To move up the corporate ladder, you must be someone who’s “recognized and trusted”, than just being “the busy bee sitting in the corner room”.
According to popular study, it is believed that corporates with women have better profitability. But what is most important is how to recruit women talent, train them and most of all retain them!
Looking at how women are perceived in the corporate world today, we must first look at stereotypes. Pretty? Yes, also a mother. Proud? Don’t know, but should be perhaps. Accept some of the things about yourself. Yes, you do look pretty, presentable and value some of those good things that you bring to life. It’s even worse to try and do reverse on stereotypes, don’t try to be a super human being, you are not a super man or woman. However, there are certain irrational biases that exist about women. May be women are not good at reading maps and doing mechanical things, but they are wonderful team makers! They are better sniffers than men, that’s why they can prepare for the uncertainties of tomorrow.
Men may like to proceed in the fashion of A, B and C, but women can see the problem in its entirety. If you look at the Chinese symbol for women, it represents talking. Yes, women can talk and make quick connections, and these are connections that hold out for them.
The devil lies in details; women are meticulous and lost in detail. That’s has been the trend for many years. We must recognize that no matter how good the broad strategic plan is, irrespective of its approval from the management board, if business has to succeed, it has to work, deliver results and the customer has to be satisfied.
Women can see a wider spectrum, they may be poor at keeping secrets, but that also talks about transparency.
Treading the tight rope. People don’t talk about this in general; women are considered either too soft or too strong. A lot of time has been spent in proving that women are highly competent over and over again. I am being courageous in bringing this out and help you move forward. If you don’t recognize the problem, you’ll never end up resolving it!
The second-generation bias definitely exists! Sometimes, we come across these gender specific jobs. If women want a working place in the corporate world, they need to go into line functions. What’s important is to take charge, than managing relationships all the time. It’s important for women to step into revenue making positions, not just relationship management.
We must remember it’s not about taking care, but about taking charge. These are some of the traps women should recognize and move forward. Organizations demand that if you were to be a senior leader, you should be available 24/7. Organizations need to focus more on value creation, than value capture.
Talking about traps, how many of the women in this room believe that they are doing well because they are well educated and they work very hard?
(Audience response: All hands rose up!)
Studies indicate that women are meritocracy based; most women say that they work hard that’s why they perform. Men say that knowing people is equally important, as it is to work hard. When global CEOs want to place a CEO in India and consult their HR directors, who do you think they end up picking?
Somebody they know. Somebody who can be trusted, while there are nine others who are equally good!
It’s important for women to recognize that it is not a dirty game. While you are very good at what you do, more people in the organization need to know that. So, don’t be a busy bee, build a lot of those relationships using your connections. Talking about women managing between their corporate and family life and juggling between responsibilities, fortunately, in India we are very well blessed, as we have good family values. Women have the benefit of a huge ecosystem that is supporting them. Women must recognize that they are important. They need to invest in themselves. There’s something called the “me time”. In between managing a stressful job and kids, it’s important that women connect with their inner self.
It’s important to push yourself intellectually, push yourself to build deeper emotional contact.
Develop yourself as a holistic human being. It’s about the heart, mind and soul.
Even touch the spirituality within you.
It’s possible to be your own architect, feel happy that you have so many things around you and move forward with that thought
Love what you do, engage deeply. It’s meditative. Meditation is about being deeply involved. You are meditating when you are engaging deeply.
The three key factors – courage, confidence and compassion.Celebrate life. None of this would be worthwhile, if you didn’t enjoy every bit of everyday. It’s important to keep a strategic perspective and a strategic approach for your own growth and development. Someone said, you should dress two levels up, don’t dress to your level! It’s important to lead from the front. The world is changing everyday. It’s digitized. Women have greater chance to participate with greater connectivity, a small change makes a big impact and the world is about co-creation.
Technically today, you can hear seven billion voices; there is a globality of mindset, competition lies everywhere. There is no one standard best practice. Because of the multi cultural diversity, population are getting younger, as people are getting younger, the older population are being called elder not older, anymore.The world has changed. It’s about creativisation, not commoditization. It’s about being open and about being diverse. The old hierarchical structure cues have also changed.
Sangeeta Talwar is the Managing Director at NDDB Dairy services & Former Executive Director at Tata Tea India – Tata Global Beverages. This is an excerpt from her key note address at AIMA’s 6th National Conference on ‘Developing Women Business Leaders’.