Deborah DeHaas has had an extremely successful career in the professional services industry. . As Vice Chairman and Midwest Regional Managing Partner at Deloitte, her career success is a wonderful example of how women can make it to the top in a male dominated industry. Deborah will share with us today her thoughts about the current status of women in leadership in the U.S. and what she feels contributed to her own success in business. The WIN initiative at Deloitte has been widely recognized for developing and advancing women professionals. We will learn from Deborah more about the WIN initiative and how Deloitte supports emerging women leaders.
Deb is the Vice Chairman and Midwest Regional Managing Partner for Deloitte LLP. In this role, Deb leads the quality, client satisfaction, growth and human resource initiatives in the region. Deb also serves as lead client service partner or advisory partner on a number of the firm’s most significant clients in the Midwest Region. Deb is a member of the Deloitte LLP US Board of Directors. Currently, she is the Board Chair of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and serves on the Boards of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Economic Club of Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago.
Deb’s community involvement and philanthropic efforts have led to her recognition by numerous organizations. Most recently, she received the 2010 City Year Chicago Ripples of Hope Award, the Gerald J. Roper Business Professional of the Year Award, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago 2008 Heritage Award, and the YWCA’s 2006 Outstanding Women’s Leaders Award for Community Leadership.
Deb was recognized by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of seven influentials in Chicago and one of the ten most powerful women in business. She was included in Crain’s Chicago Business “Who’s Who in Chicago”, “100 Most Influential Women” and “25 Women to Watch” lists.
Deb graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Management Science and Accounting.
Sometimes I think we can make things much more complicated than they really are. We analyze and dissect and re-analyze our behavior and the implications of our behavior until we forget our original intention.
I could be wrong here, but I think we, as women, especially professional women, expend a great deal of energy second guessing ourselves. Do you find that’s true for you? Why can’t we just be our authentic selves and act accordingly? Why don’t we believe that if we act authentically it’s enough to be successful?
I recently read a great article by Margaret Heffernan about “What’s the True Test of a Tough Leader?” Margaret tells the story from her own experience of trying to be tough and prove to everyone that she had what it took to lead a company. The article describes a dinner she had with a union boss where she ate the duck’s tongues, chicken’s feet and gizzards he had ordered, to prove to him that she could be tough on negotiating new contracts. Of course, she later realized how foolish she had been. Being tough in this case could have meant being true to herself and signaling the waiter to order something else. Which behavior would have been easier for her to “swallow”? :>)
Margaret’s article speaks to the issue of women trying to play someone else’s game; trying to prove themselves as tough leaders. I think we all fall into traps occasionally when we play someone else’s game in business because we think that we “should” act a certain way to be respected or noticed or promoted. I have read countless books and articles on female leadership, for instance, that speak about what it takes to make it in business, that call for women to learn behavior that is not in alignment with their authentic selves. Will we ever really be successful this way?
The more reading we do; the more advice we receive; the more confused we become and the more we begin to second guess ourselves. First and foremost, we need to believe in ourselves and have the confidence to trust our instincts. Without that foundation of trust, we can be influenced and pulled in so many directions that we lose the focus of where we’re going. Armed with a strong belief in self and a strong sense of our identity, we can then evaluate the advice that bombards us every day and decide whether it works for us. Isn’t this better than turning ourselves inside out to try to change in a way that will never really work for us in the long term?
So how do women in business succeed? How do we become successful in a male dominated culture and still be our authentic selves? First of all, we need to recognize what value we bring to an organization or situation and be confident that our talent and experience benefits the company in a variety of ways. Then we need to think strategically about how to best communicate our value and to whom. One of the major issues I see with my coaching clients is the inability to see what value they bring to the table, either in their job or with their own business. How can you “sell” yourself to others when you don’t understand this?
Connect with who you are and what value you bring and from that position of strength and confidence, evaluate the advice you receive. Don’t play someone else’s game. We can be “tough” by making a connection to our own power and we don’t need to eat duck’s tongues to prove it!
Seth Godin has a new book out called Linchpin in which he talks about our “lizard brain”, that part of our brain that holds all our fears and limiting beliefs. The Lizard brain keeps us from doing our most creative work and often signals us to stay in our comfort zone and not take risks.
This audio is a 45 minute presentation that Seth did in New York last week. He talks about how these fears sabotage us.
I really love the story he tells about an employee he had in his company years ago who never failed at anything he did. He was his best employee, but Seth spoke with him and said if you don’t fail at something soon, you’re fired! Why? Because we all need to stretch and take risks to truly be creative and successful and distinguish ourselves from others.
Listen to the wisdom and let me know what you think. How do you tame your lizard brain?
Prevailing in challenging times is not a question of ability – people are able. Success hinges on opportunity and intention. Opportunity and intention are what football is all about.
Women have gained a great deal at home and at work. We are assertive, but now it’s time to step up the game. No longer are we expected to play nice all the time. Sometimes, a certain roughness is necessary: we need to talk straight, stand our ground, say no, and negotiate everything. As in football, we need to hunker down and get our knuckles in the dirt.
In this humorous and lively discussion with speaker and author Mimi Donaldson, you’ll discover a new appreciation of football strategies. After all, they are the same strategies you have used to get ahead in business and be successful in your personal relationships. Today, Mimi will share the secrets of capitalizing on opportunity and intention to become the ultimate coach for yourself and your team. Then nothing will stand in the way of your win.
She holds a BA in Speech and Dramatic Arts from the University of Iowa, and a M.Ed from Columbia University. She was a staff HR Specialist with Walt Disney Company, Northrop Aircraft, and Rockwell International.
Mimi has been a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government. She was the “pitch coach” on ABC’s American Inventor and coached the contestants to success persuading judges and America.
Mimi is co-author of Negotiating for Dummies. It has been published in six languages and has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Her second book Bless Your Stress: It Means You’re Still Alive! also received great reviews.
Mimi’s new book, Necessary Roughness: New Rules for the Contact Sport of Life, will be published in August 2010. It is about women’s success and football!
The Times Online from the UK, published an article in March called Why Women are Such Bad Networkers.
It’s no good thinking that hard work will get you anywhere. If you want to make it to the top, you’re going to have to overcome your fear of socializing and start schmoozing like men.
Of course, this caught my attention! Is this really true? Is it valid that women have a fear of socializing? Is it a valid point that women don’t schmooze like men? The implication is that men are better at building the social capital to advance their careers.
Let’s take one point at a time. I do believe that many women still feel that working hard is the best way to get ahead. Working hard yet being invisible in your company will not get you anywhere. While you are toiling away in your office long hours, men are working smarter by building social capital within the organization. Though this is a generalization, men do tend to be more visible. They promote themselves better than women. They take credit for their accomplishments and let other know the value that they bring; all this along with doing the tasks at hand. I’ve heard countless stories of women passed over for promotions due to a lack of visibility.
Lesson learned: Consciously put time aside to perform activities in your organization that will bring you more credibility and visibility. As an example, do you always work through lunch? Set aside at least one day a week to set up a lunch with a colleague. Be strategic about who you invite to lunch and widen your circle; increase your web of influence.
Next point: women are fearful of socializing. I do not believe this is true. Women love to socialize and, in fact, excel at building relationships. So what does the author of this article mean? I think the point is that women socialize differently than men. When it comes to building social capital to advance their careers, men are more direct.
In the article, Liz Cable, a social media expert, says,
I think when women hear the phrase ‘social network’, they hear social. Men hear network….Women are not promoting themselves in the right way. Many of them are slipping under the radar because they are afraid of people they don’t know saying no, either in person or online. Men don’t worry so much about rejection – they just go for it.
Despite 84 percent of users on the main social networking sites being female…twice as many men as women are likely to approach an unknown contact from an online network for business purposes’
Interesting statistic. Do you believe this is true? I’m not sure where the facts come from, but the point is still a good one.
Lesson learned: Widen your social circle online as well as in person. Make it a point to be more strategic about your online connections and contact people who will be able to build your business or increase your visibility in some fashion. It’s nice to accept invitations from others to connect online, but you can also be in control of who is in your network. Everyone who wants to be your “friend” online, may not be your best choice of a network contact. Do your own searches. Request introductions. Take the time to strategically build your network. Don’t leave it to chance.
I personally do not believe that women fear socializing. I just had the opportunity last week to do a presentation at the eWomen’s Network Boston Metro West chapter. Many of these networking organizations are now taking a different approach to the meetings in that they are facilitating networking by structuring activities that force women to connect, introduce themselves, and ask for what they need from others. I think this is great practice for women and I wondered to myself as I was participating in this exercise, if the dynamics of the meeting might change if men were present.
The author of the Times article expresses her point of view on women’s networking events,
In a business world still dominated by men, networking solely with other women is not much use.
There are many networking opportunities for women. For women who need practice promoting themselves and pitching their businesses, this is great. If your target audience is women, this is a great venue. However, I think we, as women, need to be more strategic with in person networking as well.
Lesson learned: Expand your networking events to include those events that have both men and women to build the social capital you need to advance your career and build your business. Be visible in your community through charity events. Volunteer to manage committees or projects at work that will help you stand out and then, of course, take the credit when you are successful.
Women are great at socializing but I think we need to be more strategic about how we network, who we include in our social networks, and how to promote ourselves to create the credibility and visibility we are need to advance our careers and build our businesses.
I would love to hear your thoughts on women and networking. Are we good at it?
It is a fact that most people do not respond well to change and trying to influence others and initiate positive change in the workplace is often a huge challenge. If it’s true that the most effective leadership comes from listening to your emotions, expanding your cultural awareness, and working more positively and collaboratively, how do you turn these goals into real results? Today, my guest is Jean Kantambu Latting, author of Reframing Change. Jean will share with us practical tips and concrete examples for putting new ways of thinking to work in an organizational setting. Jean’s insight and advice is invaluable to leaders, middle managers, and management students.
Dr. Jean Kantambu Latting is an organizational consultant, teacher, researcher, coach, and author. As Co-Director of Leading Consciously and Professor Emeritus at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston (UH), Jean specializes in helping people capitalize on their strengths so they might better accomplish their goals.
She currently teaches a graduate course in leadership and is well-published in professional and scholarly journals. She is co-author of the book: Reframing Change: How to deal with workplace dynamics, influence others, and bring people together to initiate positive change.
Jean has over 20 years of consultation, coaching, and teaching experience. Her specialties include leadership development, workforce diversity, organizational change, and conscious use of self.
Jean holds a doctorate in health administration with an organizational development specialization from the University of North Carolina and an MSW from Columbia University.
Sometimes I look back on the earlier days of my business career and wonder how I managed to raise two children as a single parent and still maintain and advance my career; most of all, I wonder now how I maintained my sanity and how I managed to focus any attention at all on work. I think my children, now grown and successful in their own right, turned out pretty good, and my career flourished as well, but it was not without an undercurrent of stress and guilt, and a constant juggling of babysitters and after school programs.
With this experience behind me and the knowledge that work/family balance is an ongoing challenge for most women, I applaud the White House conference on flexibility in the workplace for the attention it has brought to the topic.
The Economic Office of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a 35 page report , Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility, which addresses not only the need to create flexible solutions for work, but also the benefits to companies who embrace these initiatives.
According to the report, there is a greater need now for flexibility in work than ever before. Why? because women now make up almost half of the labor force in the United States. The majority of children now are raised in households where both parents work. Another key factor is that more adults are attending school.
The report also states that flexible work environments can vary tremendously by gender, race, work status, education, and industry. Flexible hours and location of work were considered.
The most impressive section of the report focuses on the economic benefits, the business case, for companies that provide flexible work solutions. These companies experience a decrease in employee turnover and absenteeism along with an increase in productivity and the ability to attract new talent to the organization.
With these types of statistics behind us, women now need to take the lead to move these initiatives forward in their own work environments. It’s time to speak up and rally the troops. Flexible work solutions benefit men and women as well as companies.
How do you dress for success in today’s work environment? It used to be simple; a suit, stockings and heels. Now a professional image at work can include many different styles. Today’s guest, Lori Ann Robinson, an image and fashion consultant, will guide us through the process of choosing appropriate attire no matter what our age, profession or body type. Lori will give us tips on how to dress for success in different workplace environments and how to portray the right image to help advance our careers.
LORI ANN ROBINSON is a Los Angeles-based image and fashion consultant, a four-time Emmy-nominated costume designer, author and speaker. Lori Ann’s fashion and image consulting focuses on matching personality, lifestyle, and body type to today’s clothing styles. She coaches her clients on how to use body language to support their professional goals and aspirations. Lori Ann’s style tips and image expert advice have appeared in local and national publications, including Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She frequently contributes to fashion magazines, books and blogs. As a fashion commentator, she has appeared on radio and national television including The View, SoapTalk, Pure Oxygen and E!,. Lori Ann is the author of Pearls of Wisdom: The Art of Successful Dressing, a specialty booklet designed to help people avoid serious dressing and fashion mistakes.Her clients include: Macy’s, Morgan Stanley, AIG SunAmerica, Paramount Pictures and Disneyland Resorts.
A recent report, Tearing Up the Rule Book: A New Generation of Leaders for 2010, from Aspire and Customer Interpreter measures Leadership Intelligence. This measurement assesses what is important today for leadership success. The results of the research are impressive. What has been traditionally classified as more “feminine” traits emerged as the preferable leadership style to take us into the future.
The study, which surveyed 300 global business leaders from 30 countries, cited that,
transformational behaviors such as thinking long term, teamwork, empowerment and effective community, are now highly valued.
This “softer” side of leadership has often been downplayed in the past and even considered detrimental to a woman’s career, and women have struggled with how to adopt the more “male” leadership style of “command and control” in order to be successful in business.
The report states:
Based on the research, the best leaders tend to be female and they tend to improve with age and business or parenting experience.
Isn’t this a breath of fresh air? Women have worked for years to advance their careers in male dominated industries and have met with resistance time and again. We have been told that in order to succeed, we had to be more aggressive and “male” in our approach to management and office politics, and this behavior never felt quite right.
According to the report, a successful leader must:
- have excellent communication skills
- be flexible
- create a vision for their team even if it doesn’t exist at the corporate level
- empower their teams
- operate at the highest integrity
- prioritize their family and personal life
In my recent radio interview with Dede Henley, we also discussed the New Brand of Women Leaders, as those women who are embracing their femininity and using it as part of their leadership strategy.
The shift to embrace more feminine styles of leadership is definitely happening now. Perhaps this shift is due to recent financial and political events. However, the message is clear that it is time for us to connect with, and not deny, our innate qualities of leadership, self confidence and power to not only advance our own careers, but those of our female peers.