How is it that $8 billion a year gets thrown at diversity training and yet next-to-nothing changes? One person who isn’t giving up is Sue Unerman, who along with her co-authors Kathryn Jacob and Mark Edwards favors a full array of changes that can improve the degree to which women get represented in the ranks of senior management at companies. The scope of this episode is broad: from how meetings are run, to how teams are built, and of course who gets promoted and receives how much in compensation. A particular focus is detrimental “banter” that’s hardly as light-hearted as it’s claimed to be. Add to that the Glass Slipper problem of people trying to fit into a corporate culture that should, instead, be blown wide-open and allow everyone to thrive, and all-in-all you get a sense of just how committed Unerman is when it comes to the interlocking topics of gender, fairness, and reform.
Greater social inclusivity can, at times, seem to take forever. It wasn’t until 1967, for instance, that bans on interracial marriages were finally declared unconstitutional in America. How appalling that such a hallmark of diversity would have taken so long. And yet a decade earlier, a mere 4% of surveyed Americans were in support of interracial marriages, a number that today stands at 87% approval. Clearly, progress has been made in a country whose citizens are often multiracial as well as in interracial marriages and relationships. How can the momentum for accepting people as they are be sustained in these divisive times? Soo Bong Peer’s suggestions are of both a personal and systemic nature, ranging from practicing greater empathy to having leaders dialogue more often with employees distinctly different in backgrounds, experiences and perspectives from themselves. One specific idea Peer suggests is that rather than lecture-style, lunch-n-learn sessions at company headquarters, why not try for Friday “movie lunches” instead! She cites as inspiration long-time movie critic Roger Ebert and his remark that “movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” If seeing is believing, then getting executives, managers and employees at large to see on screen lives lived in circumstances far different from their own might help enable a warmer, more inclusive spirit in corporate America.
Soo Bong Peer is a strategy consultant and executive coach for Fortune 500 companies. The daughter of a prominent South Korean general and ambassador to Mexico, she has lived in multiple countries, including the U.S. for the past 50 years.
There are so many sayings that involve the face, but perhaps none is more central to Asian culture than “saving face.” That’s because it represents retaining one’s dignity versus being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. In truth, though, everyone wants nothing more than to be appreciated, as the psychologist William James recognized long ago. In this episode, Maya Hu-Chan puts “faces” into a business context for listeners. In a meeting between Western and Eastern executives, for instance, how will a long silence be handled? Odds are that Americans will jump in first, breaking the silence. Given more than 20 years of international business experience, Hu-Chan takes listeners through why regional, company and individual personality differences matter so much. Are you a high-context or low-context person? It’s time to find out by taking in this episode that involves the platinum rule, i.e., treating others they way they wanted to be treated.
Maya Hu-Chan is the founder and president of Global Leadership Associates and the co-author of Global Leadership: The Next Generation. She’s trained and coached leaders from Fortune 500 companies to non-profits around the world.
The correct answer is B. As recounted in Angelica Malin’s new book, in which a study of the largest 250 companies on the London Stock Exchange found that companies with more than one third of women in their executive committees enjoyed a profit margin greater than ten times higher. Most times, money talks – or to quote Bob Dylan: “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” So . . . why in the world haven’t more companies pursued a policy of adding more female executives? Is it possible that (white) male leaders are choosing their own comfort level over what would aid the company? Is it possible they are simply unwilling to share the “reins of power” out of fears of being replaced? One’s head spins given all the interpretative possibilities of such a stark, startling statistic. Malin’s book is nothing if not a call for more female entrepreneurship, more empowerment, more determination than ever to break through. No wonder the book is dedicated in part to Taylor Swift.
Angelica Malin is the Editor-in-Chief of About Time Magazine and she’s the UK’s rising voice for championing women founders and entrepreneurs. She’s appeared on BBC News and LBC Business Hour and has been featured in The Telegraph, Forbes, and Real Business.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is A because to change a habit you need to make it easy. Figure out which elements stand in the way, typically either time, money, physical effort, mental effort, or an unproductive routine. Find a weak link in what author BJ Fogg calls the Ability Chain, and you’ve found a way to break-through. Fogg has been in the business of helping people and companies change habits for a decade now and has a wonderful array of terminology and sayings. “Emotions create habits” is one of them. Another is “Decision and habit are opposites.” Still another is “Celebration is habit fertilizer.” Perhaps most important of all is “Simplicity changes behavior.” Give this episode a try, on behalf of making your listening to my podcast series one of your new habits!
BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He teaches industry innovators and created the Tiny Habits Academy to help people around the world. He lives in Northern California and Maui.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is supposedly C), 30%. At least that’s what Jim Detert has concluded from participants completing the survey that underlies his Workplace Courage Acts Index. In that survey, the questions involve whether one dares challenge an authority figure—defined defined as a manager or a leader one rank or more above your supervisor. A challenge could be regarding a strategic or operating policy; inappropriate behavior; or unethical, even illegal behavior. At the policy level, the percentage of courage nears 40% (managers are easier than leaders to challenge). But when it comes to personal behavior, being a good diplomat is crucial to ensure your career doesn’t get beheaded. Detert’s best advice for how to speak truth to power and survive to tell the tale? Have a solution in mind. Be specific and also be seen as an advocate for growth or improvement, as opposed to merely shaming the other party. Another hint: it helps if you’ve built up your personal brand equity by demonstrating warmth and competency leading up to the moment when you dare to step up.
Jim Detert is the John L. Colley Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He’s won multiple awards for his teaching and curriculum development at both UVA and Cornell University.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is all of the above, A through C. It’s a trick question because advancing as well as protecting one’s career is a tricky proposition. It’s tempting to say A, competency, is the single most important quality to possess. After all, what’s more fundamental than can you do the job well? And yet, as a university department chair said to me in an interview years ago: “We know you’ll publish and be good in the classroom. What we want to know is can we stand to go to lunch with you for the next 20 or more years?” So in lots of ways, B, compatibility, can you get along with others, proves more decisive in one’s career. Finally, don’t underestimate option C, commitment. Sure, on day one you want to do the job well and get along with others. After three to five years into the job, however, when you’ve been disappointed by sundry developments within your department, can you still summon the energy to care? It’s hard to fake being excited to be there. They give Oscars in Hollywood for playing a role, but you may not be an A-list actor day in and day out.
Released today: episode #62 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Gorick Ng discussing The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right. Click here to get to the new episode.
Gorick Ng is a career adviser at Harvard College. He’s also managed new employees at the Boston Consulting Group, worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse, and been a researcher with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School. Gorick’s book has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNBC, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.