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  • Women represent 50 percent of middle management and professional positions,

  • but the percentages of women at the top of organizations represent not even a third of that number.

  • So some people hear that statistic and they ask, why do we have so few women leaders?

  • But I look at that statistic and, if you, like me,

  • believe that leadership manifests at every level,

  • you would see that there's a tremendous, awesome resource of leaders who are leading in middle management,

  • which raises a different question: Why are there so many women mired in the middle

  • and what has to happen to take them to the top?

  • So some of you might be some of those women who are in middle management and seeking to move up in your organization.

  • Well, Tonya is a great example of one of these women.

  • I met her two years ago. She was a vice president in a Fortune 50 company,

  • and she said to me with a sense of deep frustration,

  • "I've worked really hard to improve my confidence and my assertiveness and develop a great brand,

  • I get terrific performance evals from my boss, my 360s in the organization let me know that my teams love working for me,

  • I've taken every management course that I can here,

  • I am working with a terrific mentor, and yet I've been passed over twice for advancement opportunities,

  • even when my manager knows that I'm committed to moving up and even interested in an international assignment.

  • I don't understand why I'm being passed over."

  • So what Tonya doesn't realize is that there's a missing 33 percent of the career success equation for women,

  • and it's understanding what this missing 33 percent is that's required to close the gender gap at the top.

  • In order to move up in organizations, you have to be known for your leadership skills,

  • and this would apply to any of you, women or men.

  • It means that you have to be recognized for using the greatness in you to achieve

  • and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.

  • Put in other language, it means you have to use your skills and talents and abilities

  • to help the organization achieve its strategic financial goals

  • and do that by working effectively with others inside of the organization and outside.

  • And although all three of these elements of leadership are important,

  • when it comes to moving up in organizations, they aren't equally important.

  • So pay attention to the green box as I move forward.

  • In seeking and identifying employees with high potential,

  • the potential to go to the top of organizations,

  • the skills and competencies that relate to that green box are rated twice as heavily as those in the other two elements of leadership.

  • These skills and competencies can be summarized as business, strategic, and financial acumen.

  • In other words, this skill set has to do with understanding where the organization is going,

  • what its strategy is, what financial targets it has in place,

  • and understanding your role in moving the organization forward.

  • This is that missing 33 percent of the career success equation for women,

  • not because it's missing in our capabilities or abilities,

  • but because it's missing in the advice that we're given.

  • Here's what I mean by that.

  • Five years ago, I was asked to moderate a panel of executives,

  • and the topic for the evening was "What do you look for in high-potential employees?"

  • So think about the three elements of leadership as I summarize for you what they told me.

  • They said, "We look for people who are smart and hard working and committed and trustworthy and resilient."

  • So which element of leadership does that relate to? Personal greatness.

  • They said, "We look for employees who are great with our customers,

  • who empower their teams, who negotiate effectively,

  • who are able to manage conflict well, and are overall great communicators."

  • Which element of leadership does that equate to?

  • Engaging the greatness in others.

  • And then they pretty much stopped.

  • So I asked, "Well, what about people who understand your business, where it's going,

  • and their role in taking it there? And what about people who are able to scan the external environment,

  • identify risks and opportunities, make strategy or make strategic recommendations?

  • And what about people who are able to look at the financials of your business,

  • understand the story that the financials tell, and either take appropriate action or make appropriate recommendations?"

  • And to a man, they said, "That's a given."

  • So I turned to the audience of 150 women and I asked,

  • "How many of you have ever been told that the door-opener for career advancement is your business,

  • strategic and financial acumen, and that all the other important stuff is what differentiates you in the talent pool?"

  • Three women raised their hand, and I've asked this question of women all around the globe in the five years since,

  • and the percentage is never much different.

  • So this is obvious, right? But how can it be?

  • Well, there are primarily three reasons that there's this missing 33 percent in the career success advice given to women?

  • When organizations direct women toward resources

  • that focus on the conventional advice that we've been hearing for over 40 years,

  • there's a notable absence of advice that relates to business, strategic and financial acumen.

  • Much of the advice is emphasizing personal actions that we need to take,

  • like become more assertive, become more confident, develop your personal brand,

  • things that Tonya's been working on, and advice about working with other people,

  • things like learn to self-promote, get a mentor, enhance your network,

  • and virtually nothing said about the importance of business, strategic and financial acumen.

  • This doesn't mean that this advice is unimportant.

  • What it means is that this is advice that's absolutely essential for breaking through from career start to middle management,

  • but it's not the advice that gets women to break through from the middle,

  • where we're 50 percent, to senior and executive positions.

  • And this is why conventional advice to women in 40 years hasn't closed the gender gap at the top and won't close it.

  • Now, the second reason relates to Tonya's comments about having had excellent performance evals,

  • great feedback from her teams, and having taken every management training program she can lay her hands on.

  • So you would think that she's getting messages from her organization through the talent development systems

  • and performance management systems that let her know how important it is to develop business,

  • strategic and financial acumen, but here again, that green square is quite small.

  • On average, talent and performance management systems in the organizations that I've worked with

  • focus three to one on the other two elements of leadership compared to the importance of business,

  • strategic and financial acumen, which is why typical talent and performance systems haven't closed and won't close the gender gap at the top.

  • Now, Tonya also talked about working with a mentor,

  • and this is really important to talk about, because if organizations,

  • talent and performance systems aren't giving people in general information about the importance of business,

  • strategic and financial acumen, how are men getting to the top?

  • Well, there are primarily two ways. One is because of the positions they're guided into,

  • and the other is because of informal mentoring and sponsorship.

  • So what's women's experience as it relates to mentoring?

  • Well, this comment from an executive that I worked with recently illustrates that experience.

  • He was very proud of the fact that last year, he had two protégés: a man and a woman.

  • And he said, "I helped the woman build confidence, I helped the man learn the business,

  • and I didn't realize that I was treating them any differently." And he was sincere about that.

  • So what this illustrates is that as managers, whether we're women or men,

  • we have mindsets about women and men, about careers in leadership,

  • and these unexamined mindsets won't close the gender gap at the top.

  • So how do we take this idea of the missing 33 percent and turn it into action?

  • Well, for women, the answer is obvious:

  • we have to begin to focus more on developing and demonstrating the skills we have

  • that show that we're people who understand our businesses, where they're headed, and our role in taking it there.

  • That's what enables that breakthrough from middle management to leadership at the top.

  • But you don't have to be a middle manager to do this.

  • One young scientist that works in a biotech firm used her insight about the missing 33 percent

  • to weave financial impact data into a project update she did

  • and got tremendous positive feedback from the managers in the room.

  • So we don't want to put 100 percent of the responsibility on women's shoulders,

  • nor would it be wise to do so, and here's why: In order for companies to achieve their strategic financial goals,

  • executives understand that they have to have everyone pulling in the same direction.

  • In other words, the term we use in business is, we have to have strategic alignment.

  • And executives know this very well, and yet only 37 percent, according to a recent Conference Board report,

  • believe that they have that strategic alignment in place.

  • So for 63 percent of organizations, achieving their strategic financial goals is questionable.

  • And if you think about what I've just shared,

  • that you have situations where at least 50 percent of your middle managers

  • haven't received clear messaging that they have to become focused on the business,

  • where it's headed, and their role in taking it there,

  • it's not surprising that that percentage of executives who are confident about alignment is so low,

  • which is why there are other people who have a role to play in this.

  • It's important for directors on boards to expect from their executives proportional pools of women

  • when they sit down once a year for their succession discussions.

  • Why? Because if they aren't seeing that, it could be a red flag that their organization isn't as aligned as it could potentially be.

  • It's important for CEOs to also expect these proportional pools, and if they hear comments like,

  • "Well, she doesn't have enough business experience," ask the question, "What are we going to do about that?"

  • It's important for H.R. executives to make sure that the missing 33 percent is appropriately emphasized,

  • and it's important for women and men who are in management positions

  • to examine the mindsets we hold about women and men,

  • about careers and success, to make sure we are creating a level playing field for everybody.

  • So let me close with the latest chapter in Tonya's story.

  • Tonya emailed me two months ago, and she said that she had been interviewed for a new position, and during the interview,

  • they probed about her business acumen and her strategic insights into the industry,

  • and she said that she was so happy to report that

  • now she has a new position reporting directly to the chief information officer at her company.

  • So for some of you, the missing 33 percent is an idea for you to put into action, and I hope that for all of you,

  • you will see it as an idea worth spreading in order to help organizations be more effective,

  • to help women create careers that soar, and to help close the gender gap at the top.

  • Thank you.

Women represent 50 percent of middle management and professional positions,

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TED】スザンコランチュオノ。あなたがおそらく得られなかったキャリアアドバイス (【TED】Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get)

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    Go Tutor に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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