Join Lori Mackenzie for an in-depth discussion in this video The language of leadership, part of Women Transforming Tech: Breaking Bias.
- I love the work of Carla Harris. She talks about the fact that when you're not in the room during critical meetings, people are describing your talent and whether or not you know for example the three words that are most likely to be used describing you when you're not in the room. Do you know what those three words are? Do you know what is most valued in your organization? And do the three words used to describe you match the kinds of talent that is required in your organization to get promoted? So if you don't know what it takes to get be successful first thing is to find out. The second one is to find out how am I described in those rooms when I'm not there? And then to figure out how you can align how you're seen and known in your organization with what it takes to succeed there. One of the challenges for women around success is that due to stereotypes we're more likely to be described through what we might call collaborative or communal words. And that's great. That means you know how to bring people together and build projects. Now, one of the challenges is the stereotypes of success are more aligned around individual success. "I drove it, I led, I did that." So if the stereotypes around women are more aligned with the important collaboration but the stereotypes are often requiring us to be drivers, how do we make sure that we're leveraging how women are often seen with how success is often evaluated? So I often say, "Think about success as being an and." How can you build your platform on being both collaborative and assertive, driving and inclusive? The combination of the two really will align you with leadership of the future and make sure that when people talk about you in those important rooms that how you're seen aligns with success in the organization. There are normally some very important success criteria in every organization. And it turns out I didn't know that. And I was known as a real hard worker, super-analytical, very much heads-down, figuring things out. And I didn't know that to really lean into my promotion that what was required was being a big thinker, strategic, someone who understood the market in the field. So when I was doing a really great job I was somehow missing the mark about being seen as this visionary person. Now, in retrospect I know that you can actually develop yourself along those lines. One of the ways to do so is the kinds of assignments and projects that you take on. So the kinds of a projects that are more aligned with being seen as visionary might be for example a proposal that frames how we're going to move into a new market. For me at Stanford, there was this proposal called 100 and Change where a foundation was giving out 100 million dollars for the biggest idea. And Stanford was going to only present one proposal. And even though I knew we had a very small chance of getting it, I led the project to try to position us as the kind of organization that would be worthy of a hundred million dollars. And by taking on that project, aligning people to it, speaking the vision of what that would take, that helped move me from being known as a very good analytical person to much more of a visionary person. So you can pick projects that move you from what you are good at and got you to where you are to where you need to be in order to get that promotion. We did not get the hundred million dollar project. But later when we applied for a 15 million dollar grant we did get that one. So I guess when they say, "Shoot for the stars "and you'll land at the moon," we wound up with 15 million dollars, which is pretty great too.