The Goldilocks Syndrome for Women Speakers

I gave my First TEDx Talk in Stuttgart this spring. The expe­ri­ence was a BIG stretch and I even­tu­allyTed X Talk Occupy Bear's House will write about the lessons I’ve learned.

After coach­ing 4 speak­ers for the TEDx­Lyon last Novem­ber, I wanted to “walk my talk” and fully expe­ri­ence what it was to design, pre­pare and deliver a TED for­mat Pre­sen­ta­tion. It’s a real “heroine’s jour­ney” and you’d bet­ter be pre­pared! I can only rec­om­mend you to go for it and share what you care for with the world.

Here it is: Occupy the Bear’s House, or The Goldilocks Syn­drome for Women Speakers.

And my keynote pre­sen­ta­tion on Sliderocket:

My grat­i­tude goes for the fan­tas­tic team in Stuttgart who orga­nized the whole event and espe­cially to Dirk Haun who trusted me and asked me to speak at TED.


Want More Women in the Leadership Pipelines?

Time to shift!! Explor­ing diverse role mod­els to pull more women through lead­er­ship pipelines, using an inte­gra­tive model of man­age­ment, based on both per­son­al­ity and cul­tural differences.

How? By pro­mot­ing a wide range of lead­er­ship styles, reflect­ing diverse moti­va­tional pref­er­ences, or work val­ues, diverse choices influ­enced by indi­vid­ual and cul­tural differences.

Finally by under­stand­ing 6 fun­da­men­tal man­age­ment dilem­mas, based on our evo­lu­tion­ary roots: Self-enhancement ver­sus Con­sid­er­a­tion for oth­ers and Sta­bil­ity ver­sus Change.

Want to pull more women in the lead­er­ship pipelines?

Rec­og­nize the com­plex­ity of human nature! Teach young MBAs to dance with dilem­mas and embrace diver­sity and complexity!

Give GenY women man­agers new and diverse role mod­els! Hire women on boards!

Give GenY women a pos­i­tive and “kaleidocope-like” rep­re­sen­ta­tion of lead­er­ship and power in the board­rooms! Not mono-chrome, mono-culture, mono-generational, northern-western-patriarchal, white baby-boomers, con­ser­v­a­tive, short-sighted, control-focused.


To Be Present or Not to Be Present? And How To Know the Difference…

What do we expect most from  pre­sen­ters? To grasp our atten­tion, to catch us by the qual­ity of their pres­ence and to make us remem­ber them. To make a last­ing impres­sion and to feel con­nected with them. (Like this frog. Hmm, or maybe not…, any­way, it’s mem­o­rable!) To be fully present. Here and now. What does it mean for each of us? How does it look, sound and feel like when we are present and when we are NOT present? How to develop this “Pres­ence”? This is going to be a  short new series of posts. Today,  I will focus on iden­ti­fy­ing “pres­ence” and intro­duce you to the woman who inspires me most in my work, every sin­gle day, Patsy Roden­burg.

The most pre­cious gift we can offer oth­ers is our presence.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Try­ing to grasp pres­ence is like catch­ing but­ter­flies…I have been research­ing this theme of pres­ence for years and observ­ing what makes one per­son stand out from another when speak­ing in pub­lic. Yes­ter­day, I was attend­ing a pas­sion­ate con­fer­ence and debate on the con­tro­ver­sial theme of men-women equal­ity in Lyon. Guest speak­ers were among the best in their field, all sea­sonned experts and strongly com­mit­ted to engage with the large and eager audi­ence. Yet, as I observed them one after the other, I couldn’t help notic­ing the huge gaps between them, in terms of qual­ity of pres­ence. It was imme­di­ately reflected by the inten­sity of the applause and the level of inter­ac­tion with the audience.

What’s the secret? It’s the quest of the Graal for every­one embark­ing on a jour­ney of devel­op­ing excel­lent pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Some call it charisma and  believe that you either have it or not, which is pretty dis­cour­ag­ing for the aver­age ordi­nary presenter…

I am con­vinced that each of us is born with a beau­ti­ful nat­ural pres­ence that awaits to bloom.

When mind­ful­ness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

There again, — Thich Nhat Hanh

We sim­ply un-learn how to man­i­fest it when we grow up. Just like bold­ness, which I devel­oped in last week’s post, we don’t know any­more how to express our com­mon human gift of pres­ence. Read “Re-learning to be Bold”. Fear of judge­ment, fear of rejec­tion, inse­cu­rity, fear of expos­ing one’s self “naked”, vul­ner­a­ble are among the main rea­sons why we lose this presence.We can all re-learn to man­i­fest and develop our pres­ence. First, we need to know the dif­fer­ence between being present and not being present.

One woman has devel­oped a sim­ply fan­tas­tic approach to pres­ence. Her name is Patsy Roden­burg. She’s Britain’s most esteemed voice and act­ing coach. Rodenburg’s busi­ness is to iden­tify and har­ness “Pres­ence.” She has worked with all these famous actors:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, Hugh Jack­man, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGre­gor, Nicole Kid­man. Patsy Roden­burg has helped them  iden­tify what she calls the “Sec­ond Cir­cle” zone, where pres­ence really takes place.

To live life to its fully Sec­ond Cir­cle poten­tial, you really need to allow your­self to return to the pos­i­tive pres­ence you were born with”

Here’s a short video where she demon­strates the three cir­cles of energy and explains what it means to be in the sec­ond cir­cle, the give and the take of being present.

How do you know when you are in the sec­ond circle?

You are in Sec­ond Cir­cle if you:

  • Feel Cen­tered and Alert
  • Feel your body belongs to you
  • Feel the earth through your feet
  • Feel your breath is easy and complete
  • Know you reach peo­ple and they hear you when you speak
  • Notice details in oth­ers — their eyes, their moods, their anxieties
  • Are curi­ous about a new idea, not judgmental
  • Hear clearly
  • Acknowl­edge the feel­ings of others
  • See, hear, smell, touch some­thing new which focuses this energy inside the whole of you

From Patsy Rodenberg’s book, The Sec­ond Cir­cle.

In my next posts, I will pro­vide exam­ples of speak­ers who are speak­ing from this sec­ond cir­cle and also explore the dif­fer­ent approaches accord­ing to gen­der, espe­cially in busi­ness rela­tion­ships. If you have been read­ing my post on the Goldilocks syn­drome in pub­lic speak­ing, you can see the links between the soft, almost apol­o­giz­ing “too cold” voice and the first cir­cle and the aggres­sive, con­trol­ling “too hot” voice with the third circle.

I believe both men and women need to find their own bal­ance, their own voice, which is nei­ther hyper fem­i­nine, nei­ther hyper mas­cu­line, but a “right” mix­ture of both dimen­sions, accord­ing to their per­son­al­i­ties and to the con­text. Both women and men need to learn to speak each other ‘s lan­guage and invent a new lan­guage of power. That’s really what coop­er­a­tion would mean for me, between men and women at work. Engag­ing a real dia­logue, not a fight for one’s gen­der and priviledge.

That was one of the con­clu­sions of yesterday’s debate on coop­er­a­tion between women and men at work. Gen­er­a­tion Y man­agers and work­ers are fed up with the sound and the look of power today. Young women don’t iden­tify with women lead­ers as “mas­cu­line” role-models. What’s new is that young men also reject the dom­i­nant “macho” cul­tural model and are look­ing for a diver­sity in the ways to express their mas­culin­ity and even­tu­ally, a new model of Power and Leadership.

We are not inter­ested by power the way you’ve built it.”

(“Le pou­voir tel que vous l’avez con­struit ne nous inter­esse pas.” )

- Car­o­line Weber. HEC au féminin.

Men want to be able to say I don’t know. But we are going to find solu­tions together”

Men want to be able to express their suf­fer­ing and even be able to cry.”

Men want to break free from the norms of the masculinestraitjacket.”

(“Les hommes veu­lent pou­voir sor­tir du car­can des normes masculines.”)

–François Fatoux, Directeur général de l’ORSE  (Obser­va­toire sur la Respon­s­abil­ité Socié­tale des Entreprises)

I expect plenty of com­ments and reac­tions to this post! Please share your thoughts and ques­tions with us, it will also feed the next posts.

What would the new voice of power look?

Posted in FINDING YOUR VOICE, PUBLIC SPEAKING | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Why Women Should Stop the Chameleon Dance at Work

CameleonYou’ve now all heard of this expres­sion, the double-bind for women. It has become very pop­u­lar in the busi­ness lit­er­a­ture. We’ve grown used to the idea that women, in order to sur­vive in the cor­po­rate jun­gle, dom­i­nated by an archaic pater­nal­is­tic value sys­tem, need to live with this double-bind and accom­mo­date by any means. A Stan­ford report proudly claimed to have found the solu­tion, cer­tain women high in “mas­cu­line traits” — defined as aggres­sive­ness, assertive­ness, and con­fi­dence — were also able to “self-monitor” their behav­ior. Stan­ford Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, Olivia O’Neill, 2011.

“These women were able to be chameleons, to fit into their envi­ron­ment by assess­ing social sit­u­a­tions and adapt­ing their actions accordingly”

What we tend to for­get, is that the double-bind the­ory applied to schiz­o­phre­nia and that putting peo­ple under double-bind sit­u­a­tions is the best way to make them crazy. So the Chameleon dance may well be a very dan­ger­ous one.

What has trig­gered this post is an arti­cle by a BBC news sci­ence reporter “Psy­cho­pathic crim­i­nals have empa­thy switch”.When I read it, it imme­di­ately rang a bell. Where did I hear the exact same expres­sion “switch”? Bingo! In ForbesWoman  : “Stan­ford Finds the Secret Switch for Women’s Suc­cess”. Is the secret for more women in the lead­er­ship pipeline to morph them into psy­cho­pathic cor­po­rate crim­i­nals? It’s a provoca­tive asser­tion, but we need to pay atten­tion to the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of advis­ing women to turn into chameleons.

The double-bind the­ory, para­dox­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and schizophrenia.

Let’s come back to the ori­gins of the double-bind the­ory. I first heard about it when I was study­ing for my Mas­ter in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming in France , back in 1988, with Jane Turner, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist. I’ve since become pas­sion­ate about how it applies, espe­cially for women in the workplace.

“ The the­ory of the double-bind was ini­tially for­warded by a group of indi­vid­u­als, Gre­gory Bate­son, Don Jack­son, Jay Healy and John Weak­land, in the paper Towards a The­ory of Schiz­o­phre­nia (Bate­son, Jack­son, Haley, & Weak­land, 1956). It was based upon their inter­sect­ing work at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity between 1952–1954 in the fields of anthro­pol­ogy, psy­chi­a­try, bio­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion and genet­ics and on epis­te­mol­ogy ema­nat­ing from sys­tems the­ory and ecol­ogy. The mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach of Bate­son was reflected in the work of other col­leagues at the Men­tal Research Insti­tute at Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia. There Paul Wat­zlaw­ick, Janet Beavin and Don Jack­son worked with the com­plex­i­ties of human com­mu­ni­ca­tion — one of Bateson’s cen­tral con­cerns — and devel­oped his work on the double-bind and para­dox­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion (Wat­zlaw­ick, Beavin, & Jack­son, 1967).”

On how it is still rel­e­vant today , read The Double-Bind The­ory, Still Crazy-Making After All These years.

How does this double-bind work and apply for women’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion at work?

If you’d rather lis­ten to a story and watch a video, here’s my TEDx Stuttgart talk about the Goldilocks Syn­drome for Women Speak­ers.

In this post, I wanted to come back to the roots of this per­vad­ing syn­drome and artic­u­late the mech­a­nism at play.

The essen­tial hypoth­e­sis of the dou­ble bind the­ory is that the ‘victim’—the per­son who becomes psy­chot­i­cally unwell—finds him or her­self in a com­mu­ni­ca­tional matrix, in which mes­sages con­tra­dict each other, the con­tra­dic­tion is not able to be com­mu­ni­cated on and the unwell per­son is not able to leave the field of interaction.  

A recipe to make peo­ple crazy

Gre­gory Bate­son writes in Steps to an Ecol­ogy of Mind — ‘Toward a The­ory of Schiz­o­phre­nia’ — (P.206–208):

The nec­es­sary ingre­di­ents for a dou­ble bind sit­u­a­tion, as we see it, are:

1) The involve­ment of two or more per­sons, one of whom may be called a victim

2) An expe­ri­ence which recurs a num­ber of times

3) A pri­mary neg­a­tive injunc­tion, in which a com­mand is made by an out­side author­ity with the threat of pun­ish­ment for non-compliance

4) A sec­ondary injunc­tion, which con­flicts with an ele­ment of the first mes­sage but is of a dif­fer­ent, usu­ally more abstract, log­i­cal type, i.e. some type of meta-communication. Like the first injunc­tion, the com­mand is enforced by pun­ish­ment or sig­nals that threaten survival

5) A third, neg­a­tive injunc­tion that means that the vic­tim can­not leave the “field”.

Now, how does this recipe apply to women in lead­er­ship roles?

1) You take a clas­si­cal con­text of hier­ar­chy  with one up, one down and sev­eral other play­ers. The woman man­ager, despite all her attrib­utes of for­mal power, is depend­ing upon her senior man­ager, 93% of the times, a man, and sev­eral other man­agers, up or down in the cor­po­rate lad­der, but all hold­ing con­flict­ing visions about women and power. So the woman man­ager plays a “pivot” role, in other words, a puppet.

2) You repeat the expe­ri­ence. The double-bind is a recur­rent theme in the expe­ri­ence of women at work. It has become a “leitmotiv”.

3) A pri­mary neg­a­tive injunc­tion. For exam­ple “Do not express vul­ner­a­bil­ity or emo­tions at work , or you will not be taken seri­ously, and I will not give you the pro­mo­tion you think you deserve,” or “If you do not dis­play assertive traits, you won’t have a promotion.”

4) A sec­ondary the sec­ondary injunc­tion  which con­flicts with an ele­ment of the first mes­sage but is of a dif­fer­ent, usu­ally more abstract, log­i­cal type. This is com­monly com­mu­ni­cated to women by non­ver­bal means. Pos­ture, ges­ture, tone of voice, mean­ing­ful action, and the impli­ca­tions con­cealed in ver­bal com­ment may all be used to con­vey this more abstract mes­sage. It can be a pro­tec­tive pater­nal­is­tic tone, com­fort­ing and appar­ently benev­o­lent. Like the wolf dressed up as Grand-Ma in the Red-Riding-Hood Some­thing like “We know you are a very skilled and High-Potential woman, but”, or “Do not see this as a dis­crim­i­na­tion against women”, or “Do not assume we are not a gender-balanced friendly com­pany, but there’s no way you will get that pro­mo­tion being so assertive and unman­age­able”. The under­ly­ing mes­sage asks you to be a good girl, wait for the reward and do not make waves.

5) A third, neg­a­tive injunc­tion that means that the vic­tim can­not leave the “field”. Or that women are trapped in the labyrinth by get­ting para­dox­i­cal injunc­tions like “learn to fit in” (or, more recently and famously, “to Lean In”), to speak up in meet­ings, take credit for your accom­plish­ments, ask for what you want, take risks, learn to say no, to inter­rupt AND, at the same time, act like a Lady, be fem­i­nine, intu­itive, soft-spoken and coop­er­a­tive. Fit in but don’t act like a man! “Don’t leave the com­pany, you won’t be able to sur­vive on your own with the finan­cial cri­sis.” “Don’t leave us or you will fall in the mommy’s track”. “Or again, “Don’t Opt Out, Lean In and every­thing will be all right”.

exasperated mature woman breaking down So. What’s the way out?

Step One: Aware­ness. First, become aware that if we want to retain tal­ents and have women thrive in lead­er­ship roles, we must imme­di­ately stop send­ing them con­flict­ing injunc­tions and pre­tend that it’s just up to them to suc­ceed. There is no mag­i­cal “switch” and being our­selves is already tricky enough not to try to behave dif­fer­ently, accord­ing to oth­ers expect of us.

Step 2: This is not a women’s issues. Let’s flip the prob­lem and see the impact on men. We’d bet­ter have a look at how the work­place has already been mak­ing a mess with men’s men­tal health and emo­tional bal­ance and shut­ting them from their emo­tions, from their intu­ition and accel­er­at­ing the home and work­place divide. Read Stew Friedman’s  remark­able arti­cle in the Har­vard Busi­ness Review, Men: Win at Work by Lean­ing In at Home.

“Help­ing men to be more active at home, if that’s what they want, makes good busi­ness sense. It’s wise to encour­age employ­ees to engage in dia­logues with impor­tant peo­ple in their lives and to exper­i­ment with small changes that can enrich their fam­i­lies, enhance their engage­ment with their com­mu­nity, and improve their health — all while enhanc­ing your bot­tom line. By mak­ing it eas­ier for men to live more whole lives, employ­ers are indi­rectly con­tribut­ing to paving the way for the women in their lives to give more of them­selves to their work and careers. And chil­dren — the unseen stake­hold­ers at work — win, too. We as a soci­ety are all the beneficiaries.”

Step 3: Encour­age small changes and fos­ter rip­ple effects.

We need to see more balanced-leadership styles among our top lead­ers. Men and women must learn to embrace the so called “fem­i­nine” traits and be respected as whole human beings. This is the Now Lead­er­ship approach, I’ve devel­oped with Dr Anne Per­schel. What is very strange, in the Stan­ford exper­i­ment, is that the study found no ben­e­fit to men for being “chameleons” ��� oper­at­ing in both mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine ways at appro­pri­ate times. It might be because it only looked at lead­er­ship through the mas­cu­line lenses. The skills observed here were assertive­ness, com­pet­i­tive­ness and con­fi­dence. But what if we had ana­lyzed and mea­sured skills like “inspir­ing inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity” or “fos­ter­ing trust”, “build­ing and man­ag­ing net­works”, “be com­fort­able with ambi­gu­ity” ? These are one of the core lead­er­ship skills iden­ti­fied for the 21st cen­tury lead­ers in Go Where There Be Drag­ons , Lead­er­ship essen­tials for 2020 and beyond.

Let us rein­vent the lead­er­ship of the future. Now. Stop the chameleon dance and start design­ing a new dance-floor. Why not try Tango, for a change?


3 Lessons from Indra Nooyi on Women and Public Speaking

What Indra Nooyi is telling women, over and over again, is very sim­ple, yet so powerful.

  • “View your­self from the inside as an equal” = first build your con­fi­dence from the inside out. Build your self-confidence mus­cle. Cre­ate pos­i­tive men­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of your­self as an assertive and grounded woman. Check the beliefs you have about your­self and replace neg­a­tive ones by strong and pos­i­tive ones. Recall your expe­ri­ences of suc­cess before you enter a meet­ing room
  • “Sit down, sit at the table and speak with con­fi­dence”= take up your place, phys­i­cally as well. Do not shrink. I love the shrink­ing vio­let metaphor! Straighten up, hold your head up, relax your shoul­ders, open your chest, and breath fully. On the impact of “power pos­ing”, see Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Amy Cuddy’s super­pow­ered talk.
  • “We have to draw the shrink­ing vio­lets out” = encour­age other women to stand out, speak up and shine. Make sure women’s some­times qui­eter voice can be heard and vio­lets blos­som and come into the light. That’s a beau­ti­ful way to describe what I do for a living…

Indra Nooyi has always been a source of inspi­ra­tion for me regard­ing lead­er­ship and women. I have writ­ten many posts fea­tur­ing Indra Nooyi’s lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion style, her story , her posi­tion on quo­tas and her five “C” s of suc­cess (back in 2009). In From Madras to Yale, danc­ing with dilem­mas, I tell her incred­i­ble heroine’s jour­ney. Every time she makes a pub­lic appear­ance, she has some very sound advices to give to women at work, and this last one is focused on my own mantra: SPEAKING UP.

Here’s the tran­script from the short video. Appre­ci­ate the sim­plic­ity and the humor!

 It’s very impor­tant that when you make a point in a meet­ing, you make it with con­fi­dence. One big les­son I’ve learned, watch­ing the men, just as a study in soci­ol­ogy, even when they don’t have much to say, they say it with con­fi­dence.
“I mean it in a pos­i­tive way. I’m not say­ing it in a neg­a­tive way. Women will make a great point but they say it softer and almost sort of shrink in the back­ground.
Sit down, sit at the table and speak with con­fi­dence.
That’s half the bat­tle won. And if you really view your­self from the inside as an equal, the whole dis­cus­sion gets eas­ier. So I think there’s one thing we can do for each other, is if you find some­one becom­ing a shrink­ing vio­let, call them, say come on, you’ve got bet­ter points than any­body else, par­tic­i­pate in the dis­cus­sion, speak up, don’t be so quiet.We have to draw them out.”

Your turn: do you see your­self as a shrink­ing vio­let some­times? Why? What tips can you share on how you over­came it? Have you helped other women to stand out and speak up? Next time you notice some­one strug­gling with speak­ing out, encour­age them gen­tly and firmly. Take them “by the hand”, with your voice, with the way you look at them, give them all your atten­tion and really put them under the light.

 Indra Nooyi and Irene Nativi­dad advise women look­ing to suc­ceed in busi­ness to speak up, with con­fi­dence. From their dia­logue at the 2013 Global Sum­mit of Women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (June 8, 2013)


How to End the Public Speaking Gender-Gap? Not by “Fixing” Women

HidingDo you refuse oppor­tu­ni­ties because you will have to speak in public?

Do you com­pare your­self with oth­ers unfavorably?

Do you see your ideas taken by other people?

Do you feel invis­i­ble, ignored, silenced?

If you are a woman, you are more likely to have expe­ri­enced most of the sit­u­a­tions men­tioned above, espe­cially the two last ones. I am based in France, and here’s a recent arti­cle about the sit­u­a­tion of women jour­nal­ists from Les Echos national news­pa­per: “We feel we are invis­i­ble, ignored, denied” (“Nous avons l’impression d’être invis­i­bles, ignorées, niées.” )

How to end the public-speaking gen­der gap?

As an exec­u­tive coach and trainer, I am very often asked to give quick fix and mir­a­cle tips for women regard­ing pub­lic speak­ing. It’s very tempt­ing to jump on the oppor­tu­nity to give away some “secrets” and sim­ple ways to make women feel more assertive and con­vinc­ing. They exist and they actu­ally work very well. Yet, it’s very tricky and counter-productive. It rein­forces the stereo­type of the so-called “weak” lan­guage only women use and doesn’t adress the root of the prob­lem. I still have not found a sat­is­fy­ing way out. I do give more and more con­fer­ences and facil­i­tate num­bers of work­shops on “women’s issues” at work regard­ing lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, but I some­times feel like I am invited as the “fix­ing women” coach. This post’s title may be one the ways out. Not focus­ing on women but on bridg­ing the gap. Men also would ben­e­fit from step­ping into a more bal­anced com­mu­ni­ca­tion style, mak­ing the best of both Yin and Yang, peo­ple and results,  rea­son and intu­ition oriented.

I am con­vinced that the way out of this absurd and archaic sit­u­a­tion will have to come from a multi-level strat­egy and not by focus­ing only on “fix­ing” women. It will come both from social and indi­vid­ual change. They go hand in hand. Regard­ing the social change, the work­place must become gender-bilingual and adapt to the 21st cen­tury global, multi-generational  and con­nected work­place. It requires a shift in rep­re­sen­ta­tions of what gen­der roles truly are (socially con­structed mainly), a rise of female role mod­els in all the streams of soci­ety: sci­ence, arts, pol­i­tics,  cor­po­ra­tions and medias and from a whole new edu­ca­tion model. It will start with edu­cat­ing boys and girls to be both sen­si­tive and strong.

“We need not wait to see what oth­ers do…”

Mean­while, on the indi­vid­ual level, each woman and each man has the power to change the way she or he is per­ceived when she or he speaks up. It starts with very sim­ple and basic behav­ioral changes. And it can make ripples…

“If we could change our­selves, the ten­den­cies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the atti­tude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what oth­ers do.”      Gandhi

Posted in FINDING YOUR VOICE, GENDER, Gender Balance, MEN, PUBLIC SPEAKING, WOMEN | Leave a comment

E’ Pericoloso Sporgersi or Why Lean In Doesn’t Translate Globally

it is dangerous to lean out

Lean­ing in may lead you into lean­ing out and even­tu­ally falling if you export Sheryl Sandberg’s empow­er­ment bible out of Cor­po­rate America.

Why does it touch me?

As an inter­na­tional exec­u­tive coach and trainer in lead­er­ship and pre­sen­ta­tion skills, I have been guilty, in the past, of want­ing to preach the same man­i­festo as Sheryl Sand­berg. It’s a very good one, pos­i­tive, action ori­ented, empow­er­ing women to assert them­selves and speak with a pow­er­ful voice. I too believed that women needed to strengthen their con­fi­dence mus­cle, speak up, speak out and sit assertively at the males’ cor­po­rate board.

I very quickly dis­cov­ered, thanks to the inter­na­tional exec­u­tive MBA classes that I have been teach­ing at EM Lyon, as early as in the 90s, and then at Cran­field School of Man­age­ment until now, that lead­er­ship, power, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion took many dif­fer­ent shades across the cul­tures, across the gen­er­a­tions and depend­ing also on indi­vid­ual pref­er­ences and per­son­al­i­ties. I just could not teach the same way to Renault Samsung’s South Corean exec­u­tives, or Chi­nese Gen Y women entre­pre­neurs, or L’Oréal’s Brazil­ian exec­u­tives, just to name a few. Adding to that mix the cor­po­rate cul­ture plus the con­text, the map­ping of the stake­hold­ers, you sim­ply real­ize that no lead­er­ship size fits all!

Sheryl Sandberg’s lean in should be manda­tory for young pro­fes­sion­als, either men or women, at the first stage of the learn­ing. With the men­tion: “Be care­ful, only applies in cor­po­rate america!”

Body­build­ing ver­sus Zen Leadership.

It would be the equiv­a­lent of Body Build­ing for Lead­er­ship. You prac­tice and prac­tice weight-lifting and your mus­cles become harder and big­ger.  You grow self-confidence and you have the sat­is­fac­tion to fit in the anglo-saxon dom­i­nated man­age­ment cul­ture. Then, the best would be to “unlearn” these behav­iors. To stop and watch the world around you. To travel, live abroad. To learn new lan­guages and under­stand other people’s point of view. To chal­lenge your stereo­types and assump­tions. To learn to shift and adapt depend­ing on the cor­po­rate cul­ture you’re in, depend­ing on the dif­fer­ent national cul­tures, depend­ing on the mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions you’re deal­ing with at work, depend­ing on your own val­ues and moti­va­tions at work. That would be the Yoga of Lead­er­ship. The Zen of Lead­er­ship and Communication.

What’s in it for YOU?

Change is hard. Adapt­ing is tough. You can learn it on your own, via mis­takes, trial and errors, but you sel­dom are given a sec­ond chance. You need to embrace lead­er­ship as a global mind­set and get coach­ing from a global and open perspective.

This is why I’m an advo­cate for the SPM pro­fil­ing tool, rep­re­sent­ing 12 styles of lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion styles. Learn­ing to dance with dilem­mas.

Sheryl Sandberg’s role model typ­i­cally fits the Achiever, the Per­suader, the Pio­neer. They are 9 other styles, which you can dis­cover here. For Asia, the Mod­er­a­tor or the Main­tainer would be much more appro­pri­ate for example.

As multi­na­tion­als con­tinue to pivot towards the Asia-Pacific, with its grow­ing mid­dle class and hence grow­ing num­ber of highly edu­cated women, Ms Sandberg’s man­i­festo needs a cul­tural makeover. Bet­ter to embrace her aspi­ra­tional pitch, add some Chi­nese wis­dom, a pinch of humil­ity with a broader per­spec­tive, before spread­ing the gospel. If her goal is to impact half the world, she can­not talk the same as she does from her perch in Sil­i­con Val­ley.” Jane Horan.

Read Jane Horan ‘s arti­cle on why Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In may not res­onate in other parts of the world, and espe­cially not in Asia.

The Amer­i­can mas­cu­line ideal is not the Map of the world, but only a small part of it.

a man's world
” take this man­i­festo global, we need to re-define lead­er­ship, re-examine work and re-evaluate careers. We need to think and act inclu­sively. This means includ­ing work­ing women (not just the top tier) in the pic­ture, and much more engage­ment of mul­ti­cul­tural and multi­gen­er­a­tional work places. Jane Horan.

Thanks to Ali­son Maitland.


alison maitland tweetAli­son Mait­land wrote with Avi­vah Wittenberg-Cox the best seller Why Women Mean Busi­ness. She’s also the author of Future Work, how busi­nesses can adapt and thrive in the new world of work. I found Jane Horan’s arti­cle thanks to her tweet.



Follow-up Table Ronde BPW Lyon L’Egalité salariale en Europe

Que retenir de notre pre­mière table ronde BPW européenne jeudi dernier à Lyon?


C’est un sujet qui pas­sionne et attire, à la fois par les chiffres sou­vent ahuris­sants qu’on décou­vre encore, que par les retours d’expériences et les his­toires vécues des unes et des autres, de part le monde.

Nous avons eu l’ambition de se faire croiser des cul­tures nationales (Suisse, France, Italie, Pologne, Roumanie), trois niveaux de généra­tions (Baby Boomer, Gen X et Gen Y), le monde de l’entreprise, des ONGs,  ainsi que du ser­vice pub­lic et du monde politique.

Equal Pay Day pic

De gauche à droite: Anne-Claire Mialot, (Lab­o­ra­toire de l’Egalité), Cathy Savioz, (BPW Suisse), Kasia Hein-Peters, (Sanofi Pas­teur), Ruxan­dra Boros, ( O.I.T Turin, Genève, Paris), Lorella Pignet-Fall, (IAE Lyon, ALPADEF) et Pas­cale Joan­nin (Fon­da­tion Schu­man), dont je vous ai parlé dans un bil­let précédent

Merci à Céline Schillinger pour sa présence,  son live tweet (@celineschill, avec @corynenicq, merci!) )  et sa photo!

Un grand BRAVO à Kasia Hein-Peters qui a courageuse­ment relevé le défi de faire sa présen­ta­tion en français, qu’elle ne pra­tique que depuis peu de temps. C’était limpide et édi­fi­ant sur les dif­férences cul­turelles entre la Pologne et les Etats-Unis, ainsi que sur le style de lead­er­ship pra­tiqué dans les grandes entre­prises internationales.

Nous en retenons aussi que 7 invités pour 2 heures de table ronde c’est leur don­ner trop peu la parole. “Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint” comme dirait mon papa… Cha­cune aurait pu nous tenir en haleine pour la soirée!

Espérons surtout que cela vous aura donné envie d’en savoir plus et de vous impli­quer vous aussi pour cette lutte essentielle!

Mon meilleur feed­back a été celui de ma fille, 28 ans, qui venait pour me faire plaisir, mais se déclarant pas vrai­ment con­cernée, car encore étu­di­ante et ayant surtout l’expérience du volon­tariat et du WOOFING. Elle a été fascinée par les his­toires racon­tées par nos expertes, leurs témoignages reflé­tant tant de cul­tures et de par­cours de vie. Elle a aussi beau­coup appré­cié l’équilibre donné avec les faits et les chiffres, ainsi que les out­ils. C’est elle qui m’a demandé de lui rap­peler cer­tains chiffres qu’elle n’avait pas pu noter. C’est un peu pour elle aussi, et pour sa jeune soeur de 15 ans, que je tiens à ce que ces femmes engagées pren­nent la parole.

Voici la présen­ta­tion de Cathy Savioz,  l’une de nos 7 speak­ers, réu­nies pour notre table ronde jeudi 18 avril à Lyon, organ­isée en parte­nar­iat avec BPW Lyon, Le Lab­o­ra­toire de l’Egalité, La Fon­da­tion Schu­man et la Ville de Lyon.

Down­load (PDF, Unknown)


Cathy Savioz , Board Mem­ber BPW Switzer­land ‚ Equal Pay Day Ini­tia­tive, c/o web pub­lisher and media relations.

Anne-Claire Mialot a partagé ce film édi­fi­ant du Lab­o­ra­toire de l’Egalité avec nous et nous a parlé aussi de son expéri­ence dans le ser­vice pub­lic. Dans la Haute fonc­tion publique en France: 7% des préfets et 9% des ambas­sadeurs sont des femmes.

« Les femmes, on con­tinue à s’asseoir dessus ou on change pour de bon ? »


Thérèse Raba­tel nous a rejoint par la suite, avec des chiffres alarmants.


Thérèse Raba­tel nous a rap­pelé que nous avions ten­dance à nous focaliser sur les classes priv­ilégiées, les cadres et les prob­lèmes de pla­fond de verre, quand nous devri­ons aussi nous pencher sur les dif­fi­cultés extrêmes vécues par les femmes, avec le “plancher col­lant” et aussi la dom­i­na­tion des femmes par les femmes, sujet tabou…

Les iné­gal­ités salar­i­ales Femmes-Hommes, pourquoi? Elles s’expliquent par les stéréo­types certes, mais aussi sys­tème économique basé sur un rap­port de force, con­tre les plus fragiles.

Les acci­dents de tra­vail en France (2000 à 2010): –21% pour les hommes mais +23% pour les femmes.”

Dans un prochain bil­let, je vous par­lerai de Ruxan­dra Boros et de Lorella Pignet-Fall, ainsi que son invité sur­prise, Anissa.


Toute l’équipe de BPW vous remer­cie chaleureusement

d’avoir par­ticipé à la soirée de l’Equal Pay Day jeudi dernier

La fédéra­tion Busi­ness & Pro­fes­sional Women, locale­ment à tra­vers votre club de Lyon est engagée depuis plus de 80 ans pour l’égalité pro­fes­sion­nelle femmes-hommes et une meilleure représen­ta­tion des femmes dans la vie économique, au plus haut niveau. A Lyon, nous tra­vail­lons sur 4 axes prin­ci­paux : le développe­ment du lead­er­ship féminin, les femmes entre­pre­neures, les Youngs (moins de 35 ans), et les admin­is­tra­tri­cesindépen­dantes  grâce à un parte­nar­iat avec l’IFA, pour aider les femmes à accéder aux con­seils d’administration.

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Follow-up Equal Pay Day in Europe

What can we learn from our first Euro­pean panel regard­ing Gen­der Equal­ity at work last thurs­day in Lyon?

It’s a sub­ject which attracts, pulls and pas­sion­ates peo­ple, as well by  the stun­ning fig­ures we still dis­cover with awe, as by the shar­ing of expe­ri­ences and per­sonal sto­ries of each of these speak­ers, across Europe, across the world.

Our ambi­tion was to mix national cul­tures (Swiss, France, Italy, Poland, Roma­nia), three genera­tions (Baby Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y), the cor­po­rate world, the NGOs, the pub­lic sec­tor, pol­i­tics and think tanks.

Equal Pay Day pic

From left to right: Anne-Claire Mialot, (Lab­o­ra­toire de l’Egalité), Cathy Savioz, (BPW Suisse), Kasia Hein-Peters, (Sanofi Pas­teur), Ruxan­dra Boros, ( O.I.T Turin, Genève, Paris), Lorella Pignet-Fall, (IAE Lyon, ALPADEF) et Pas­cale Joan­nin (Fon­da­tion Schu­man). More on BPW Lyon’s  part­ner­ship with Fon­da­tion Schu­man in a pre­vi­ous post here.

Thanks to  Céline Schillinger for her pres­ence,  her live tweet (@celineschill, with @corynenicq, merci!) ) and her pic!

A big round of applause for Kasia Hein-Peters who has bravely decided to deliver her pre­sen­ta­tion in French, although she’s still learn­ing the lan­guage. It was clear and bril­liant, intro­duc­ing us to the cul­tural dif­fer­ences between Poland and United States, in terms of gen­der bal­ance at work, as well as lead­er­ship styles in big inter­na­tional companies.

We also bear in mind that  7 guests for a 2 hours evening round table is not ambi­tious, it’s un real­is­tic! We would have liked to hear each one of them develop fur­ther and answer all of the audience’s questions.

Let’s hope this evening has increased your level of aware­ness, given you the desire to learn more and to become involved !

My best feed­back has been the one I received from my daugh­ter, 28 year old, who admit­ted she came just to please me, because she didn’t feel con­cerned, still a stu­dent and hav­ing mostly expe­ri­enced vol­un­teer work and  WOOFING. She told me she has been fas­ci­nated by the sto­ries shared by our experts, reflect­ing so many cul­tures and life’s jour­neys. She has also very much enjoyed the bal­ance between facts and fig­ures, as well as tools. She was the first one to ask me for the data, she didn’t have the time to take it down. It’s very much for her, and for my youngest daugh­ter, 15 year old that I make sure these tal­ented  women speak up.

Down­load (PDF, Unknown)

Here is Cathy Savioz’s pre­sen­ta­tion, one of our 7 speak­ers, gath­ered for the Equal Pay Day in Europe Panel. Cathy Savioz is Board Mem­ber of  BPW Switzer­land ‚ Equal Pay Day Ini­tia­tive, c/o web pub­lisher and media relations.

Thérèse Raba­tel joined us shortly after, with some strik­ing figures.

rabatelThérèse Raba­tel reminded us that we were focused on glass-ceiling and equal pay between exec­u­tives when we should also take care of the “sticky floor”.

Gen­der gap in salaries, why? Explained not only by stereo­types, but also by an econ­omy based on a power rela­tion­ships against the most fragiles.”

” Alarm­ing facts about the evo­lu­tion of work injuries in France: –21% for men, but +23% for women.”

More about the sto­ries told by Ruxan­dra BOROS and Lorella Pignet-Fall and her sur­prise guest in another post.


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Towards More Women in Europe?

Is the future of women in Europe a sub­ject you are inter­ested in?

Towards more women in Europe?

Click on the visual to enlarge

Pas­cale JOANNIN will be one of our guest speak­ers tonight, for the Equal Pay Day in Europe ‘s event, orga­nized by BPW Lyon. You can still join us for this free con­fer­ence and debate here.

100622_joannin_150_100_01Gen­eral Man­ager of the Robert Schu­man Foun­da­tion, Pas­cale Joan­nin is a Lec­turer at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), for­mer audi­tor of the Insti­tute for Higher National Defence Stud­ies (IHEDN), she is the author of “L’Europe, une chance pour la femme”, Note by the Robert Schu­man Foun­da­tion No22, 2004. She co-directed with J-D. Giu­liani “ L’Atlas per­ma­nent de l’Union européenne”, Lignes de repères, 2012.

Here is the arti­cle Pas­cale Joan­nin has just pub­lished.  This text has been pub­lished in “The Schu­man Report on Europe, the State of the Union 2013”, Springer Ver­lag Editor.

You can find it also in French: Vers une Europe plus fémi­nine? (le 12 mars 2013 dans Les Echos)

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Table ronde sur l’ Égalité Salariale en Europe avec BPW Lyon

equal pay day red bag

BPW Lyon vous invite demain, le 18 avril à 18h30, à rejoin­dre notre table ronde, dans le Vieux Lyon, à la Mairie annexe du 5ème.

Nous réu­nis­sons un panel excep­tion­nel de femmes, actri­ces de l’égalité, ayant une expéri­ence inter­na­tionale, sou­vent une dou­ble cul­ture, qui vien­dront  témoigner de leur vécu,  de leur engage­ment ainsi que de leur

vision d’avenir pour l’égalité pro­fes­sion­nelle en Europe.


Venez nom­breux appren­dre, décou­vrir de nou­veaux points de vue et échanger avec elles!

Table ronde ani­mée par Mar­ion Chap­sal et Françoise Moreau, vice-présidente et sécré­taire générale de BPW Lyon.

Témoignages de femmes engagées, d’ici et d’Europe:


Pas­cale Joan­nin, Direc­trice Générale de la Fon­da­tion Robert Schu­man, le “French Think Tank” en Europe, intro­duira le sujet et nous apportera sa vision glob­ale sur les ques­tions d’égalité pro­fes­sion­nelle et salar­i­ale Femmes-Hommes en Europe.

Cathy Savioz, représente le Cen­tre de liai­son des asso­ci­a­tions féminines genevoises (CLAFG) à la Com­mis­sion con­sul­ta­tive de l’égalité entre homme et femme du Can­ton de Genève . Elle est aussi mem­bre du Comité cen­tral des BPW Switzer­land , a été Prési­dente de BPW Genève, et  coor­di­na­trice romande Equal Pay Day.
Son atout: Vision de l’avenir, per­spec­tives pos­i­tives pour l’Europe.

- Ruxan­dra Boros Con­sul­tante et for­ma­trice inter­na­tionale en égal­ité Femmes-Hommes. Ruxan­dra enseigne auprès de l’ENA et HEC à Paris et IOMBA à Genève et réalise des for­ma­tions en genre pour le BIT au cen­tre de for­ma­tion inter­na­tionale de l’OIT de Turin.
Son point de vue croise l’Europe, les Etats-Unis et l’Océanie.

Kasia Hein-Peters, Direc­trice Mar­ket­ing Global pour la Dengue chez Sanofi Pas­teur. Citoyenne du monde, adepte des approches inno­vantes, elle est pas­sion­née par le lead­er­ship inter­cul­turel et le « evidence-based » coach­ing. Elle partage son « rap­port d’étonnement »  par rap­port à l’Europe. Avec le triple point de vue Pologne, France et Etats-Unis. Le choc des cultures !

- Lorella Pignet-Fall, Pro­fesseur asso­ciée à l’ IAE de Lyon en charge du pro­jet man­age­ment respon­s­able. Elle a fondé et dirige le pro­gramme SHARE, pour favoriser l’égalité, la mix­ité et le dia­logue social dans les entre­prises et les organ­i­sa­tions, ainsi que ALPADEFAlliance Panafricaine pour le Développe­ment de l’Entrepreneuriat Féminin. Avec le dou­ble point de vue inter-culturel et inter-générationnel.

Thérèse Raba­tel: adjointe au Maire de Lyon, déléguée à l’égalité hommes-femmes, aux temps de la ville, et aux per­son­nes en sit­u­a­tion de hand­i­cap, nous fera part de son expéri­ence pour la Ville de Lyon et aussi au Grand Lyon.

Anne Claire Mialot, mem­bre du con­seil d’administration du Lab­o­ra­toire de l’Égalité, experte sur l’égalité pro­fes­sion­nelle dans la fonc­tion publique, partagera la cam­pagne du Lab­o­ra­toire pour lut­ter con­tre les stéréo­types grâce à un court film.


Cécile Dekeuwer, Prési­dente du club BPW Lyon, présen­tera les WEPWomen Empow­er­ment Prin­ci­ples, édic­tés par l’ONU en coopéra­tion avec BPW Inter­na­tional pour que les entre­prises s’engagent sur l’égalité pro­fes­sion­nelle au niveau mondial.

Soirée suivie d’un moment con­vivial d’échange autour d’un verre. iStock_000000888136XSmall (1)

Quand et jusqu’à quelle heure? de 18h30 à env­i­ron 21h00, 21h30

Où? Mairie annexe du 5ème, Vieux Lyon, 5 place du petit collège,(à côté du musée Gadagne ) 69005 Lyon

Prix: Entrée libre et gra­tu­ite, sur inscrip­tion ici



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Gender Pay Gap in Rhône Alpes

A very explicit one minute movie about the gen­der pay gap in our region, as we’re about to launch our Euro­pean Panel on Equal Pay Day with BPW tomor­row in Lyon.
Come and join the discussion!

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Cadeau de bienvenue, et de retour!

red present boxVoici mon pre­mier “arti­cle” depuis l’été dernier et il est en français.
C’est un cadeau, une feuille de route, d’auto-évaluation pour vous aider à pré­parer votre prochaine présen­ta­tion.
Depuis sep­tem­bre 2013, j’ai repris mes etudes à l’université– sujet du prochain bil­let– et cela a com­plète­ment bouleversé mes habi­tudes, en par­ti­c­ulier en ce qui con­cerne mon blog. Blo­quée, en arrêt sur image depuis juin 2012!
Bien que j’utilise encore beau­coup l’anglais, mes clients sont essen­tielle­ment français, et mes études se font aussi en français. Je vais donc écrire AUSSI pour mes lecteurs fran­coph­o­nes!
Un pre­mier bil­let sous forme de cadeau, à télécharger à votre guise, pour faciliter votre pré­pa­ra­tion.
Je viens de créer, en anglais et en français, un eBook Recettes Pour Réus­sir Votre Prochaine Présen­ta­tion, et je vous pro­pose de goûter un échan­til­lon!
Nous savons tous que la clé pour réus­sir nos présen­ta­tions, c’est la PREPARATION.
Com­ment faire quand on est seul face à son PPT ou son texte et que la pres­sion monte? J’ai com­pilé pour vous les meilleures astuces glanées au cours des cen­taines de coach­ing et de for­ma­tions en prise de parole en pub­lic, au cours des for­ma­tions que j’ai suiv­ies avec Garr Reynolds, sur mes blogs favoris anglo-saxons sur les présen­ta­tions et les lec­tures d’innombrables d’experts, dont Denise Grav­e­line, Olivia Mitchell, Andrew Dlu­gan, Chip Heath et Dan Heath, Max Atkin­son, Carmine Gallo, Nancy Duarte en pas­sant par les stu­dios PIXAR, Hergé et Joseph Camp­bell!
Avoir sous la main une check-list pour s’auto-coacher!
La voici:

Down­load (PDF12KB)

Cadeau, à imprimer et con­som­mer sans modération!

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