Guest post by Suzanne Doyle-Morris (learn more about Suzanne at the end of this post)
Since my book Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman in a Male Dominated Field has been published, I’ve gotten one of two reactions from people. A “wow, just what we need right now” sense of immediate enthusiasm, mostly from women who work in professional services or a crossed arms “what’s the hidden agenda?” reaction from a few.
Interestingly, of those who have actually read the book, most people –male and female- can recognize elements of their own career path in the stories of my executive coaching clients and successful senior women I interviewed at a range of organizations, including Microsoft, PwC, Deloitte and the University of Cambridge among others. Like the women interviewed, most readers can recall the moment they realized there is little promotion for the unsung hero in a team. One male interviewer jokingly recalled with clarity the moment in his career when he began to recognize he got much more kudos for being the person who presented the slide show and then took the client out for lunch, than as the person who painstakingly worked on the PowerPoint presentation until late into the night before.
While it has been pointed out to me that Beyond the Boys’ Club has applications for professional men, it’s been my experience as an executive coach that men are just quicker to recognize that savvy relationship building, strategic risk-taking, and claiming credit and presenting your own ideas are the quickest ways to the top. It’s just how “the game” is played.
As Lis Astall, European Managing Director of Accenture, explained in her interview about her early working years: ‘I worked longer hours than anyone else before I realized it was not accomplishing anything I wanted—just more work. Instead, I became better skilled at realizing which projects were worth the hard work — and which were not.’
At what point did you realise that it was no longer enough to just deliver great work and that you had to “help” others see your value?
About the Author
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, PhD is an author, academic, entrepreneur, international speaker and accredited executive coach specializing in strategic career development and leadership coaching for high-potential executive women. She is International Coach Federation accredited and is one of the world’s top experts on gender equality, diversity in the workplace and career progression for executive women. A native of Washington DC, Suzanne has lived and worked in four countries and her niche expertise has an international perspective, relevant for today’s flat-world marketplace. She is currently based in the UK and has coached executive women within Microsoft, Cisco, UBS, Barclays Wealth, University of Cambridge, Trinity College Dublin, Clifford Chance, O2 and Coca Cola Hellenic.
Suzanne has always been fascinated by stories of successful career women. She has a BA in Women’s Studies & Psychology. She received her MPhil and subsequent PhD in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge in the UK. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the career experiences of women working in male-dominated fields. She founded Doyle Morris Coaching & Development in 2005 to help organizations develop and retain their female talent.