Personal Commitment is Always the Only Way to Drive Change

This article, about how EBay is making recruitment, retention, and promotion of women a strategic priority, is interesting once you get past the jargon, it illustrates a couple of points well:

  • personal commitment is the best, perhaps the only way, to drive change. Which means telling a personal, credible story about your own motivation. Which means being vulnerable, and that’s scary.
  • finding, keeping, and promoting the best available talent, no matter what the source and no matter what the size of your company, is a strategic advantage that raises the game for everybody
  • being a good ally means putting somebody else’s interests above your own with no expectation of reward
  • measurement and culture (how people treat each other) trumps policy and process
  • it’s also a good example of having one priority at a time (promoting women not the first thing the CEO John Donahoe tackled)

The only thing I’d add (and maybe they’re doing it already) from my experience in mentoring is finding a way for women to mentor each other. The best way to inspire somebody is for them to imagine they can do what you did.

In this case that means women mentoring women. And besides, mentoring is a great way to develop  leadership skills, identify those that can lead (because they mentor), and fill the leadership pipeline with people that know how to develop other leaders.

Just a suggestion, John, if you’re reading this…



Women in the Work Force – Two Phrases, One Decision

If my daughters were interested in becoming professional women working in the corporate world, there are two phrases I would invite them to commit to memory:

“I’ve already said that.”, and

“Please stop talking over top of me.” or “Please stop interrupting me.”

…and if you’re a man in a leadership position, you should probably watch out for this type of behaviour in yourself or others on your team. It’s this minute by minute diminution (stealing their words, interrupting them) of women (or anybody really) that I believe does the most damage to their contribution and talent in the long run.

If he doesn’t do his own laundry, he probably won’t do this either…

I’d also ask my daughters to very carefully consider who they partner with, and not assume that their career is going to have equal priority if and when they want to start a family. Men still get to assume that they’re the breadwinners, and this can also be damaging to a woman’s career when they unexpectedly have to put their professional lives on hold.

So, my daughters, if you’re listening, repeat after me…