In the lead up to the International Stand-up to Bullying Day (ISUBD), the 5th graders of Mrs Zychal’s class at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did a great job in identifying the powers one needs to combat bullying. Laser vision, super hearing and transforming were some of them. (More …)
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The world’s largest PR firm Edelman has launched a new website, focusing on two of my favorite professional themes: [leadership through] complexity and diversity (‘Life In Color’).
I got completely hooked up to their Purpose Around The World study, resulting in the ‘Purpose Gets Personal’ and ‘Me in We’ outcomes (see image below). These are outcomes I see around me too and I feel completely connected to them as a communications professional and hobbyist. It seems that Edelman employees are spot on with their revamped company strategy and offering of PR solutions.
However …. , I also see a short coming (More …)
It’s amazing, that feeling when you hit on a slogan that is really you.
For me, it’s this one of Dr Seuss, that sums up my whole life since I left home at eighteen.
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
― Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
What slogan says it all for you?’
As an Storyteller & Leadership enthausiast, I like to work with script writing structures in my communication work, in particular the three-step approach: Beginning , Middle, and End.
As an Equestrian & Leadership enthausiast, however, I have recently started to work with the four-step approach: Request, Pressure, Response, and Reward.
I guess no one can write, talk or think about leadeship without making synergies with sportmanship from time to time. Especially when you live in the USA.
This evening I read this poem to my eight year old daughter which reminded me of the real status of leadership: that of a human Sense that stimulates our State Of The Mind. A sense that can be developed just like a sense for sportmanship. Just listen to this pro’s advice…
If you want to play tennis, I’ll give you a tip:
You must practice your stroke,
You must tighten your grip,
You must straighten your shoulders
And swivel your hip
And develop your sense of sportmanship.
(Poem by Shel Silverstein in Every Thing On It)
It is the status of the mind. Like sportmanship, leadership is not the end or the beginning of something. It is the State of the Mind that steers our behavior to getting something done.
Dr Seuss, Walt Disney and Shakespeare: these are the three protagonists in the new Summer Reading Hand Book 2012 that I created in my new capacity of PTA chairperson for the Summer Reading Program 2012 at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Over 400 copies are ready to go out to all students during this week’s Scholastic Book Fair.
I was warned about the challenges of moving internationally while being pregnant and the advice was ‘Don’t move if you are pregnant’. But advice is there to be ignored, so I ended up moving internationally with every single pregnancy, which was four times round. However, there is one other challenge beside begin pregnant, which I did not know about and should never be ignored.
Last week a post from the Economic World Form showed up on my Facebook with Muna Abu Sluyman from Saudi Arabia sharing her ideas about gender and equality at the work floor.
In her blog ‘Balancing Out The Corporate World’ she explains why mandatory quotas are needed to ensure that women join the decision makers in this world. I couldn’t agree more with her.
Indeed, quotas are a crucial step to female empowerment in business with the end goal to achieve a better balance in decision making and, hence, finding solutions to the needs of a community or society at different levels of emotion. The latter – the goal – is often forgotten in the debate about this instrument, what a quota merely is. That is why we all, men and women, need to force ourselves to look beyond the instrument and understand better the goal we want to reach. This important worldwide debate should not be belittled or slowed down by some of the less flattering details of the instrument.
In many instances, quotas are not very popular and stir up a lot of emotions. You only have to look as far as the Dairy and Fishing industry to see how quotas give people the creeps. But is that a reason not to use them?
Don’t get me wrong, working with quotas is not a concept that I favor in principal and like to think we don’t need them. Regularly, my husband – a decision maker in industry – and I have tough discussions about it. On the other hand, why is it so difficult to accept that quotas help? Many woman – and I am one of them – just need that extra push get a sound and respectful female leadership community to look up to. Why? Because there is an urgent need for people and profiles we as women can more easily:
- identify with,
- admire, and
- get inspired by.
The key emotional ingredients for moving up and forwards in business, wouldn’t you say?
I know, quotas feel like putting an elephant in a china shop. However, it is not unusual in business to put an elephant in a china shop in order to get things moving and shaking and more importantly, to get people to change their believes that are hidden far back in their mind and steer their unconscious behavior. So, quotas could be the hammer on a fragile nail that refuses to go in. Now, the challenge is to use the hammer in a subtle way.
Back to the challenge of inspiration and perception. When I searched for images to go with this article I noticed how difficult it is to find images that portray the essence of this subject . If you Google on let’s say ‘Board Woman’, you get girls in bikini. Online magazines like Spiegel Online lack imagination with an awful image of a lake and mountains when covering the Norway Case in their article ‘Norway’s Experience Shows Compulsory Quotas Work’
And another very sad image of a woman alone in a meeting room was shown alongside the article Norway’s New Quota: Corporate Board 40% Women Or Else!
And what do you think about this awful image alongside another article from Spiegel Online ‘Gender Equality’. The Dominatrix looks like a nicer person to work with than this woman …!
And perhaps wort of all are magazines and blogs that do not even have an image with their articles on gender equality, such as Ignore the doubters. Norway’s quota on women in the boardroom is working
Sadly it looks to me that the media wants us to believe that we have a long, muddy and indefinite path to go. Of course, it is nothing like that at all. It are all man who wrote these articles.
What we need is a tsunami of contemporary images of women in this world doing their leadership job on a daily base. Women like the Principal of my kid’s elementary public school, Scotland Elementary School (PA), who steered the school into the top three ranking of public schools in the area.
Windows of opportunities are opening for women, but for how long will they stay open? I am sure that this era of social practices and emotions will be followed up by a new one where men will claim their positions in leadership back, whether in a traditional or new format. The changing of the wheel goes fast. Change in business and society lays around the corner, all the time.
And THAT, my dearest reader, is WHY we need QUOTAS as a mean to enhance Female Leadership.
It’s not new when I say that horse riding contains many metaphors for good, creative leadership. You may know many yourselves.
I started horse riding four years ago at the same time I started my own business. I am not a very demanding and egocentric by nature and – therefore- not natural leader. I neither feel the urge to proof something to my friends or family – a proven help in successful leadership -, so I was well advised by a Swedish friend to take up horse riding to get the hang of good leadership.
And it pays off, in particular because of my wonderful American instructor Judie.
Here are a couple of equestrian principles she thought me which I like to share with you as food for thought in business leadership:
1. Post Bigger when trotting, not smaller. In English riding one is tempted to post smaller in an effort to stop a horse going t0o fast, but the opposite is true. When you want a horse (or organization) to go more slowly and in controlled manner, start posting bigger.
2. Don’t Focus, just Be Aware. Whilst many management gurus and alpha-male leaders advocate that ‘Focus’ is the key to success in business, equestrian leadership will tell you that ‘Being Aware’ is a better key to good leadership. Putting a strong focus on something particular means that one does not see or sense other important signals (in an organization).
3. Use Your Space. Horse riding is a mirror to how we cut short our corners if we are not conscious of all the free space around us. Cutting corners short means more difficult turns and more stress. In communications & leadership this is also explained by (not) using ‘white space’ in writing or by getting active in the ‘complexity quadrant’ of Dave Snowden’s Cynefin. There is much to say for showing leadership where the situation complex, though much less crowded.
These are my favorite thoughts that help me to keep my leadership skills in form. What are yours?