This week I read a book called Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr and initially, as I was reading it, I kept thinking: "Oh no, another management theory that can easily turn into a bureaucratic nightmare!" until I read some more. OKRs come from Intel's Andy Grove and John Doerr later brought them to Google, Adobe, Intuit, the Gates Foundation and other organizations. The concept is actually quite simple:
If you want to drive gro
Many companies fail to achieve progress not because of shortage of diversity programs but rather the lack of interest and commitment from the CEO and the leadership team. Disinterested leaders outsource change to HR departments and Chief Diversity Officers, who then go on copying random initiatives from other companies who themselves are not doing too great on the same front. I sat in various depressing meetings with HR diversity advocates who were helplessly struggling to ge
From the beginning of this journey, it has been clear to me that if I wanted to affect change in how we perceive women in leadership roles and give them the opportunity to thrive, I couldn't just limit myself to empowering women (many of which don't even need my help in getting empowered). Culture change comes from the top and with 80% of executive seats in most big companies being occupied by men, I had to find ways to engage them as well. Knowing More About The Audience Aft
Photo credit: David Marcu One day I got an emergency call from a woman, let's call her Julia, who is a director in a pharmaceutical company. She's one of the more impressive leaders I know, a medical doctor by training, who transitioned to hospital administration, then to public health policy and later to corporate healthcare. She has worked across different continents and both developed and developing countries, in some very difficult field conditions. She is charming and we
Some time ago I went for lunch with an entrepreneur friend I greatly admire. We hadn't seen each other for a while, and she had some news: she was pregnant for the second time and was more stressed than excited about this. I didn't know which of "congrats" or "I'm sorry" was the due response. She had spent the previous three years building her business and was just about to start scaling it up so she worried about having to give up her plans. We talked about it for a while an
On November 8th, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It was more of a disappointment than a surprise to me. I somehow thought that the winds of progress were stronger than his rhetoric of fear mongering and bullying. But this is not a political post. During the week I connected with some of my successful female and/or minority/immigrant friends and realized that we all had the scary sensation of a sexist and racist boss taking charge. We felt helpless; we
I once went to a diversity event organized by a progressive Austin tech company. The panel represented all case study categories of diversity: a stylish African American man, a young and hip white woman, an overweight Hispanic man with a geeky T-Shirt, a queer African American woman and a single-mom with blue hair (the company’s open-minded recruiter). The panelists talked about their experiences in technology, barriers and successes and the recruiter talked about how her com
Some people think that leaders are born, while others think that leaders are made. I think that the truth lies somewhere in between. Growing up in a ex-soviet, immigrant, middle-class family, I could never imagine what it would mean for me to become a leader one day. The women in my family have always worked outside the home, going three generations back, but never held any senior roles. Nor did the men. When I started working on Wall Street, I had more contact with the women
Credit: John Hope Photography From the beginning of this journey, it has been clear to me that if I wanted to affect change in how we perceive women in leadership roles and give them the opportunity to thrive, I couldn't just limit myself to empowering women (many of which don't even need my help in getting empowered). Culture change comes from the top and with 80% of executive seats in most big companies being occupied by men, I had to find ways to engage them as well. Last
Change starts from the top and must cascade to all other levels of the company. In the same way that profit generation isn’t outsourced to the Finance department, leadership and overall talent management cannot be outsourced to the Human Resources department, whose role must be of a supporter, rather than orchestrator, of change.
Here are 7 broad steps for change (scroll down for a visual framework):
1. Start from the WHY. Recognize that leadership pipelines that largel
The Bain study about women's ambitions and confidence I previously wrote about found that women's experience in mid-career was different from that of men. Women felt that they didn't match the stereotypical models of success of their companies and lacked supervisors' support for their career progress.
Other research findings supported this claim - "What’s not happening are discussions of goals, career strategies, job satisfaction, overall trajectory and—especially—the simp
One of the push-backs I get when I talk about why we don't have more women leaders revolves around the belief that women aren't interested in leadership. I've even hear this from some career women who say bluntly - "I don't need the burden of being a leader in my company!"
I can kind of relate. I never thought of myself as a leader or someone particularly ambitious. To me, ambition was for people who wanted power, titles and money and I was never really driven by any of the
In How Remarkable Women Lead, McKinsey & Co, partner, Joanna Barsh builds on years of interviews with women leaders across different countries and sectors to develop what ultimately became the Centered Leadership Model. Joanna Barsh has been a key figure behind much of McKinsey's incredibly influential research about the topic of women's leadership and one of the contributors to the Lean In movement so she knows what she is talking about when she talks about women's leadershi
Last week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he's opening all combat job for women, because “We cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country's talents and skills.” It was a tough decision, especially because objections from Marine Forces Commanders. It's an important step for women's equality because the combat units are symbol of power and accomplishment, from which women were traditionally excluded. The choice of words is especially important because
When I was working as a strategy manager at a mining company in Brazil, a colleague from the Human Resources department invited me to become an ambassador for the Gender Equity program.
In the first on-boarding event I went to, a sociology professor gave an interesting lecture about gender roles in society and how they translated into individual behaviors. She then showed us a table that looked similar the one below: "Oh no," I thought to myself. "What is wrong with me? I
Miriam Grobman Consulting sat down with its French-Brazilian partner, Gwendoline de Ganay, to learn about her previous experience as a Content and Program Officer for the prestigious Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. What's the objective of this conference/ concept behind it? The Women’s Forum ("WF") is a for-profit organization that organizes yearly global and regional meetings to address economic and social issues with a women’s perspective. It has been called “the
The Other Woman – The Power of Female Mentorship One of the most important instruments in cultivating successful female leaders is the mentorship of her peers and managers. It is so necessary for women to see each other as enablers rather than as competitors. When women push each other, stand up for and speak up for each other, and counsel and encourage each other, the results can truly be transformative. In many anecdotes, however, women are often portrayed as the biggest ob
During my two years of MBA studies I learned about all the important qualities of a leader; he should be confident, brave, strategic, result-oriented but also ethical, good communicator, empathetic, team-player and a people's manager.
I say "he" reflecting back that most of the case studies we covered featured male CEOs, most of the charismatic (and non-charismatic) speakers were male, ALL the famous leadership books were written by men (often about other men) and the major
Company leaders, especially in high-paced industries, may have all sorts of assumptions about the reasons as to why women don’t progress to leadership roles. Diversity efforts often focus on recruiting and sometimes on promotions within companies, but there’s an important part of the pipeline that is often overlooked – the voluntary turnover. Leaders often assume that women just choose to lean out in order to take care of family responsibilities. In reality, the reasons to le
I read Gay Gaddis’ article titled “How this CEO keeps her employees coming back after maternity leave”, a few weeks ago in Fortune and I just had to talk to her. From how the story read, I knew to expect a strong-willed and intelligent woman and I was sure I could learn a lot from her experience. While companies talk and chew over maternity and paternity policies, she’s running a successful business where parents feel welcome to contribute while also being able to take care o