I recently spoke to a female leader - also a Mum - whom I very much like and respect.
We were talking about women in management and leadership, and specifically how women who are also Mums are coming through to leadership roles in the Big 4. She said this:
‘We have to accept that there are certain roles working Mums just can’t go for - because of the type of work…because of the hours’.
This woman I was speaking to thought she was telling me the way of it - being realistic.
She’s confused and really wrong.
Here's what she's not doing as a woman in leadership when she believes what she thinks is 'the truth - advocating for other women working in advisory roles coming through to leadership...because she doesn't think it's possible for them to succeed there.
If a Mum and a woman in leadership - a supporter of other women in leadership thinks this - then what realistic odds are working for us furthering the woman in leadership agenda any time soon?
Here's what the woman I was speaking to was believing when she told me what she thought:
The way we do things now is THE way to do things.
This is confused thinking.
Here’s the truth:
The way we work is incredibly inefficient.
We waste hours of time every day to ineffective, poorly planned, unnecessary meetings.
We haven't learned how to prioritise and use time dynamically because we're following norms of time usage which have established by men at work in the last 50 or so years.
Men who had wives at home.
We're looking at how they've been doing it and believing - erroneously - that this is how time should be used at work. Many of us take this one step further in believing that a woman can only move into certain roles if she has a stay at home husband.
We work on a rollercoaster, hurtling through the weeks holding our breaths just to keep up with what we *think* we need to do.
We aren't questioning any of it when we believe this is just the way things are done.
Because of that we're working significantly under our potential.
And we consider it to be ‘normal’.
It’s normal because for most of us, it’s all we’ve ever seen at work.
It’s how we’ve learned to work. It’s the only way we know.
And because most of us have not been taught to question what we think, we aren’t questioning it.
Our believing that how we've had time management modelled for us is the only way to use time is limiting our ability to take our seats at the Table.
We need to reimagine how we think about work; questioning norms of working that have us using our time the way the men who had wives at home, have traditionally used their time.
- Keep a time journal as you go through your day today. Write down everything you do and what you use your time on honestly.
- Think about one thing you'd like to do this week to move the dial on your work goals. 2 BD meetings for example? Do you over-engineer these so that they take up more time than they need to? Are you busy preparing slide decks so as to try to impress them? Question whether or not this is necessary and focus on the actual point of the meeting: How can I show up in service to this person I want to meet and get to know and understand better?
- Get clear on the point of meetings you have in your calendar today. Can you bring that point home in 19 minutes? Why are we scheduling meetings in increments of 30 minutes or 1 hour when 10, 15, 20 minutes would suffice?
- Do you need a meeting at all? Is there another way to achieve the outcome / decision we need here without 5 people around a table for 1 hour? Listen. I've been there. I've enjoyed sitting around a table for 90 minutes with coffee, tea and a plate of biscuits shooting the breeze. What human wouldn't enjoy that? We're paying for it dearly though.
- How respectful are you of your time? How often do you let yourself get distracted by answering the phone when it rings, checking your inbox when it pings, having a minute when someone asks you for one?
Changing how we work begins on the level of our thinking about how we work.
It starts on an individual level and in our heads. Yours and mine. In our thoughts.
Working with a coach is the most effective and transformational way to do this because thoughts to you and me are what water is to a fish. We don't even know we're IN them until we get out of them and see them, so we need someone else to show us our thinking.
If you want to take this work to the next level, I'd like to invite you to schedule a free consultation with me. I'll show you what's going on in your brain right now - what you're actually thinking and how that's playing out for you in how you're showing up in the world.
I'll also give you at least one tip you can take and start implementing right away.
You can book your spot here.