It's time for Women to Partner with Men for Value Creation
Some people think I have a "thing" about heart, because I was born on Valentine's Day. Most of us know that the heart is easily associated with love, romance, Valentine's Day. Many people forget what I have been on the fast track to learn, heart implies courage. In fact, the French word for "heart" is le coeur, which means "courage." Leading change takes that kind of courage. It is courage that comes from the heart.
Being a women in today's workforce takes courage. And yes, I will readily admit anyone living today - man, woman or child- needs courage. Yet it is becoming common knowledge that the decisions women have to make regarding going to work, take extreme measures and the constant pressure of making difficult decisions.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook has been on the speaking circuit. More recently, Sheryl presented at TED and asked the question, Why women are dropping out of the workforce." This takes real courage. Sheryl has formulate a message that is quite remarkable for an c-level executive in business creating new markets; in a new like the burst and bubble created by Amazon and Google.
One of the questions that Sherly asks in the talk is, "What can we do as individuals to keep women from dropping out? The numbers are clear right now. Women only retain leadership positions in
- As heads of state; there are 9 females out of a total of 109 heads of state.
- As elected officials of parliaments at a rate of 13%;
- As C-level leaders or Board of Directors in Corporations at 15-16%
- In non-profits at 20%
These figures have not changed since 2000 and they are going in the wrong direction.
Sheryl also describes why for women it comes down to what I feel is a form of great courage that is involved in waking up each day and making difficult decisions.The fact of the matter is that now more than ever, women need to earn and in a form of "right livelihood," that supports them long term to assure their health, sustainability, professional credentialling and retirement, whether married or not married. But the context of helping a woman to be more successful in the workplace is often left to HR policies and procedures that are important, but not sufficient. Most of the times they don't address very systemic issues.
For example, you can get a generous amount of time off for doctors appointments and visits to your child's school, but doctors and schools don't very often conduct themselves with a rationale for what it means to be working and care for children. Frequently you hear academics and medical professionals, say that a parent is not doing enough.
Yet in Harlem, where there is now a leading mentoring program for youth designed and implemented; every mentor is taught that each child has a parent working 2-3 jobs just to keep a family with a roof over their head. This is an economic and systemic issue; not enough jobs, not enough education for parents to get reasonable paid wages and too many people working in environments where they are treated like indentured servants. I have worked in a few contract consulting settings with top firms and been treated that way.
Elaine Cohen, @elainecohen as author of CSRforHR, has taken the lead to describe that in her book and the implications and power that Human Resources has in any structure to impact these important organization HR activities.
However, my work in examining sustainable health and the building of the Thought Leadership for AboutWorkEcology --- goes into a more strategic layer of work that requires learning and the intersection of combining brilliant minds with sweet heart drawn from government, industry and non-governmental organizations.
The economic crisis we find ourselves in globally, now implies that people in small thoughtful groups lead change and author "stories of meaningful use.' So while I continue my research and writing and everything else I do, I discovered that in addition to Sheryl Sandberg, I could bring my heart to Facebook and build a community who wants to learn from authoring with me the Story of Meaningful Use, which is the name of my Facebook Group. So now I offer two invitations here,
Sometime in the late 80's, I contributed a chapter to George Simons book, Transcultural Leadership. While I contributed as senior editor to the design of a strong message for market; my contribution from a contributing author was based on this question: What is now implied by women enterring the workforce rapidly? What was not being addressed that went beyond issues of Mars versus Venus.
What was going to happen at home, to children, the earlier traditions of caregiving. How was the cost of going to work going to effect family budgets. Little did I know at that time, the real issue would grow into an economic disparity issue; as downsizing accelerated, hence fewer jobs, the newhousehold tradition would reshape into reliance on two income and everything else this implied.
I had no idea at that time my own journey as a single parent would require me to find the courage to make the continuous decisions about my life relative to others I loved and worked with that were difficult and sometimes unkind.
LIttle did I know my life lesson lesson would include becoming that kind of person; the person who had to use their heart everyday to find courage. Getting down to business for me is now about organizing my work, shaping my learning activities to focus on how to accelerate sustainable economic change. so that the way people work can sustain them to care for others who may take ill or grow old. Most important the way we work needs to shpae into assuring our childrencan learn to sustain emotionally and economically while growing up and learn the habits of healthy living.
Take a minute to sign on to my FB page, The Story of Meaningful Use FB page. If you are linked in anways to Sheryl Sandberg, to send her this post as my invitation to her to write the preface for my book. My book speaks to the need for change, the changes that have already occurred and the changes forming to build a sustainable world of work and health that grows of societal scale so people can work wisely to live well. It offers the values that underscore this change, how value creation can occur and most important where value can be created as a step toward building a sustainable economy.
I am doing my best right now with people I work with and collaborate with to shape a series of business books that convey that foundation of values, the value creation emerging and more important show that business can make money, do good and be kind so more people can sustain and we end this nightmare that Hazel Henderson so aptly describes as The Money Fix.
in her 2011 predictions,outlined the agenda this implies for sustainability, when she wrote on Fast Company's blog,
"The bottom line is that the world of empire, entitlement, and should is over. Going forward, more and more companies will engage in CSR--not because they should, but when it's in the best interests of the company and its shareholders to invest in the environment so that the company has renewable resources to manufacture its goods in the future; foster economic development to ensure that workers and customers will thrive in robust communities; provide workplace safety, education, and health care to ensure that it has a capable and productive workforce; improve communities where the company has a presence in order to foster government and public relations; deal fairly with indigenous people in order to access natural and renewable resources that the company needs for its products; and build its reputation among customers and stakeholders by respecting society's expectations with regard to the environment, human rights, and corporate ethics."
Alice provided a perspective in a long run on sentence. I am famous myself for writing sentences like this. Women like Alice and me, have a lot to say that we have created the audience for. Alice articulation of her view and business case always reflect good care and thought. Another activiyt of the heart.
This ambitious agenda is similar in value to what Sheryl Sandberg is speaking about. Sheryl also, states that it is probably that will not be carried out in full by our generation of leaders. I have felt that way for quite some time. And recently, I adopted a new attitude that I am asking on, I am developing a concrete foundation on which this change can occur and will occur.
In fact, I am doing more than my best to make this happen. In fact, I am doing what Sheryl advises women, I am forming partnerships with numerous men , primarily thought and practice leaders under 50, who want to work and be responsive to their families. Slowly and thoughtfully, I will identify these men in future posts.
Yesterday, one of them spent one and 1/2 hours with me yesterday doing more than any book agent can do, by getting me ready to give him a book table of contents and market plan that he can bring to editors in major publishers he knows. In fact, this conversation led to this post.
With this man and one other prospective partner, we are brainstorming how to build a virtual center of knoweldge exchange and insight that will also empower this change based on my formulation and their wonderful input. Stay tuned.....I believe at this time, my focus and perseverance is bringing me to something good.
I am becoming more efficient in my communications and with my heart, insuring I partner with people who are ready to act. The ideas in the blogsphere are numerous and the stories many. My forte is for leading change, building capacity and shaping the learning from which people can learn to know and act.
I look forward to having contact with you, if you are this kind of person. My plan is with all I doto build a foundation with partners that will stand with or without me; and I am going to do just that.