Wendy Hanson 0:24
Greetings everybody. It is more important than ever to have diversity in our organizations. We need more diversity across the board in our leadership positions. diversity brings such a mix of experience, strength and value. I am so honored today to have Sally Helgason with us. In addition, see him l puffier. is joining us a member of our team at BetterManager Who designs and delivers our women's leadership programs. We both want to learn from Sally's research and her wisdom that she's collected along the way. So let me tell you a little bit about Sally if you don't already know her you're in for a treat. Sally has been cited in Forbes as the world's premier expert on women's leadership and is an internationally best selling author, speaker and leadership coach. She has been named by thinker's 50 as one of the top world's top 20 coaches and ranks number six among the world's thought leaders by global gurus. Sally's most recent book, how women rise co authored with Marshall Goldsmith became a best seller within a week of the publication and has been translated into 19 languages. previous books include the female advantage, Women's Ways of leadership held as a classic and continuously imprint since 1990. And the female vision women's real power at work, which explores how women's strategic insights can strengthen their careers. The web of inclusion was also cited in the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time, and credited with bringing the language of inclusion into business. Oh, it's wonderful to have Sally here. I'm so glad she made the time for us. And our partner today is my partner at work and wonderful colleague, Seaham Elka fear. She's one of our coaches, and she designs and facilitates our work. And she's the one who introduced me to Sally's book, because it's part of our Women's Leadership Program at BetterManager. And see him is a certified coach from the coactive Training Institute, and is trained on relationship systems and as an inter cultural coach. She holds an MBA degree in International Human Resources, and brings a unique blend of 18 years of international experience in marketing, communication and talent management across industries. See him is based in Paris and speaks French, Arabic and English fluently, and can argue with a taxi driver in Turkish. So that's really good to know. Yes, especially for women. Yes, we need to know these things. So welcome to both of you.
Sally Helgesen 3:10
Thank you, thank you so much. Great to be here.
Wendy Hanson 3:13
So I'm so thrilled Sally, that you're here and in your book how women rise which you co authored with Marshall Goldsmith, you identify 12 behaviors that often prevent female professionals from achieving their goals. You offer concrete strategies for adapting behavior in ways that better serve women and those they are leading. At BetterManager. We love the book how women rise and use it as part of our program. In the book, you listed 12 habits that can hold women back from their next race promotion or job. What have you found are the most common ones, Sally, is it different in the US and other places around the globe?
Sally Helgesen 3:54
One of the things that surprised me is how remarkably consistent it is around the globe. As you said, Wendy, we've got we've been translated into 19 languages. And I had the opportunity to do the launches in India and Japan and Brazil and Turkey, and a number of other places. And it's very, very consistent. And that's been one of the big surprises and real boosts from this board, where I'm finding the most and I have a good way of being able to assess how they resonate, which ones are most resonant. In it when I work with a client and only have a one hour program. I asked them to survey the participants and ask them to rank which habits they most identify with or which they feel the most response with. Because then I focus on those in a 60 or 90 minute program. And so the ones that almost always consistently come through reluctance to claim your achievements, expecting others to spontaneously notice and value, your contributions. And the perfection trap. Also get a lot of endorsement for putting your job before your career, which is one of my favorite behaviors. And in the book, one of the ones I think is most important, four most important as a potential cause for holding women back. And then I also get a lot on too much, you know, and being more concise in your in your communications. So those seem to be the most resonant. And of course, in fields like engineering, or accountancy, and law, we also find a lot of endorsement on overvaluing expertise, professions and fields where there's very highly articulated skill base.
Wendy Hanson 6:02
So yeah, I'm what's what's been your experience?
Siham ElFakir 6:05
Yeah, actually. So Sally, I was saying in the beginning how honored I am to be here today Hohmann rises, one of my favorite books, I've read it, it's become a reference and shared it with so many people. And every time we talk about the 12 habits, I found it hard for women to claim their achievements. So you were talking about it in just a minute ago. And it women get uncomfortable when we talk about self promotion, you know, and we can see it, especially in some cultures, it's not such easy to talk about your achievements. So my question for you is, how important is self promotion? And what recommendations do you have for women to do it?
Sally Helgesen 6:52
Well, first of all, it's very important. And the reason that it's so important is that if we don't represent if we don't get recognized for what we're contributing for the work we're doing, then over time that under recognition, will make us feel undervalued. And as a result, we will disengage, it's hard to remain committed to an enthusiastic about a job where we feel undervalued that just, those two things don't work together. So it's really our, we need to do that so that we don't disengage. I've done 1000s of exit interviews with women who left really good jobs. And the thing that I hear most is, they never understood what I could do. And we don't want to be in the position of them not understanding what we could do, because we never let them know, we want to do our best to let them know. Otherwise, the job is not going to be satisfying, it's not going to be engaging. It's not going to be anything that helps us reach our full potential. So that's number one. It is vitally important for your own engagement and satisfaction. Because even if you're saying, Well, you know, I just want to do a good job, it doesn't matter to me whether people really know what I'm doing. I'm a behind the scenes type of person. As you can tell, I've heard it all. If we can pull ourselves with that, but over time, we want to feel valued, in order to to stick with it. So So every one of us needs to find a way that we're comfortable representing our achievements, a couple of things that I found to be helpful. Number one, is treat what you're doing not as bragging, but as information that could be helpful to other people, if they knew what you were doing it that is information. That's data that could be helpful to someone else. certainly helpful to your boss, certainly helpful to your colleagues certainly helpful to your team. It so it's information because that kind of neutralizes it. It's not bragging it's information. Another thing that Yeah, another thing that's helpful is using the language of contribution rather than achievement. So it's not I did this and I was able to accomplish that and I met this benchmark, women are often not comfortable with that, but more I was able to contribute this I was able to, you know, using that language of contribution, and then that can help you. The one other thing that I think holds women back on this is and it's it's legitimate, they'll say, Well, I don't want to talk about what I did before. We work in teams, this is a team effort, and I'll be taking away from the team. If I talk about myself. That's not true. And especially using the language of contribution, you can integrate those, our team was able to achieve this, we, you know, we, the client response was x and include, you know, whatever the specifics are, that your team did, my contribution was to just stepping up with what your contribution is. So I found that those three things make it more comfortable for women to talk about and claim their achievements. And again, it's, it's really necessary to do that. That's great. Because sometimes it is, it's the language, it's the script, we need to get in and feel that it's safe to say,
Wendy Hanson 10:49
I love that. One of the things out, as always, right, wait, what if we have some cliff notes that say, this is the way I can say it and feel comfortable? and own it? Yeah. Because I think part of it too, what struck me in the in the book was, you know, we know connected with that, that women are skilled at building relationships, but not always leveraging them, like, Okay, now I've been able to give my pitch, but and I know all these people, but I really don't know how to do it. Have you seen this happen like across the globe, with people like not being able to leverage their network in an effective way?
Sally Helgesen 11:27
Yes, I've seen that happen across the globe. And, you know, the only real studies I've seen on this really come from a German company, the HR company, I'm not remembering the name of it. But it published some very interesting research on Y. Senior men's networks tended to be more effective than senior women's networks. And what they found was it was because the men were very active at leveraging one another that is, I just define leverage, as asking for tactical, that is job related or strategic career related help, and then offering that help in return. So that you are kind of leverages, you create a fulcrum, where each of you helps the other, there's a sense of mutuality. And the purpose of that is your both rise and your rising together, that is built into old boys networks, it's built into how a lot of men create relationships, the relationships are leverages about it, women tend to get more more intrinsic rewards from just the fact of building relationships and research, more recent research has shown that that's one of the great factors that that makes women, why women tend to be more resilient over time than men is because of the quality of the relationships they build. So we don't want to go in the other direction and just, you know, become very, you know, very tactical and very transactional in our relationships. But we don't want to feel that any transactionality in our relationship makes us a bad person. Or, you know, when I ask women about leveraging, they say, Well, I don't want, I don't want people to think I'm a user, or I want people to know that I value them for who they are. That's nice. That's great, of course. But if you know, asking someone for help, as long as you're also available to help them is not the definition of being a user. So we're a little we can be a little over sensitive about that. We've seen it done badly, too. So that can can warn us off. Yeah. And talking
Siham ElFakir 13:53
about men, Sally, how can men become allies, for women in their organization and on their team?
Sally Helgesen 14:00
Well, I think there are a couple of ways I've had, you know, one of the great things about this book, is that it's gotten a huge response from men. And I ended up doing programs for the men in companies about the behaviors in the book. I've ended up doing programs, you know, in industries, like the construction industry, you know, a women's leadership workshop on internal barriers for women, and it's 75% men there. So it's it's very, very interesting. And, and a book like this, I think that's and certainly it's not the only resource but that's very, very tactical, and clear and filled with examples. And it's not, you know, let me share my leadership model with you is helpful to men in identifying and that's, that's one of the things I hear, you know, that helped me understand the women I work with that helped me understand, you know, why they're reluctant to talk about their achievements. You know, I've seen that and I knew ever understood it? I just didn't get it. I thought it was she shy? Does she really not know that she's any good said so that's, that's helpful to understand. The other thing I think is just, you know, there's a lot of work to be done in terms of creating inclusive cultures and organizations through inclusive behaviors. That's what I'm a big proponent of is teaching inclusive behaviors, helping people understand what an inclusive behavior is, how you give feedback, how you, you know, do pure, you know, do performance reviews, how you put somebody on the list for succession, all of those kinds of practices. They're inclusive ways to do that. And they're, they're not. And I really believe that, that that's so important for organizations, and we spend a lot of time going over and over our unconscious biases. Not quite sure, you know, what the impact of that always is. Raising self awareness, of course, is important, but people, what I find is people want real advice on how to act. And I think that that's one of the things that, that women can also do with men, you know, say, you know, all kinds of things, you know, well intended. Guys who use humor in a way that's not working for women, you know, it's not, we don't need to get offended, we can just say, Look, you know, I'm not sure you recognize this is not helping you. This is not cementing the relationships. Well, she doesn't have a sense of humor. Are you the one who gets to define sense of humor for everybody, you know, just being a little bit honest, being a little bit real, and getting rid of some of the enormous sensitivities that have cropped up around some of these gender issues? I'm not sure that they're always helpful, because people feel like they have to walk on eggshells.
Siham ElFakir 17:01
Yeah, yeah. And talking about unconscious bias around gender. You know, there are plenty of them maturity, bias, performance bias. And study studies found that even men have a women have bias or bias towards women, you know, we see women in more at home with family and men as leaders, you know, that famous, he invented associations that test results. So what can women do to overcome these biases when they're facing them, you know, recruitment, performance reviews, succession planning, without carrying that burden, you know, of changing the whole system or the whole organization?
Sally Helgesen 17:41
Well, you know, really, this is why I wrote the book, because there, there are many barriers women face, and there are structural and cultural barriers within organizations and within the culture at large, those are very difficult to address unless we're in a position of real authority and influence, unless we're part of a very large and extremely well run, not breaking down into divisive movements. Very, very large pressure group. But in general, it takes real authority, power and influence, to make cultural and structural changes in large organizations in global organizations, what we can do is address the internal barriers that are holding us back. So that was really why I wrote the book. Not that I don't think cultural and structural barriers exist, not that I don't think it's important to address them. But for most, you know, women in organizations, there's only a limited impact are going to have what they can do is to look at the internal barriers that can hold them back to help other women identify what some of those are, you know, I have, I get reports all the time from women who say, you know, in our ever since we read or read the book, you know, now whenever a woman apologizes, and it's pointless, you know, we give her a signal or we say, Oh, are you really sorry, something like that these kinds of little practices, start queuing, you know, create a culture that cues more positive behaviors. So that's what I was attempting to do. And and I think the fact that it was so resonant shows that people were ready for it, and that people find it highly effective.
Wendy Hanson 19:36
But we so appreciate your pragmatic approach, because we find that as coaches that, you know, a better manager, when we coach people, we do more than just traditional coaching, we add some value to the conversation. Here's the suggestion, you know, and so your book really just lends itself to that so beautifully, to be able to say, this may have been hard for you, but here's a way that you able to do it. Yeah.
Siham ElFakir 20:01
By the way, Sally with with a colleague. When we read your book, we had like a paper in our office where we had the winner of the week's like brag come and brag with us. What did you achieve this week, and we invited women from the whole floor. And then we have one for minimizing and too much, oh, you're doing it again. And we create that sense of sisterhood. So thank you for that. I think your book changed so many women career and
Sally Helgesen 20:28
that is one of the, you know, most exciting things of my life is I've heard that in so many companies around the world that they're doing that. And I think it's it's really important. And also we send then I think that we we have to also recognize how important that will be for the next generation of women, even young women. I'll share a story. I've shared it before, but it's one of my favorites. One of the in the book, I have that example of where I'm working with Marshall, and he gets the call. But you know from his assistant, oh, I missed that call. Dr. Kim was two o'clock. Oh, I forgot to call him. Oh, well, hangs up. I'll call him back. And of course, Dr. Kim was the head of the World Bank. And I was thinking, well, if I missed a call with the head of the World Bank, I would not be going Oh, well. So I had a couple things happen. Put a big sign on my wall that said, Oh, well, to remind myself, don't give yourself a hard time. And I was doing a program on Silicon Valley. The last program I did actually, before the pandemic shut us all down. And this woman came up to me and she said, You know, I want to thank you so much for that. Oh, well and tell you something that happened. She said, I'm a real ruminator and perfectionist. She said so I have stickies all over my house at my office that say, Oh, well, oh, well, Oh, well. And so that to remind myself to let it go, say but they're all over my house, too. She said. So she said three days ago, my four year old was carrying a big bowl of yogurt into the kitchen. She She tripped slightly, the yogurt went all over the kitchen floor. And she said she looked up at me with a little face. And she went Oh, well. Thank you so much because of the stickies that were everywhere. So that's, you know, I knew we're raising the next generation of, of competent women. So that, you know that, that gives me great feeling of affirmation and great feeling of hope. Because we need to be out there we need to be in leadership positions, we need to be we need to be, you know, shaping the culture and determining the tone. And, and, and and to the extent that read and dealing with internal barriers can help us get there. It's it's pretty exciting. And leaning into
Wendy Hanson 22:56
each other for these things and giving each other that that feedback in the sisterhood. Yes. Oh, well, we often say a BetterManager We're not saving babies if something goes wrong, you know, like, nobody got hurt. Everybody's okay. We got to take life a little bit lightly because these things happen. Very good example. Yeah.
Siham ElFakir 23:18
Yes, I have a burning question about Habit number six, you know, thank you for that one. Because I have been putting your job before my career my whole life. Can you tell us more about that one?
Sally Helgesen 23:30
Yeah, really putting your job before your career is where you pour all your energy into the job you have. And what I've seen is often it's on the assumption that if I do great a superb job in this job, that will lead me to the next job that will lead me to a promotion that will lead me to something good, because I'll be recognized, I've done such a great job. But it often doesn't work that way. For a couple reasons. Number one, you know, as I say, in the book, what you're doing is basically proving your ideal for the job you have. You may make yourself indispensable to your boss, but also to your team, so that people really don't want you to leave because you've poured so much of yourself into this, that they see you, you know, as as invaluable. So those things, you know, can really hold you back. But there's the other thing that we do. Every career I've come to see, is built on three, three legs, expertise, that's our talent, and that's the job part, doing our job in an expert way, expertise, visibility and connections. And when we've done a better job than somebody else, so we've worked harder or you know, had better results and we don't get the next job. We can feel terrible. It can feel unfair, but it may simply be that that other person and invested in visibility and connections as well as expertise. Whereas we were pouring all our efforts into trying to do this great job. So we need more balanced approach. And putting your job before your career is an imbalanced approach, ie we are not developing our connections and our visibility, because we're pouring everything into the job we have a job is a job, but it's also a bridge, unless we're at the very end of our career. And I don't even know for many of us, you know what that looks like? That's really often the future. Unless we're at the end of our career, a job is a bridge to something else. So we always want to be thinking about what that would be. And we want to be thinking about, you know, and we want to be talking about it. Yeah, I'm thinking that I would like this job to lead here. Are there skills I need? Are there you know, is there something I could do to develop myself? Are there people that I should get to know? I said it before that. Think I say it in the chapter and expertise, but it works also for putting your job before your career. I often work with women, I walk in there saying, Look, I really tough, this job is a big learning curve, I'm going to keep my head down, I'm going to learn it. And then I can start, you know, getting to know people partly what they're doing is protecting being seen before they really know how to do the job as if they should be expected to know how to do it. You know, the first day, whereas most successful people I've seen men and women walk in and they say Who do I need to know, to make sure this job is a success. So the who is always right up there with a watch. And, and putting your job before your career. You rarely do that.
Siham ElFakir 26:53
Yeah, I would love to have that in a billboard everywhere for women.
Sally Helgesen 26:59
Now, well, that's very, very resonant. And you know, it's interesting, because so the books been out in three and a half years. And I get more and more interest in that and more requests on that putting your job before your career, which I view as a healthy sign, because I think that's one of the one of the things we want to think about, once we've gotten rid of, you know, some of that reluctance to claim achievements, etc. The other thing is, much younger generation of women tend to have less trouble with claiming achievements, tend to do less expecting others to notice. So that's a healthy thing. And so then putting the job before the career kind of moves into that space.
Siham ElFakir 27:44
Okay, I have, I have a question about how the pandemic impacted, you know, how the pandemic, actually the the pandemic impacted us in so many ways, the way we work the way we relate, and I'm sitting in Paris, you're somewhere in the US, and we are having this conversation. And so how do you see the pandemic affecting women? And what would you change if you happen to write how when how women rise post pandemic,
Sally Helgesen 28:12
there are two ways we want to look at that. On one hand, the immediate impact of the pandemic I think, was very difficult for women, particularly women who have children. Children are being in school, that was really tough. A lot of that fell on women, not being able to have caregivers in your home, whether they were family or paid, also very tough. So I think that that it's been a time of great struggle for women. And I've heard, you know, women's quitting jobs, because they felt that they just couldn't get their company to understand what they were dealing with at their desk, you know, that they were, they had a deadline, but they also were teaching the fourth grade, at the same time. That's tough. Oh, wait a baby in the background. So in that way, it was very hard. I think the long term impact of the pandemic will be very positive for women because the organization's organizations are being forced to accept greater flexibility in work. And even more important than being forced to that they're seeing that there isn't that productivity loss. When people have some flexibility in their job. I've talked to clients who had a terrible time attracting women, because of their, you know, very harsh or rigid policies, around flexibility and more from home and, you know, snow days for kids, you know, sorry, I still have to come in the office. And now they've seen there isn't a productivity loss and they're loosening up and I think that loosening will continue over the next decade. It will continue as the technology gets better, it will continue as people, you know, that's here in the US is, you know, we've got this big the great resignation, people leaving their jobs, they don't want to, they want that flexibility. And a lot of that is people who are saying, I don't want to go back into the office full time. I don't want to I got great work done here. And I don't want to expose myself to the potential of the virus in that way. And no, that's not going to work for me so. So that will put pressure on continue to put pressure on organizations.
Wendy Hanson 30:39
And I'm so happy to hear your positive outlook on that, you know, that we can look at the pandemic and say, there are some good things that came out of this, and that certainly it has changed the way we work and that flexibility piece is so important. And one final question I have, I heard a rumor that you're working on your next groundbreaking book about how men and women collaborate in the new workplace. And that is very exciting. Yes.
Sally Helgesen 31:08
Yes, I am working on rising together is the name of it. It's why I why I named my new newsletter, which premiered two weeks ago, which you got in touch with me about originally was awesome. All right, because, yeah, thank you. Because what I want to do, where I think together is really about, you know, what are the triggers as the structure is a little similar, but what are the triggers that hold men and women back from collaborating at the sort of ultimate level of what they could be. And so their triggers like perceptions around confidence and competence and fairness. And humor can be a trigger the communication habits, visibility there, you know, we got I'm working with eight triggers, and then looking at the kinds of practices that create more inclusive organizations and minimize the impact of these triggers. So that's a book I'm doing now. It is due in April that will be published in February 2023, also by his chef, which did how women rise and is very pleased with how well that has done. So that is very exciting. More, yes. And one of the reasons I started the newsletter all rise, was that I wanted to be able to share some of the insights I was developing on that theme in advance of the book because it's really stirred up a lot of thinking. So the newsletter all rise, which you can, you know, go through to go to my website, just punch, you know, Sally's newsletter, and please subscribe. The newsletter is going to be a vehicle for that, and also for just sharing a lot of, you know, I've got 35 years worth of material writing observations, so it's also going to be an opportunity to, to bring some of that forward, because that's what led me to this path of how women rise and now rising
Wendy Hanson 33:08
together. Yes, yes. And I love your newsletter, and really encourage everybody to go to your website, Sally helgason.com We'll have all that information in the show notes. And I love Sally that you said men are really loving the book how women rise and are you know, it has things that they can do now this next book coming out they'll say Ah, this is my second recipe book for how do I help women be more at work or maybe more successful?
Sally Helgesen 33:37
Got here so that's what I write my recipe
Siham ElFakir 33:47
can I share an anecdote? I used to facilitate some workshop around your book and share it on those the social you know, the social platform and men like an executive one was like, why are you doing this for women? Only we need that we need this. When When are you doing how are women rights for men? So I think your your book speaks to men and women it's there are so many nuggets and insight there.
Sally Helgesen 34:14
There's one other thing in terms of the men and this I heard from the first interview I did I was doing a drive time like 7am radio interview from the hotel room in New York the week the book came out the publication week. And the host said I read this book and I identify with five of these behaviors said this isn't just so I have heard that consistently over and over and and one guy even framed it he said I think this book is really all the habits that got left out of Marshalls first book What Got You Here Won't Get You There? And I told Marshall that and he said that is so spot on. So yeah, it's just broadening you know in what got you here Won't Get You There. Marsha was a drawing From his talent base, or his coaching base, which is, you know, we are hot shots the he is. So this is good for the rest of us, right?
Wendy Hanson 35:08
Well, we are so appreciative that you wrote it and you're gonna work in on an XY light and we will pass the word we'll be talking about this and all of our women's leadership classes and I really think everybody should subscribe to the newsletter and and get the book because it's what we need right now. This is just such perfect information for what we need right now. So thank you so much Sally. We know you have a wild and crazy schedule and thank you for taking time for BetterManager Yes,
Sally Helgesen 35:38
Wendy it's been my pleasure and thank you see how am I really enjoyed meeting you and talking to you and seeing that little bit of Paris out your window
Siham ElFakir 35:49
Thank you, it's my honor.
Wendy Hanson 35:52
Well have a wonderful day everybody go out and make a difference in the world and as women stand up and say what you do you know don't be shy. Yes.
Siham ElFakir 36:02
And I was I was add offer it to offer to your colleagues and friends and, and sisters
Wendy Hanson 36:09
at any holiday holiday present. holiday present birthday presents. The best day ever. Bye bye. Bye bye.