t trust the data. I do. It’s just that part of that finding can be explained by differences in social sensitivity, which we found is also important to group performance. Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do. So what is really important is to have people who are high in social sensitivity, whether they are men or women.” 

So, why didn’t the study find that regardless of women or men, the group with just the smartest 10 people was the smartest group?   Conventional wisdom would say give me the 10 smartest people and I’ll have the smartest team.  Here’s the problem, in almost any example in real life, this doesn’t work out. Take the top 5 scorers in the NBA in any given year, put them on one team, and they’ll almost always get beat by another team that was put together as a “team”.

There are many ingredients that need to come together to make a great team. and yes, intelligence is one, but it takes more than just intelligence, and those other items are why women performed better in this study.  Here are some of the factors that the researchers pointed to why women dominated teams performed better:

  • Communication: women team members tend to listen more to each other
  • Constructive Criticism: women tend to share criticism more constructively than men
  • Open to other ideas: the women had open minds about others’ ideas and theories
  • Authority: the women weren’t as autocratic as their male counterparts

What this study really does is speak more about team dynamics and what makes a team successful than the differences between men and women.  The researchers also found that extreme diversification, i.e., all women or all men teams performed the worst of all so some level of gender diversification is needed for high performance.

Not in a position to fire all of your male employees and hire more women?! Not to worry, the ingredients aren’t secret, but the training of the soft skills needed to be successful might be more work than just “de-manning” your company and moving forward.

Your Job Posting Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree is Discriminatory!

From the world of sports this week in 2019 –

The NCAA (collegiate sports governing body) came out with rules for agents working with college athletes who are underclassman but trying to make a decision to test the NBA waters before graduation. Take a look at what they had to say:

“With this in mind, we benchmarked our new rules against requirements for other organizations that certify agents, like the NBPA, which also requires agents to have a bachelor’s degree. While different and distinct, our rules taken together, which is the manner they were meant to be examined, provide a clear opportunity for our student-athletes to receive excellent advice from knowledgeable professionals on either the college or professional path they choose.”

So, this is being called the “Rich Paul Rule” around the NBA circles. Rich Paul is Lebron James agent, the most famous basketball player on the planet. Rich Paul is a childhood friend of Lebron James, both of them skipped ‘college’ and went directly to the pros! James went and played basketball in the NBA, Paul went and trained as an agent and now has his own sports agency, Klutch, which Lebron happens to be a minority owner.

So, why is this discriminatory?

Rich Paul, like Lebron, grew up black and with little resources. He probably could have gone to college, given the right support system, but when you grow up black and poor, usually access to those support systems are non-existent. Lebron and Rich have had some great success getting young NCAA basketball players to want to sign with them. So, the NCAA makes a rule whereas Paul will not be able to ‘tamper’ with these young men.

Rich Paul, by all accounts, is a successful sports agent for his clients. He’s a very wealthy man, running a very successful business. He’s smart enough to have an army of lawyers, CPAs, etc. surrounding him to ensure his clients have the exact representation they need to be successful in negotiating great contracts.

Rich Paul does not need a bachelors degree. The role of a sports agent does not need a bachelors degree. The NCAA is forcing agents to have a bachelor’s degree if they want to have access to these athletes.

So, let’s get back to HR. We, organizations and HR pros, are pretty much like the NCAA. We often require education for positions where there is no correlation between educational obtainment and success on the job. We do this, like the NCAA, because we are either:

  1. Discriminatory
  2. Lazy
  3. Lazy and Discriminatory

Well, we’ve always hired Account Managers with bachelor’s degrees, so that is why we keep requiring a bachelor’s degree. I would say probably 80% of the positions we hire for in organizations do not need a formal education to do that job, but there will be a formal education requirement on the job description.

Let’s not be stupid and you make comments below about how we definitely want doctors to have degrees. Of course, there are formal educational programs that are critical to success. But there are more jobs that require education where it’s not critical for success. Using education as a screener because you have too many candidates is flat out lazy and you’re probably missing great talent.

Since we know who has and doesn’t have access to higher education, requiring higher education for jobs that don’t really need it, you’re basically saying “we just really don’t want to hire minorities”. The NCAA doesn’t want Rich Paul around “it’s kids”, so they change the rules. The reality is, these are more Rich Paul’s kids than the NCAA’s. At least Rich is upfront with his clients about how he’s making money on them!

 

Words matter! If you want more gender diversity in your applicants!

New data study released by LinkedIn this week titled “Language Matters Gender Diversity Report” has some awesome insight to how the words we use in job descriptions and job postings have a dramatic impact to who actually applies to jobs. We’ve known some of this for a while, but the LinkedIn data is very robust and compelling at a new level.

Some highlights from the report:

– Women are 16% less likely to apply to a job after viewing it than men.

– Research shows that when words like “aggressive” are used in a job description to describe a company’s workplace, 44% of women (and 33% of men) would be discouraged from applying.

– 25% of women would be discouraged from working somewhere described as “demanding”.

– 61% of women associate the term “soft skills” as a female-gender preferred role vs. 52% for men.

– Women are 4 times more likely to want to be perceived as ‘collaborative’ in the workplace.

So, how do you put all of this into practice?

The reality is the words we choose, thinking these words are going to get us the dynamic talent we desire, might actually be hurting our ability to get the dynamic, gender-inclusive talent we desire. There are a number of technologies on the market currently that can help with the wording (Textio is probably the most known).

The data is very clear, the language you use on your job postings and job descriptions will attract or detract certain people from applying. Want to give yourself a chance to get more females to apply, use phrases like “soft skills” or “collaborative” as a desired skill set you’re looking for. Don’t use words like “aggressive” and “demanding” or you’re more likely to get fewer females to apply, and there are a whole host of these types of words.

If you can’t afford the technology that will help you catch this language, I would ask for help from females in your organization (not necessarily in HR) to give you feedback around language and suggestions for things that would get them to be more likely to apply. I find most employees welcome the chance to give TA and HR feedback about our work! 😉

What we know is cutting and pasting the same job description you’ve used since 2004 isn’t working or helping. Most job descriptions, even today, are written in a male-dominated voice that discourages females from applying. It’s very hard to read and see, but the data is screaming at us that it’s a problem that we aren’t paying attention to. We all (male, female, non-binary, etc.) all write in a male-dominated voice because that’s how we’ve been trained to write. That’s what we read. So, it’s natural for us. It’s unnatural for us to change it. Welcome to bias in hiring.

 

You Can Love America and Not be a Racist

I had a big learning recently.

Might seem like a pretty obvious thing for me, but I really didn’t understand how it was shaping my thought process. Politically, right now in our country, we’re a mess.

You can actually love America and being an American, and you’re not a racist.

I wasn’t sure that was possible, but as we (Kris Dunn, Jessica Lee and I) were taping episodes of our podcast, This is HR, I was taken aback at how much Jessica Lee, my Millennial, female, Korean-American, liberal, podcast partner loved America. She is pro-America. She also, like many of us, very against some political forces in our country right now.

I think it’s a great reminder as we set out to celebrate our great country over this 4th of July holiday. We love our country which is why we are fighting so hard to make this country something everyone can look at and appreciate our place in the world.

Too often, currently, I think we are associating “pro-America” with “pro-right” or conservative. This isn’t the case. Pro-America is why so many people are trying to get into this country, because of the opportunity that is here, even with all of the flaws we struggle with and will continue to struggle with.

While we might not agree with those in charge, this great country of ours allows us to vote. Allows us to fund those we do align with. Allows us to protest and march and campaign. Our melting pot is far from perfect. Inclusion causes friction. Different ideas cause friction. Our country was founded on this friction.

I’m more scared of living in a society with no friction. Where we all believe exactly the same thing or we least believe we need to believe the same thing or there will be consequences.

I have friends and family on every side of the political spectrum.  They are good people on all sides. There are bad people on all sides. This is America and I love it.

The First Gay Person I Ever Met. #Pride

June was Pride month and as it wrapped up on Sunday I was loving all the pictures on my social feeds from New York and really all over the world. It really made me think about why I’m an Ally for this community. Where did it all start?

I was in seventh grade when my middle school basketball coach said he had an opportunity for us to jump higher. I’m short and white, so I was totally interested. Turned out, the opportunity was to play volleyball for a boy’s team, the only boy’s team in Michigan. The coach was local to my school district and looking for male athletes.

This coach was also a gay male.

Of course, as a 13-year old boy, I had no idea that he was gay. I went out for the team. Made it, and it really set me off on a path I could never believe. I traveled nationally with this team. I made the best friends from all over the country. I had a mentor in this coach who supported me as a coach, a dad, a friend.

It became apparent very soon to me that playing volleyball on the only all-boys team in Michigan had some advantages and disadvantages. I got used to being called “gay” by ignorant people when we tried to do some fundraising. “Hi, I’m Tim, and we’re fundraising to attend the Junior Olympics to compete in boy’s volleyball! We would love your support!” Boy’s volleyball? What are you gay or something?

It was a strange experience to be called “gay” because I was playing a game that I loved, and that people weren’t used to seeing boys play. To have someone assume because I liked doing this one thing, you could determine my sexuality. I’m like, no I really, really like girls, but still, so you don’t want to support us because you think only ‘girls’ play volleyball and because I’m a boy playing volleyball I must be gay?

I also got used to attending weekend tournaments where our team of 8 boys would be playing in gyms with hundreds of girls! It was a huge advantage for a short, red-headed, goofy teen boy who liked girls! I needed those odds to be in my favor!  

Eventually, my dad had a conversation with me. “You know your coach is gay, right?” By then I got it, but it didn’t matter to me. He was my coach. He just happened to be a gay male. Thankfully, for me, my dad was pretty accepting and could see I loved the experiences I was having.

This coach had a life long positive impact on my life. He was gay. I only say that because I think I was lucky enough to know this and have such a great experience that I grew up believing gay folks are great folks, and some folks are just assholes that judge you based on stupid stuff that has no correlation to anything.

I did grow up understanding that my gay friends face major prejudices and biases walking into life events that I don’t, even though they shouldn’t. We’ve come a long way since I was in seventh grade, but we still have such a long way to go.

I grew up an Ally without even knowing I was an Ally. I looked at those friends and mentors who were gay, not as gay friends and mentors, but as every other friend and mentor, I have in my life. My life is now filled with friends and family from the LGBTQ community and I’m so proud of the bravery these folks show every day. I hope that #Pride had a positive impact on you in June!

Ford Layoffs – “Hey, stay a few days and say your goodbyes!”

A big announcement yesterday over at Ford where 7,000 or so white-collar workers will be getting laid off. For generations of automotive families, this is really anything new. You grow up knowing about once every ten years, the big autos will do some ‘right-sizing’ or reorganizations. The reality is, and other industries are much different, auto industries hire in good times like your drunk Uncle Lou buys drinks at the bar after he cashes his income tax return check!

In good times, there is nothing better than working in the automotive industry. Everyone gets hired for good wages, bonuses are good, and they throw money around like it’s monopoly money. In bad times, they ‘right-size’ and it’s not targeted, it’s pretty much we need to cut 10,000 people, make it happen!

Ford CEO Jim Hacket said this layoff is different, it’s not, but to prove the point he also said this:

He acknowledged saying goodbye to colleagues is “difficult and emotional.”

“We have moved away from past practices in some regions where team members who were separated had to leave immediately with their belongings, instead giving people the choice to stay for a few days to wrap up and say goodbye,” he wrote.

Wow, really!?! Thanks, Jim!

Honestly, though, it is a bit more humane, right? Basically what you say when you walk someone out immediately during a layoff is this:

  • Hey, you no longer have a job but thank you for all those years of your life and discretionary effort you gave!
  • Also, we don’t trust you, so get the hell out, NOW!
  • Also, if you know of any younger workers who can do what you do, but for 30% less, please refer them to us!

Now, I am not saying Ford is laying off older workers and keeping younger workers. That would be slanderous, and I would never say such a thing! You can look at the data for yourself! It is a bit ironic though how white-collar layoffs tend to impact higher paid, more experienced workers. Turns out experience only matters to a certain salary point, then we are mostly the same in terms of productivity and knowledge.

No, Ford is in a very competitive industry and very fast-changing industry, and while all these ‘more experienced’ workers made us a lot of money, we now need to hire a different set of skills for our next generation of products. We no longer need all these mechanical engineers (true) and we need many more electrical and computer engineering skill sets (also true). Also, we probably need less more experienced finance, human resources, marketing, and operations folks as well, for these new more technical products we are creating.

So, back to the actual layoffs. Do you agree with Hackett (no relation, since my name, is “Sackett” with an “S”, and not an “H” but I see the confusion if you’re dumb) on his layoff approach of treating the Ford employees a bit differently and letting them close up shop and not walk them out immediately?

My take:

This should be an individual management decision. Your manager knows if you’re a terrorists or not. If she believes you can act like an adult and not sabotage anything on your way out, she should be able to make that call. If she believes you’re a problem, she should also be able to make that call on walking you out immediately.

I don’t believe this should be an all or nothing approach. I’ve seen people who have done some very bad things when given the chance to ‘pack up shop” on their way out. When you take the livelihood way from a person, you really don’t know how they’ll react. Some will become desperate and take anything they can get, staplers, information, etc.

Most, the vast majority, will be sad and grieve but also be able to handle this news in a respectful manner, knowing they’ll probably need that manager reference to land their next spot.

Layoffs suck, even when done for the best reasons to save the jobs of thousands of others. They just suck. I feel awful for those Ford employees having to go through this, just as I did for the GM employees who had to go through this at the end of last year. Organizations are living, breathing things, and as such, tend to make the same mistakes as well do in good times and bad.

 

Career Confessions from Gen Z: Texas Tops List for Women Entrepreneurship!!

Did you know that, currently, there are more CEOs named “John” than all women CEOs combined? But fear not! There is hope on the horizon. Texas has recently been named the best state for women entrepreneurs based on several scoring categories.  All your exes live in Texas, and they might be entrepreneurs!

When I first saw the rankings, I expected to see New York and California at the top of the list, yet neither of those states was even in the top three! So, how did our great Lone Star State receive the number one spot? The rankings were measured by the following factors: general business climate, opportunity for women in business, economic and financial health, and livability for women. Not only did Texas score the highest average on these factors, but thanks to Texas’ generally low cost of living, paired up with exponential startup growth, Texas beat out New York and California (Focus).  Additionally, Texas has a progressive political climate in its capital and no corporate income tax.

While this is great news, it also opens the conversation of how we can improve the climate for women in business even more. Women in business, whether they live in Texas or Maine still face challenges. For instance, did you know that on average, women receive 45% less capital than men when applying for business loans? (fitsmallbusiness.com) Consider this, of all the investing decisions from venture capitalist firms, 94% of these decisions were made by men- one of whom probably is named John. So, while the business environment for women is improving, we still depend mainly on men to invest in our ideas and pursuits.

Recently, I attended a presentation hosted by Suzi Sosa, co-founder, and CEO of Verb Inc., a leadership software company. In her presentation, Ms. Sosa discussed her struggles as a woman in the business world. She told us when she was looking for funding for her company, her mentor suggested she change her hair, put more makeup on, and dress more “femininely”. She also disclosed that several married men who invested in her company propositioned her romantically afterward. She told us she felt pressured to change the way she looked and acted in order to “fit in” to man’s perception of business. In response to this, Sosa brought to light the fact that women need to help each other out more in order to shift this perception.  Sosa described her attempts to find new investors through her female connections in the Austin area, all of whom politely declined for fear it might make them look unprofessional in their respective business circles.

To clarify, I am not writing this as an attack on men, quite the contrary. I am writing this as a call to action to women. The business climate is changing for us, and for the better. However, if we truly want to be on par with men, we need to start by being more confident in our own abilities.

As a junior in college, I have started to notice not only fewer women in my classes but also less participation from them; we don’t ask as many questions and we don’t give our input as much as our male peers do. College should be a healthy environment for women to learn to trust their business guts and to question the status quo. But, whatever the reason might be, we as women are less participative in business classes, which then transfers into the greater business world. While this may sound like a bit of a bummer, the good news is we have the power to change it. It is time that we, as women in business, start speaking up, ask more questions, and learn to trust our guts.

The climate is shifting in our favor, and self-confidence is key. However, self-confidence alone is not enough for us to break through the glass ceiling. It seems that women in business are continually pitted against each rather than encouraged to help one another. If we want to be seen as true equals in the business sphere, we need to invest in each others’ ventures, bring fresh faces into our business circles, and not be afraid to advocate for our own ideas. I’m grateful for Texas and its opportunities for women in business, but there’s always room for improvement and for more women CEOs.


Elena Moeller is currently junior at the St. Edward’s University and Intern of all trades for Proactive Talent in Austin, Texas. Being born and raised in Minnesota I grew up playing hockey, riding snowmobiles, and fishing. One thing you should know about me is that I have never been labeled as shy- I live for getting to know new people and learning new things. This has enabled me to travel the world, become fluent in Spanish, and live in Milan, Italy where I learned a bit of Italian! I find I am happiest at work when I am able to spark my creativity and create something that is useful for our company but is also an entertaining read.

It’s International Women’s Day! Is Your CEO Female? #ReferHer #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019

6% of CEOs in the S&P 100 are female. 50.8% of the population is female.

I’m not super at math, but that seems like a disconnect, right?

Today is International Women’s Day and a young lady (Tatiana Hollander-Ho) reached out to me this week. She’s an entry level marketing pro for The Ladders, 2018 grad from NYU and she said, “Hey, you have a passion around women in the workplace and I want to get this #ReferHer going and make a difference. Can you help?” (FYI – go connect with her – she’s going to be a great one in our industry!)

I can do what I do, which is write about and socialize it and support it! #ReferHer is an awesome idea. We need to refer more women to leadership positions, period.

I’m not one of these dudes who just goes out and flies the female flag because it’s the politically correct thing to do. I’m also not one that buys into the bullshit studies that say “Female CEOs return better financial returns!” – those are bad studies with flawed data – you can’t run a regression on companies run by women and the financial performance and call that good data.

There might be a correlation, but there is absolutely no causation. If you believe in those studies, you also believe in the study that says if your name is Mike and you’re over six foot and you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you will have higher financial returns than anyone else, not named Mike. Those two studies say the exact same thing.

That’s the problem, right!? You see it, right!? You can’t just throw out garbage and expect smart people not to get it and just blindly support females. The opposite actually happens. Smart people see that and go, that’s not what that says, so now I don’t buy any of it. Smart people – both women and men.

I’ve worked for great women. Strong women who are great leaders. These women, in my opinion, had many traits that most of the male leaders I’ve worked for didn’t have. In most cases, these traits made them leaders employees wanted to follow, not forced to follow.

We have this awful bias that says white dudes over six feet make better leaders. It’s literally been drilled into us for 100 years. Look at the Presidents all the way up to Obama and after. White dudes over six foot have nothing buy stature. We are betting that the trait of stature is the most important thing for running a high functioning organization. It’s insanity, right?

The reality is we can solve this. We can. Not overnight, but little by little.

It starts with flooding your leadership ranks with women. That means we have to give opportunities to women to move into leadership in ways we haven’t before. We have to develop Women Leadership Councils in our organizations who can tap on the shoulders of female employees and invite them in and mentor them into leadership roles. We have to purposeful about doing this. It won’t happen organically, we’ve been waiting for a hundred years for it to happen organically.

So, how do you start?

It’s super simple!

Step 1 – Tell your c-suite you are starting a Women’s Leadership Council in your organization and you need their support. 100% will give their support because if they don’t the backlash would be tremendous.

Step 2– Be inclusive, not exclusive. If a woman in your organization shows any sign of potential leadership you pull them into your council.

Step 3– Focus on hard leadership skills, not soft skills. Give them the inside information around how the company makes money or doesn’t make money. Show them how to budget and write a budget. Teach them how to performance manage. Show them how to balance themselves for great success. Show them how to support each other in this drive upward.

Step 4 – Make your C-suite come, present, participate, and watch. They need to see your smart females in action.

Step 5 – Draft your high potential leader internal mobility charts and scoreboard it publicly within the c-suite. Tell them the minimum goal is 50/50. Show it to them monthly.

Step 6 – Make female leadership goals/hires part of your c-suite annual bonus. At least 30%.

It can be done. This isn’t hard. But it has to be purposeful.

Check out LinkedIn’s Gender Insights Report as well it’s loaded with great information on helping solve this problem!