3 Uncommon Practices to Crack the Glass Ceiling

by Dec 5, 20133Plus, Culture, EDITORIAL, Leadership

Despite the variety and success of corporate programs aimed at advancing women (Deloitte, General Electric, Procter and Gamble, American Express) the number of women in top leadership roles remains relatively unchanged. While we see more women at lower and mid-levels of corporate pyramids, the cliff, where numbers fall to single digits and often to zero, remains firmly in place.

To Crack the Glass Ceiling, Go from Best Practices to Uncommon Practices

Cracking the glass ceiling requires culture change. Culture change requires thinking differently.

“You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” Albert Einstein

The culture that led to the glass ceiling won’t produce the change in thinking required to crack the glass ceiling. Best practices emerge from current thinking. They’re simply the best of how we think today. To go beyond the cliff we need to think differently. Thinking differently leads to new and uncommon practices. Cracking the glass ceiling calls for such uncommon practices.

3 Uncommon Practices That Crack the Glass Ceiling

Practice #1

Aim for three women on high level leadership teams where important decisions are made

Crack the Glass Ceiling

Crack the Glass Ceiling

 

Why three? The lone woman – or any lone minority – rarely changes the prevailing culture. Almost all lone women share the experience of speaking up during group discussions and being ignored, overridden, or dismissed. Within minutes a man makes the same point and the idea flies with him as the pilot. This dynamic repeats itself until the lone woman becomes less active and less invested. It’s death by a thousand paper cuts. As her will to speak up diminishes, so goes the opportunity for culture change.

Practice #2

First women – 5 steps to success

We simply have to lean into the current reality that first women must excel to be seen as competent, so select and groom an A+ player. She must also be a trail blazer, courageous, self-confident and resilient. This next one cannot be emphasized enough. She has to read the human/political landscape and respond with flexibility, while keeping the end goal in mind. (Read twice)

Follow these five rules to provide the solid support she needs inside and outside the company.

  1. Include sponsors and internal/external mentors, as part of her success team. Add a coach.
  2. Hold her manager and team-mates accountable for her success to ensure they provide vital support and feedback. She’ll fail without it.
  3. Set clear expectations that first woman, her manager and team-mates will explore and utilize differences in thinking, perspectives, values, and leadership styles to create value for the organization.
  4. Provide access to experts in change management, human dynamics, and gender diversity
  5. Establish a formal group of all the first women as a mechanism for support between and among these trail blazers. Invite other members of her support team to meet with this group to speed culture change by way of common goals and shared experiences

Practice # 3

Rapid Road to Readiness for High Potential Women

Use fast track approaches to prepare women for top leadership roles. A study by Steve Wolff, DBA*, the Hay Group, found that assigning high potential candidates to assist executives created a faster road to success for senior leadership roles. Intel uses a similar model. By working alongside the right senior executive, a high potential woman becomes familiar with important issues and the rules of play. She participates in group discussions, briefs the executive, prepares documents, presentations, and serves on important decision making teams. She also develops the relationships with people who will be critical to her success.

These 3 practices create change at the individual, team and organizational levels simultaneously. First women, sponsors, managers and team members increase their capacity to work with and gain from diversity. They remove impediments to culture change and are highly visible role models. The effect cascades through the organization and the critical path to success for second women is faster and smoother. In addition, the first women are ready-made sponsors and mentors for the women who are next in line.

*Steve Wolff, DBA. The Coming Leadership Gap. Presentation to New England Society for Applied Psychology. Waltham, MA. March 7, 2010

Please share your uncommon practices. Together we can do this!!

 

A previous version of this post appeared on Germane Insights

Dr. Anne Perschel Subscriber
Guest contributor
follow me

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services

Individual services

Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.

Corporate services

The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)

Upcoming events

Book Now

Career Management Basics for Strugglers and Jugglers

June 15th  Learn how to identify your transferable skills

June 22nd  Build a strong network

June 29th Raise your visibility

 

If you would like to join the live recording of these sessions please contact [email protected] for the Zoom Link

 

Dates for the Diary

June 10th - Corporate Workshop: Build your Personal Board of Directors

 

We have Remote Learning Programs available 

Check out our exciting portfolio of offerings to support your business in upskilling and competence building for your teams, to address the unprecedented challenges that women face in this new totally a digital world.

Download and listen free podcasts

Related articles

5 signs of a high EQ

5 signs of a high EQ

Research shows a link between emotional intelligence and career success.  It’s not a natural talent as people quite often believe but it can be improved with practice so here are 5 signs of a high EQ

read more
Building diversity and inclusion in corporate partnerships

Building diversity and inclusion in corporate partnerships

Delphine Lescole launched a short survey to collect corporate businesses’ impressions, and explore more specifically the subject of Diversity and Inclusion corporate partnerships in cultural organisations. She is targeting specifically working members of companies using corporate sponsorship as a promotional tool.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
3 Plus International Call Back Request