Wendy Samson & Curt Swenson, Senior Consultants & Catalyst Growth Coaches
FutureSYNC International has spent many years decoding “Gravitas and Meaningful Influence” to the degree that it has become the central theme for our women at work programs through The Rocky Mountain Center for Women in Leadership (RMC-WIL).
Let’s begin this investigation by posing some provocative questions:
Let’s consider the following Case Study from our “3-Q Impact Leadership Development Program”:
Ann and Bridgette are both employed at the same Fortune 500 Company. Both women enjoy their jobs, consider themselves engaged employees, and have a shared desire to earn more credibility.
Ann is a former prom queen who was voted “Most Likely to Succeed”, and she took it to heart. She was a collegiate athlete and president of her sorority while earning a Master’s Degree with a 4.0 GPA. She is currently working in middle management in her organization and carries labels like “Effective”, “Efficient”, and “Innovative”.
Ann’s presence in her company spills over into her personal life as well. She is a staple at social and community events and is quickly recognized when she walks into the room. She knows she can always “win a table” at local restaurants and has contacts throughout the community.
Lately, she has been feeling out of the loop when it comes to the real business conversation. More importantly, she has noticed that other women in her organization are invited to participate in critical strategic assignments. Her male colleagues enjoy her company, but generally steer the conversation towards more of a personal or social interaction. She feels as though they do not challenge her like other women in the company and rarely engage her in professional discourse.
When it comes to working with female colleagues, she has learned to be hypersensitive. Teasing or joking easily offends them when it comes from Ann. She is unsure how to navigate her way through her situation to gain more credibility.
Although Bridgette has a different set of circumstances, she has the same goal as Ann: more credibility. Bridgette is intellectual and has often skipped social events to focus on academic endeavors. Graduating high school as valedictorian and later Summa Cum Laude in college, she has worked her way to the top research position in the Fortune 500 Company.
The behavior of her colleagues has caused her to do some serious self-reflection lately. She is invited into decision-making conversations where her solutions and innovations are constantly challenged. A considerable amount of time is wasted in meetings by questioning her thoughts and ideas. She notices that some of her female counterparts, whom she considers to be more attractive, are granted instant rapport with the males in the office. She acknowledges that she is out of the social loop where important business alliances are often formed. Bridgette is left confused and frustrated and, most importantly, unable to see a path to gain professional credibility.
So, the question is who has more influence: Ann with her instant rapport, access, and social advantages or Bridgette with her obvious professional discourse, intellectual prowess, and invitations to the decision-table? Both women are operating with advantages and disadvantages. Most importantly, both women lack Gravitas and have failed to distinguish their Professional Value Proposition with intent.
What three strategies would you give each woman to guide her towards her goal of professional credulity?
To learn more about The Rocky Mountain Center for Women in Leadership (RMC-WIL), contact our office at 406-254-2326 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are now open for the next “3-Q Impact Leadership Development Program” scheduled for January-May, 2018.