As a father of two ambitious teenage girls, I am living the “be bold for change” dream every single day of my life. My wife and I consciously model unconventional behaviors and encourage our daughters to be bold for change as well. Together, we have pushed back on societal norms and expectations to socialize them in a gender-neutral manner. Needless to say, it is a collective conscious task to do so.
At work, both as an employee and a leader, I passionately believe in inclusion. I have made a conscious effort to acknowledge my biases and have done my best in erasing those. I constantly challenge the traditional assumptions about what men or women can or cannot do. I have intentionally hired people for roles that typically don’t align with the stereotypes. At times, this has involved persuading others to see my point of view. That women make up half the planet and bring a different perspective, are views I resonate with. Why should we miss this fabulous opportunity to improve our bottom line results?
Going forward, I would like to see two things happening more in our organizations. One, women coming forward with no hesitation, restraint, or fear to ask for experiences that align with their aspirations. I know it may not be easy for many reasons. They may think they are not qualified, not believe in themselves or assume that they are not going to be ‘really’ heard. Perhaps this is what they may have experienced in the past. But, I would highly encourage them to try again.
Two, I would like to see more men taking more active responsibility in this conversation. Take that ask seriously and do all you can to execute that. Not give a ‘nice’ diplomatic response but treat it as a personal goal for themselves. As the majority in the workforce, men have the responsibility to move the needle forward on women advancement. Boldly and bravely, take a leap of faith when the person under consideration doesn’t resemble them or the predecessor in that role. Data shows that women are conscientious and take personal ownership on their deliverables. More likely than not, the outcome will be positive and exceed our expectations. And if by chance, things do not go as predicted, change the situation. A role is not for life, is it?
We are constantly reminded that we are a part of a digital and a disruptive world. We need to imbibe the same out of the box/disruptive ideas in our thought processes and actions as well in reference to this subject. We need to make this gender parity issue personal for our families and for the sustainable future of our organizations. As men, we are able to give our 24/7 because many of us are blessed to have supportive spouses at home. We need to reciprocate the same personally and also by building a supportive culture for our women employees who may not necessarily have that luxury at home.
With more girls graduating from universities, globally, our potential talent pool is going to mimic the same. It is time we take bold steps to leverage that opportunity to our advantage. Our recruitment, performance, succession, and promotional practices need to keep up with the changing times to ride this very wave. I ask each of us to pick one goal to demonstrate our commitment to be bold for change.
General Manager – Retail
IPSD Power Generation