If you have an interest in advancing women’s leadership in the corporate sector or perhaps advancing your own career, you should read McKinsey’s latest report, Changing Companies Minds about Business.

This important report speaks to the fact that there has been little progress of women to senior leadership and board positions in corporate America despite what appear to be significant initiatives to do so.

What are we missing? Why despite a solid business case tying women’s leadership to improved bottom line performance are we still stuck? Is anyone listening?

There is still much to do to change the invisible barriers that still exist and according to the McKinsey report, it’s not an easy task to change the mind set of managers that block the way for women’s advancement. Much of this bias towards women still remains under the covers.

Some companies have been successful in changing their corporate culture. Companies such as Pitney Bowes, Time Warner and Shell have taken what McKinsey calls a “hard edged” approach with specific metrics and targets. These initiatives started and supported from the  top are changing the work environment with clearly defined goals and accountability. The efforts of these companies demonstrate that to affect real change a consistent targeted approach is necessary.

What can we do? The McKinsey report recommends “making it personal”.

Make no mistake. As a senior executive, you are already influencing your company’s approach. If you’re not paying attention to the issue of women’s advancement, you’re ensuring that things won’t change.

Women need to support and sponsor other women to the top.

The report also cites the importance of building a business case about the positive impact women are having in your organization, “whether hard business results or indirect results, such as building better teams”.

Build a business case for yourself.

You can take responsibility for your own credibility and success by understanding what value you bring to the organization, your contribution to business results, and learning how to communicate this to key people within your organization.

Take the McKinsey example. Do you build better teams? What that means to the organization is these teams are more productive and directly affect net income by completing more projects each quarter. Or maybe, these teams are also loyal as well as productive and therefore, are less likely to resign. This means the company spends less on employee acquisition and training.

We all need to do our part to help advance women in the workplace if we want to affect change. We also need to take responsibility for our own advancement.

This fall, I am starting two new projects to help women advance their careers and successfully navigate the corporate environment. GPS Your Career Day and GPS Your Career Group are both designed to help you uncover and understand the value you bring to your organization as well as effectively communicate your value to key people.

GPS Your Career Day is an intense full day program and GPS Your Career Group is a 6 week group coaching program. Both are limited to 10 participants.

If you are interested in learning about one or both of these programs, please email me. I am in the process now of finalizing the plans for the launch.

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