Helena Clayton | November: 3 Good Things



November: 3 Good Things

09 Dec 2018, Posted by Helena Clayton in Monthly Blog

A monthly post of interesting things from my work over the last four weeks. Let me know if you want to know more about any of these …

1. Taboos

One highlight took barely a moment, but felt seismic. Running a module of a senior women’s career acceleration programme for a global investment bank, we had invited some of the C-suite level men to come and talk with this group. This was part of the ‘how do we enrol men in the work on gender balance’ angle of the programme. And while the COO spoke well and believably about his commitment to gender balance, what really hit a chord was him saying ‘but what we really need to be talking about is the menopause – it’s a reality and it’s taboo and it shouldn’t be and we need to get much more comfortable about recognising that it’s here and it matters’.

No, I didn’t get the chance to unpack that with him. And yes, if his commitment to gender was what he says it is, then his organisation would have more women in it. But still. I have never heard anyone use a large stage to bring the menopause into the room like that. It felt radical and real, and I liked it. It was a moment of electricity and that spark had potential in it.

You can find more about enrolling men in the moves for gender equality under the #heforshe campaign which has some practical guidance on how to start. It also has some good stuff on the importance of all – particularly those of us in minorities – being allies for other minority groups.

2. Confidence

Coaching a group of senior women recently on a leadership programme, one of the experiments they were asked to do was to start to use social media. That could be LinkedIn – update their profile, post or comment on other people’s posts or write an article of their own. Or maybe set up a Twitter account and start to tweet and participate in conversations that way. Or start a blog on something that they really cared about or were interested in. For senior women who were already powerful in their field, it sort of floored them. Maybe it was the technology. Maybe the requirement to be visible in such a public way. Or maybe the very newness of the challenge. I faced similar fear and reluctance when I started blogging and tweeting and posting on LinkedIn. And so it felt timely to tell you about the thing that made the biggest difference to me, as well as few books I have come across more recently that might be helpful.

Joining a Working Out Loud group was by far and away the biggest and most practical help. A group of four, including Moyra Mackie and Kerstin Schinck met virtually for 90 minutes every Monday evening for 8 weeks. We worked through the structured process provided, based on the principle that if we all open up our networks to the other people in the group, we can reach people we never thought we could – in service of either learning something new or bringing new thinking to the world. It’s based on the principle of the ‘strength of weak ties’ and also on helping others and being generous. Take a look, I can’t recommend it enough.

And two books.  One is Playing Big by Tara Mohr. And a new one, just out, is How to Own the Room by Viv Groksop.

3. Changing the World

And while this technically belongs in December, as I’m fresh from the weekend, I really wanted to include it here.

I’ve just had two days with about 60 other men and women exploring how we get the best of masculine intelligence and the best of feminine intelligence to work on the problems that we’re facing in the world – whether in our own micro worlds or on a global scale.

The workshop was run by Nicholas Janni and Scilla Elworthy. And although I don’t think they have other workshops like this one planned at the moment, if you get the chance to see or work with either of these two amazing people, please take it. This is the third weekend I have spent with Scilla, and I leave inspired and awed every time.

The weekend had something about Margaret Wheatley’s view that we are in the middle of some pretty dark and troubled times – whether it’s the homeless people dying on our street, the numbers of suicides or the rise in girls self harming … or the issues of FGM or the possibility of environmental catastrophe … or the dehumanising cultures in our workplaces … and so we need to light lots of candles and fires to light our way through it and to create a different future.

The two questions that really were at the heart of our second day were:

· What breaks your heart in the world?
· What skills do you have to contribute?

I left tired but both inspired and committed to action…

And on that note, I’ll sign off and dive back into what December has to offer. I’ll see you again at the end of the month / year and wish you a good few weeks in the meantime.

Helena x

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