“For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change.”
Conscious, intentional bias is bad enough, but girls also have to contend with an unconsciously biased society and a dearth of powerful role models.
Women rarely consider themselves experts, unlike men, who will claim expertise on any subject, no matter how ridiculous.
A presenter asked a group of men and women whether anyone had expertise in breast-feeding. A man raised his hand. He had watched his wife for three months. The women in the crowd, mothers among them, didn’t come forward as experts.
Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont sums up a large piece of the problem.
The UK’s advertising industry regulator has announced that portrayals of little girls aspiring to be, say, a ballerina while boys hope to be, for instance, a scientist or doctor will be banned from the country’s ads. Many of these air during kids’ programs and target teens through social media.
And if you think this example is extreme it is actually drawn from this Aptamil baby formula ad.
Can bias actually be addressed beyond training and conversation?
Join me tomorrow for a look at how a corporate sexist poster child became a lodestar for gender equity.
Although both articles I refer to are aimed at startup founders, I believe they are applicable to bosses at any level and in any company.
First, no boss ever accomplished their goals by being a jerk.
As Bob Sutton explains in The Asshole Survival Guide, treating people like dirt hurts their focus and saps their motivation. (…) In the podcast, Reid [Hoffman] describes his test of a great culture: Does every employee feel that they personally own the culture?
Walmart employs 2.3 million associates around the world. About 75% of our store management teams started as hourly associates, and they earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year.Walmart is investing $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, education and training.
What isn’t mentioned is that around the same time
Walmart lifted wages [to $10/hr], it cut merit raises and introduced a training program that could keep hourly pay at $9 an hour for up to 18 months.
The report says that Walmart uses a point system to discipline workers, and too many points results in firing. Walmart reportedly gives workers disciplinary points for any absence they consider unauthorized, and working less than half of a scheduled shift is considered an absence.
‘I passed out at work. They sent me to the hospital. The next day, they fired me for it.’
“I got into a car wreck on my way to work and was sent by ambulance to the hospital. I had two fractured ribs and a concussion. I reached a manager from the hospital, who said it would be ok, and I came into work the next day with wrapped ribs and a concussion. The front manager then said that they wouldn’t accept the doctor’s note from the hospital, and they fired me for missing that day.”
“My appendix ruptured while at work and because I already had eight points, I could not leave work to go to the ER without pointing out and losing my job. I should have been able to leave to go to the ER and not worry about losing my job. I had even said to management, ‘So if I fall out because of my appendix and have to go out in an ambulance…I will get a point and lose my job?’ The response from management was, ‘Yes.'”
“I was vomiting blood and had to go to the ER. I was there for two days and each day was a point. I then had two days off, and I brought my hospital notes in when I went back. They would not accept them.”
Of course, Walmart’s well-known attitude towards women is front and center
“My daughter was having seizures, I had to take time off to monitor her. They counted it against me. I passed out at work. They sent me to the hospital. The next day, they fired me for it.
Katie Orzehowski was forced to return to work still bleeding after a miscarriage or face being fired.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so grim, but apparently Walmart expects events, such as heart attacks and car accidents, to be scheduled.
If an employee does not call in to report an absence at least an hour in advance, they receive four points, the report says.
Most ironic of all is Walmart’s tag line, which reads, “Save money. Live better.”
More accurately, it should read “Save money. Live better — unless you work here.”
All of this proves once again that there is a major difference between words and actions.
I know it gets old, but here is yet another reason to subscribe to CB Insights newsletter. At the end there is a section called The Blurb that provides four links to exceptionally excellent content, such as
Manson is referring to the oft stated advice to new grads to “find your passion” when looking for work. Seems a lot of those people write him saying they don’t know what their passion is and asking how to find it.
But more importantly, what I want to say to these people is this: that’s the whole point — “not knowing” is the whole fucking point. Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. All of it.
He points out some basic truths about work and passion/loving what you do.
Priorities, like buying food and paying the rent/mortgage, often trump passion.
You can work for the priorities and spend the rest of your time on your passion.
Even your dream job will include parts that suck and some days when it all sucks.
If you’re passionate about something, it will already feel like such an ingrained part of your life that you will have to be reminded by people that it’s not normal, that other people aren’t like that.
If you have to look for what you’re passionate about, then you’re probably not passionate about it at all.
A child does not walk onto a playground and say to herself, “How do I find fun?” She just goes and has fun.
You won’t find your passion in a set of data points.
Nor will you find it by looking/asking/ranting/whining.
Just because your best friend loves their job doesn’t mean you would.
People change. Your passion at 25 may not be your passion at 45, let alone at 65.
Don’t just read Manson’s essay, think about it and then apply the lessons learned to your own life.
I guarantee you’ll be a far happier/satisfied/passionate person.
This is a generation, after all, that thinks of itself as “forever young,” even as some near 70. Most of all, what came across onscreen as well as in Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits was an unapologetic affirmation of the essential Boomer mantra—yes, it is still all about ME.
For a small, and supposedly lost, generation, Gen X’ers have found their way to positions of power. (…)Gen X’ers, incidentally, are among the most highly educated generation in the U.S.: 35% have college degrees vs. 19% of Millennials.
We all know that everything moves faster these days — whether products, attitudes — or generations.
So, without more ado, meet Generation Z, which encompasses those born between 1995 and the early 2000s.
They present a new challenge to bosses, especially since they bear little resemblance to Millennials.
The question for most bosses and bosses-to-be is this: having finally wrapped their heads around Millennial dos and don’ts is it worth the effort to add Gen Z to the repertoire?
Actually, you don’t have much choice, since there are 79 million (and counting) of them.
Gen X wasn’t much better and in 1982 Steve Wozniak financed The US Festival. According to Glenn Aveni, director of a recently released documentary about the festival,
“Woz felt the 1970’s were The ‘Me’ Generation and that it was time for the world to embrace a less selfish credo, one of unity and togetherness.”
Great music, but little effect.
Millennials come next, slightly more of them (75.4 M to 74.9) and most happily carry on the focus on me.
Tech has driven that focus across all generations via selfies and social media to the point that for millions their experiences, meals and even their lives exist only if they constantly post them online and they are liked, shared, and retweeted.
There was a time when I allowed myself to be more than what could fit onto a 2-by-4-inch screen. When I wasn’t so self-conscious about how I was seen. When I embraced my contradictions and desires with less fear of embarrassment or rejection.
The focus on me has led to a focus on being happy — polls and articles measuring happiness, and comparing happiness.
Back in the day, the Boomers considered everything a challenge that must be overcome. Fast forward to now and Millennials, especially those in Silicon Valley, see the world as a series of problems to be “hacked” (modern times call for modern words).
Which, to put it politely, is a crock.
Andrew Taggart thinks most of this is nonsense. A PhD in philosophy, Taggart practices the art of gadfly-for-hire. He disabuses founders, executives, and others in Silicon Valley of the notion that life is a problem to be solved, and happiness awaits those who do it. Indeed, Taggart argues that optimizing one’s life and business is actually a formula for misery.
This is important, because, in many ways, it’s Silicon Valley that is shaping much of our world — even for those of us who choose not to actively participate.
But I doubt Taggart and his ilk will change that attitude or the obsessive focus on “my world.”
Scott Berkun, a former Microsoft manager and philosophy major who has written multiple business books on the subject, says philosophy’s lessons are lost on most in Silicon Valley. Many focus on aggrandizing the self, rather than pursuing a well-examined purpose. “If you put Socrates in a room during a pitch session, I think he’d be dismayed at so many young people investing their time in ways that do not make the world or themselves any better,” he said.
I never saw life as a challenge or a problem. I prefer a different mantra.
Life is a mystery to be lived — not a challenge/problem to be overcome.
Many of the actions of people such as Travis Kalanick, Donald Trump, Parker Conrad, etc., are deplored, yet they seem to have no effect on people’s opinions.
They go their merry way while thousands of far superior leaders are ignored.
When the subject does come up the usual response involves the infamous “yes, but…”
Why is that?
I finally found an answer that makes sense from Margarita Mayo, a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IE Business School in Madrid.
Mayo terms the first type of leader ‘humble’ and the second ‘charismatic’.
Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the long run because they create more collaborative environments. They have a balanced view of themselves – both their virtues and shortcomings – and a strong appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions, while being open to new ideas and feedback. (…)
[Charismatic leaders], despite their grandiose view of themselves, low empathy, dominant orientation toward others, and strong sense of entitlement, their charisma proves irresistible. Followers of superheroes are enthralled by their showmanship: through their sheer magnetism, narcissistic leaders transform their environments into a competitive game in which their followers also become more self-centered, giving rise to organizational narcissism, as one study shows.
Mayo’s research and the other’s she cites (with links) provide proof of the value produced by the humble leader vs. their charismatic counterpart.
However, I think there is another problem happening in the background that is word-related.
Ask most people if they want to be remembered as ‘humble’ or ‘charismatic’ and most will choose charismatic.
Warren Buffet aside, ‘humble’ is more often associated with dorky, weak, shy, and unassuming.
Not adjectives most people would choose to describe themselves.
Thanks to Wally Bock for leading me to this article.
The company provided what has come to be a boilerplate apology.
“We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post,” the company said in a statement. “Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea.”
Within days it was Pepsi on the social media hot seat for an incredibly insensitive, incredibly white ad focusing on the Black Lives Matter protests.
The ad was pulled in hours, although, as you can see, nothing posted is ever truly deleted; here is Pepsi’s gussied up version of the boilerplate apology.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
Nivea’s story was from an agency, while Pepsi’s was developed in-house.
While I’m no fan of social media in general and its penchant for spreading fake news, in this case the lightening reactions actually did some good.
Heineken is another story (pun intended) entirely and has the awards to prove it, so it isn’t surprising that it was Heineken that successfully created the story the others screwed up so badly.
The take-away is that stories are a two-edged sword, so be sure to do them outside the echo chamber or don’t do them.