Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Elephants Can't Change...

Although I've been out of corporate America for more than 10 years now, I sure appreciated all the stories in "Elephants can't change... but Leopards Can" by Michelle Griffin. Lots of familiar stories that I think anyone who has experienced life in a large corporation can relate to -- a real life study of organizational dynamics.

My suggestion for "Real Women -- Real Careers" readers? Trying to whip an elephant who is stuck in his ways can be really difficult and will sap your energy. When you're in career transition look for organizations that are nimble, forward thinking and quick -- not slow, lumboring and in the "that's the way we do it here" rut.

If you get a chance, read thru Michelle's book - I think you'll like it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Inspirational Leadership - How My Mom Inspired a Whole Troop of Girls

My Mom was my brownie leader. She organized the crafts. She volunteered to pick up the patches at the scout shop. She still isn't much of a singer, but she taught us all those special brownie songs. She helped us recite the brownie promise at the close of each meeting.

She got all of us girls to really believe in ourselves that when we chanted the phrase "twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I looked in the water and saw... myself!" When we glanced down at the pine branches laid around the mirror, we really were transformed into someone who can do anything. She gave us the confidence to try new things and make a difference.

And over the years, our troop did. We cleaned up the overgrown corner lot in our town, throwing away trash, trimming back all the weeds and planting petunias. We visited the shut-ins in the nursing home. We camped in the woods and cooked on buddy burners made of 3 lb coffee cans and tuna cans with cardboard and wax.

As we grew from Brownies to Juniors to Cadettes, so did our activities. We traveled to the capital. We helped organize events for the younger scouts. We saw plays. We earned badges. We took photos and cemented friendships. We created scavenger hunts for the younger scouts with watermelons as the prize at the end. We learned leadership skills like mentoring, planning, encouraging and collaborating.

My mom volunteered hundreds of hours to the girls in our troop. She taught us leadership by letting us try it on one step at a time. And now, many years later, if you surveyed those dozen girls, you'll find women who have grown up to become leaders in a wide variety of roles including business, government and health care (and scouts too.) And now we are passing it on to the next generation.

Thanks Mom, for igniting the spark of leadership in all of us!

Check out more stories of how moms have inspired leaders the week of July 28th at Workplace Wisdom

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Women's Role & Progress in Careers

the glass ceiling
British Museum
Originally uploaded by vividBreeze

This is an interesting story about Women in Traverse City, Michigan as profiled on CBS Sunday Morning on May 14, 2006.

Read about Women - smashing the glass ceiling or watch/listen to the video - Smashing the Glass Ceiling.

In the video and the transcript, the survey conducted in April 2006: WOMEN: WORK, FAMILY AND FEMINISM is refered to with work/life balance issues like:


Need to -- 75%
Want to -- 13%

I find that hard to believe... but maybe because I would have selected "want to" instead of need to... What do you think? Do most women work because they need to or want to?