It has been a hectic but exciting fall packed with travel and speaking engagements at executive forums and conferences nationwide. At these events, I've continued to explore with companies this perennial question: "How do we attract, retain, and advance women leaders?"
My most recent talk engaged top executives from Fortune 500 organizations who are responsible for talent development, or play a key role in talent recruitment while running a significant part of their organization. Most if not all of these well-known organizations have invested significantly in their high-potential women and have developed programs to support women leaders.
Yet disappointingly, the majority of these executives shared with me that all the hard work and investment in these promising initiatives has not resulted in the desired progress. They were well aware that the primary goal of these programs is to help facilitate and grow the next generation of corporate leadership, of which women are a key component. Yet despite their best intentions, something was clearly not working, and they could not pinpoint the confounding issues despite their investment in their top women.
Common Problems, First-Level Solutions
We've all heard the problems before, so I'll just briefly touch on what's becoming obvious now to executives across the board (and on the board)--as well as provide some first-level solutions. However, I want to emphasize that as stand-alone strategies, none of these suggestions on its own is powerful enough to break through the corporate glass ceiling or help women get off of the "sticky floor":
- Problem: Our society and most corporate cultures are still hard-wired with the traditional biases and assumptions that put men and women in separate boxes--as opposed to one common box--when it comes to exploring potential leadership greatness.
In my next post, we'll explore a strategy that incorporates this entire "ecosystem" to reach better results than any of these individual components can achieve alone.
To find out how organizations can eliminate outdated assumptions and move towards true cultural transformation, visit www.shambaughleadership.com. A SHAMBAUGH consultant can help your company take a deeper dive on this critical issue.