Are we taking advantage of the natural flow of an organization or are we swimming upstream?
Below are two critically important topics for Women in Business
1- Are you working on the right things? 2-Do the right people know you are working on the right things?
These two topics are important guiding rules for women navigating a career in business- particularly in professions that have historically been male dominated. One of the reasons these two topics are critical for women is because of the lack of naturally forming advocacy relationships. Advocacy relationships are critical and form more naturally for men in business for a variety of reasons. Advocacy relationships are essential for learning what the ” right things” are and for becoming visible to the “right people”. This is not about hard core politics. This is about tapping into the natural stream and flow of organizational relationships and processes. So often women are like fish either hovering near the shore in the status quo or even swimming up stream. There is a natural flow of networking, visibility and advocacy that exists in all organizations. So often we are not in the natural flow which results in our desired progress requiring much more energy and effort then it might if we were to be fully engaged in the flow. Fish that use the natural flow and currents of the river arrive at their destination sooner and are less exhausted when they get there.
So often women will be working very very hard, possibly harder then those around them, and still find they are not moving toward their goals. Quite possibly they do not even have clarity on what their goals are and have no solid path to learning what may be possible for them within an organization or industry. Advocates help us learn the critical activities for each stage of our career. Advocates may help us to procur the assignments that we need at any given point. Advocates also help us to gain visibility with the influential people within the organization or industry that make critical decisions about assignments, leadership opportunities, compensation and promotions.
If you feel you are working hard but standing still consider the notion of advocacy and how you might begin to develop these relationships. More on this topic in my next post.
Mary L Bennett