Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sticky Floors Will Getcha!

SD Forum Headliner

Rebecca Shambaugh of SHAMBAUGH Leadership

I attended a very interesting Business Book Breakfast Club event put on by the SD Forum. The breakfast meetings are hosted by Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP - Certified Public Accountants at their building next to the Robert Royston Wall Street Journal Building at the corner of Foothill Expressway and Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. Somehow I managed to drive by these buildings on the way to work at Hewlett Packard almost every day for over a year without knowing they were there.

Anyway, the speaker, Rebecca "Becky" Shambaugh walked us through the high points of her book, It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success
It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor

The gist of it was that there are two sets of challenges facing women in management.

One, the things women can't do anything about such as ingrained sexism and the old boys network. Factors that make up the Glass Ceiling. These are forces out of the scope of her talk and book.

Two, the things women do have control over and can actively work on to improve their career situations. From what I understood, because of the way girls and women are socialized, certain behaviors put us at a disadvantage in the work world. Stumbling blocks such as the resistance to ask for what we want/deserve/earned or avoiding jumping into high risk work challenges unless we're sure we'll succeed. The so called sticky floor.

Of course Ms. Shambaugh gave us only a teaser of different areas and potential workarounds. With the invitation to buy the book or take one of the SHAMBAUGH program workshops or take advantage of a personalized Coaching Development program. Fair enough. I'm game. I'll probably pick up the book and read the details when I have the chance. Though I'm mentally kicking myself for not having a copy there, during the workshop, so I could get it signed.

Another helpful tip is Becky's Blog. Some of the content in the book is serialized on her website for free. Can't beat that.

I'm really looking forward to checking out the post on Queen Bees.The blog discusses the topic of why Baby Boomer women haven't set up a version of The Old Girls' Network. Why women in management seem to prefer to be the one and only special girl rather than mentor and groom younger women to fill their ranks. Or even to tolerate having many female peers around. Of course, talking in generalities. I'm sure there are probably senior women managers out there who "lift as they rise." The law of averages say they have to exist.

I haven't been blessed enough to run into many do gooder, career management mentors who are women. Especially in my industry, technology. When I've heard about professional business or technology women manager mentors who feel driven to share their wisdom, the target group to receive their mentoring always seems to be "younger" than me. I feel as if Generation X is not considered worthy of giving a hand up or something.

The presentation was described as:
Rebecca Shambaugh, President and CEO of SHAMBAUGH Leadership, will address the burning business issue of why we are not seeing more women in senior executive and leadership roles today. The real obstacles, which she cites and backs up with recent research, lie not only within traditional organizational barriers but right below a woman’s feet – the sticky floors.

In this forum, Rebecca Shambaugh, founder and CEO of SHAMBAUGH, a pioneer in the field of leadership development for women, will share her organization’s recent research regarding both current trends and best practices for advancing women in their careers. Having just completed an intensive research study with key executives in Fortune 500 companies, Becky will present SHAMBAUGH’s key findings and recommendations and add some of her own insights from the interviews she conducted for her recently published book, It’s Not A Glass Ceiling- It’s A Sticky Floor, published by McGraw Hill. Her advice to women on how to get from where you are to where you want to be in your careers is both valid and practical!

Discussion Topics:

* Now Is The Time - Business Case for Women in Leadership
* SHAMBAUGH’S Research
* The Sticky Floors – What They Are and Which Are Stopping You
* Some Tools and Techniques for the Sticky Floors

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