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What You Say Vs. What They Hear

Read below to discover a new word = Nastygram

I remember, some years ago, someone gave me that advise. “Always assume that a message was written to you with a good intend”. There is no tune of voice with an email, and we tend to assume always for the worst. The article below explains it well.

I thought a lot about this statement, and since try to apply it. It also made me think of my own messages – do I really convey the tune that they were written with? So many misunderstanding could be avoided by using these very simple steps…

See article here:

What You Say Vs. What They Hear

Are you sending nastygrams to your work colleagues?

I’d never heard that word before, but it is a perfect term for an insensitive email message. A colleague told me about a mid-size retail company where such messages are causing problems. Ryan, a team leader at the company, sent Andy a nastygram criticizing him for something outside of Ryan’s expertise. Andy exploded when he received it and told his officemate, Janet. She wasn’t surprised – Andy wasn’t the only one Ryan had upset. Ryan had worked there for just a month and he’d already made a lot of enemies.

Negativity Bias and Online Communication

Does Ryan realize he’s sending “nastygrams”? He might think his critiques are appropriate and assumes they will be heard that way. If so, he doesn’t understand “negativity bias” and how it plays out in email and other text-based digital communication.

Most of us live far removed from the physical threats faced by our human ancestors, but our brains don’t know that. The amygdala is the “fight-or-flight” part of the brain that continually scans for things that could harm us. It pays more attention to negative information than to positive input. When we talk with someone in person, our facial expressions and tone of voice convey the feelings that go with our words. When someone sends an email message, they unconsciously assume their unspoken emotional cues accompany the message. Receivers don’t get the nonverbal part of the message and think that positive email was more neutral. When the sender thinks it’s neutral, receivers tend to think it’s more negative.

Our Social Brain and Online Communication

The negativity bias may not be all that’s at play in Ryan’s messages. In face-to-face interactions, when we get an impulse to say or do something, our social brain might say, “Hold on, that’s not going to work.” When you’re face-to-screen, there isn’t the feedback loop to encourage restraint. The result can be flaming – when someone is upset, with their amygdala in firm control, and furiously types out a message and hits send before thinking about it. That emotional hijack hits the other person in their inbox. Flaming stems in part from online disinhibition where the disconnect between the social brain and the screen releases the amygdala from the usual management by the more reasonable prefrontal areas.

Even a phone call gives these circuits ample emotional cues from tone of voice to understand the emotional nuance of what you say. But text-only communication lacks all these inputs.

Connection: A Cure for Negativity Bias

Another aspect of Ryan’s “nastygrams” may be that the people receiving his messages don’t know him well. New at his job, he probably hasn’t made a connection with Andy and other team members. Clay Shirky, who studies social networks and the web at New York University, told me about a global bank security team that operates 24 hours a day. He said they use what he calls a banyan tree model, where key members of each group got together and met key members of every other group. Then, in an emergency, they can contact each other and get a clear sense of how to evaluate the message each group was sending. If someone in the receiving group knows that person well, or has a contact there whom he can ask about the person who sent the message, then the receiving group can better gauge how much to rely on it

Like the bank security team, many of us work across distances with people we rarely, if ever, see. In those situations, it can help to use videoconferencing, at least in early interactions. It helps to take the time to get to know each other, what you enjoy about your jobs, possibly something about your backgrounds or life outside of work. Such conversations will help you make a connection. Then, when you’re using text-based communication, you’ll be better able to envision the person who will receive your message.

Try This

If Ryan had followed these simple steps before he sends email messages, he might not fall into the nastygram pit:

Save the message as a draft.
Take three deep breaths (even better, wait longer).
Open the message.
Imagine you’re the recipient of the message, including what you know about who they are.
Would they read this message as having a positive or negative tone?
Revise the message to reflect your intended tone.
Taking a few moments on your intention and message can save you hours, days, or even weeks of trouble.

The Work Conversations We Dread the Most, According to Research

When we need to have a difficult conversation, we tend to postpone it.. Letting the situation worsen.. Why?

Having been on both sides of the barrier, I can tell that a dreaded conversation is difficult for both sides. For example, you might find difficult to ask for a pay rise, but in general, it is also difficult for the manager to answer such request.

The best scenario is when both come out of the discussion happy. Winning and make the other lost is never a victory. The battle is won, but the chances of winning the war are now fading dangerously.

As the article says it very well, in fact, most people strive for this win-win.

Article here (with graphs):

The next time you head into a conversation you’re dreading, rest assured that the other party is probably equally uncomfortable. Better yet, your counterpart may even go out of his or her way to make you feel at ease.

These findings come from a recent survey conducted by Fractl in which we asked nearly 1,100 people about difficult conversations at work.

Approaching tough conversations with a combative mentality, where one person wins and one loses, is a common mistake that often results in neither party feeling satisfied. Yet our study found that most people actually plan on being agreeable and considerate when walking into a difficult conversation — nearly 66% of respondents told us that they’re likely to go out of their way to make the other person feel comfortable. The same number said that they’re likely to concede that they played a role in creating an uncomfortable situation, while 81% will acknowledge that there are multiple perspectives. More than 75% of respondents said that they’re likely to be direct and concise. That’s all good news for someone who’s about to have a difficult conversation; you can rest assured that most people are starting from a collaborative mindset.

As you can see, taking a combative approach and assuming the other person is “out to get you” is probably misguided.

What’s more, your counterpart is probably just as nervous as you are. Which conversations really make people squirm? Negotiating a raise was the most distressing: 58% of respondents feel uncomfortable having this discussion. We found people feel most comfortable apologizing for a mistake or discussing a lack of clear direction.

Women reported more discomfort around negotiating a raise than men did, with more than 66% of female respondents feeling very or somewhat uncomfortable. Just over half of men shared that sentiment.

Managers should take particular note of the data showing that even if you walk out of a challenging discussion feeling good about the outcome, your employee may not share your outlook. Our respondents were significantly more likely to feel satisfied with the outcome of a difficult conversation when they were the higher-ranking employee. More than 75% felt satisfied with the outcome of a conversation with a direct report, compared to 46% feeling somewhat or completely satisfied with the results of a discussion with a supervisor.

So how can you have more productive conversations that end with both parties feeling satisfied?

A majority of people (85%) told us they are likely to prepare for a tough conversation. This is a step in the right direction, but how you prepare is important. Be sure to:

Determine what you want to get out the conversation, but “don’t go in planning to ‘win’ the conversation,” says employee relations consultant Fran Sepler. “If you want a raise, for instance, you may need to start with other goals, such as having your work fully appreciated, having input into your compensation, and making sure you’re being paid equitably.”

Do your homework on your worth. Knowing how valuable and marketable you are will give you more confidence to ask for a raise and alleviate fears around negotiations. Make a strong case for your pay increase by coming to the table armed with a list of your contributions to the company and salary survey data on comparable roles.
Treat the conversation as two people working together to solve a problem. Executive coach Kristi Daniels recommends using this simple framework, from the book Powerful Conversations, which gives both sides ownership over the conversation and outcome:

What’s Up: Tell your side of the situation and ask the other person how they see it.
What’s So: Get to the facts, and remove any emotional charge from the conversation. Discuss the impact on each of you, the team, and the larger organization. Ask the other person what they think.
What’s Possible: Discuss possible solutions or alternatives, and ask the other person for the same.
Let’s Go: Commit on both sides to taking action with accountability included.
Notice how each step of this framework includes input from the other person, which will ensure that both parties feel heard and understood. This applies to your pre-conversation preparation too, when you should look beyond your own perspective and think about how the other person views the issue. You’ll have greater success by showing that you’ve considered several perspectives.

During the conversation, pause your own agenda to really listen to the other person’s side. Karen Hough, CEO of ImprovEdge, says, “When we’re nervous or scared, we rush to tell, fix, or manage.” Aim to diffuse the emotional charge, hear the other person, and come out with a solution. According to Hough, “It’s amazing how often a quick reset on the approach totally changes the way a person deals with their boss and creates incredible outcomes — raises, promotions, and strong relationships.”

Kerry Jones is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Fractl, where she specializes in content marketing featuring their proprietary research.

Five Ways To Bounce Back From Criticism At Work

In my career I have been many times in position to have to deliver criticism to my team members, or to receive them. A person who listen to the criticism and answer that the lesson is understood and what she/he will do to improve in the future definitely wins my trust. Someone who will just reject it or blame others shows that she/he will not be capable to learn from that lesson and improve. I have done my best to apply this to myself.

Very good article on this:

Here is the conclusion: It’s not the critique that counts – it’s what you do with it that has the power to change your life and inspire the people around you.

Five Ways To Bounce Back From Criticism At Work
Ashley Stahl

As a career coach, I am all too familiar with the emotional history we carry into our professional lives. Many of my clients come to me with self-imposed, often limiting, ideas about what they are capable of in their careers. As we discuss all of the career avenues available to them, without fail, they offer me a wide variety of unfounded reasons to explain why certain career paths aren’t an option for them. It’s as though they’re expecting to fail and protecting themselves from even having to try in the first place.

I get it. I’ve been there. Even as an entrepreneur, I see it in my world—the same article can invoke a “you’re amazing” response from one person, and “you’re a nightmare” response from another.

So how do we get ahead in such a critical world when taking risks and being vulnerable can feel so raw?

Aristotle says it best: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

These are a few of the key tips I give my clients to help them push past their fear of feedback:

Accept the feedback graciously
Look for the lessons
Check your ego at the door.
Give yourself some processing time to sort through the feedback.
Empower your professional relationships.

Accept the feedback graciously. First and foremost, listen to the person delivering the feedback. It’s gold, truly. People often think they’re listening when in fact they are anticipating their own response or explanation to the criticism. If the feedback is given in person, take a notepad along and jot some notes down. Hold yourself with confidence and grace and take the feedback like a boss, even if the feedback-giver is less than gentle in its wording. Above all, do not react defensively, and don’t feel obligated to respond. Thank the deliverer for the feedback, express appreciation for their candor, and let them know you will consider their comments and follow up if you need any clarification. This lets them know they’ve been heard, and it leaves the door open for you to follow up with questions, or – if absolutely necessary – an explanation or apology.
Look for the lessons. You are probably familiar with the old saying: “there’s no such thing as a bad experience.” I’ve found this to be true when it comes to professional development… There’s also no such thing as a true “mistake.” Every interaction you have with your colleagues, clients, and peers provides you with an opportunity to learn something about them – their communication styles, body language, word choices, and tone. Most importantly, there’s so much to learn about yourself… What do you notice within yourself when you experience criticism? Do you feel offended? Do you feel less confidence? Your response to criticism is a direct pathway for insight on how you’re doing with your own personal self-esteem. Plus, if you spend the entire feedback session feeling self-conscious or defensive, you miss the chance to be observant and learn. How a person delivers criticism speaks volumes about who they are as a person, and while it could have value for you, separate the energy they’re speaking from away from the actual content they’re sharing. This leads us to No. 3.
Check your ego at the door. Occasionally, feedback will be 100% valid and also 100% painful. The ego has a tendency to get very loud in these situations, especially when the delivery was aggressive or hurtful. It’s easy to dismiss the feedback by blaming the messenger: “I would be more willing to consider his opinion if he hadn’t yelled at me while he said it.” While a cruel delivery can be embarrassing, the humiliation we feel is usually just masking a deeper sense of shame that comes from feeling powerless to change. Our ego fights those feelings with arguments like “that’s just who I am,” “he knew this about me when he hired me,” and “he’s too uptight” or “he’s the only one who feels this way.” At the end of the day, letting the ego win – and dismissing all feedback as unjustified – is a complete bar to growth and professional satisfaction. Instead, ask how you can use the experience to grow. How can you use it as a tool to rise and succeed even more? As an entrepreneur, I’m susceptible to harsh feedback—I see it with gratitude… It’s a mechanism and venue for me to grow and better serve my clients… This is how successful people think.
Give yourself some processing time to sort through the feedback. After you receive the feedback, take some notes about it. How does it make you feel? Some of it may feel expected and non-painful. But if you have a strong reaction, such as feeling outraged and misunderstood, or completely worthless and beat up, try to identify the sensitivity and any past triggers, meaning times in your life where you felt this familiar pain. This is much more powerful than dismissing the feedback just because it stirs up uncomfortable and confusing emotions. Once you understand whether your pain roots back from any other similar life experiences, you’ll have a better frame of reference to accept the meaningful feedback and dismiss the parts of it that feel inherently off-the-mark or valueless. The ability to have those honest internal conversations with yourself will help you stay humble and strong – as opposed to defensive or weak – in these potentially painful situations.
Empower your professional relationships. If you can approach every feedback situation from the mental standpoint that the speaker is coming from a place of good intention, you will be able to emotionally withstand the criticism with dignity. You will learn to use hardship as a platform to build—not burn—bridges. In fact, the way in which you receive feedback is a direct path to how your colleagues respect you moving forward… Surprise them! Having a professional and gracious attitude is empowering to your relationship with the critic. They will remember your grace and feel grateful to you for making it more bearable.
I’ve seen many different reactions to tough feedback in my practice as a career coach. Some clients take on the “I’ll show them” mentality and, without really tapping into their emotions, go overboard trying to prove their superiors wrong. While the approach is less combative than outright defensiveness, it’s no less hostile and counterproductive.

As Roosevelt brilliantly said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because this is no effort without error and shortcoming …”

In closing, remember: It’s not the critique that counts – it’s what you do with it that has the power to change your life and inspire the people around you.

If you can let that dust sit on your face with grace, you are a true professional.

Ashley Stahl is a career coach who helps millennials

Attitude does it all… or almost.

One piece of advice that I regularly give to young managers. When a manager enter a meeting room, everyone should know that she/he is the chief without any need for an introduction. This is a mix of things. To start with, the person must enter with a head straight and clear self-confidence. Then, how to address the people, how to greet people is important. Dressing code can help, particularly when trying to establish oneself as a leader, but I know many examples of “natural” leaders who dress very casually without any impact on their visible authority.

Article on the subject:

Striking a ‘Power Pose’ Will Get You a Raise Faster Than Asking for One
By Dayna Evans

A new study found women are punished for verbal assertiveness in the workplace.

A few years ago, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at the Harvard Business School, popularized the term “power pose,” a way of positioning one’s body in order to perform better and be perceived as more competent in professional environments. In an election cycle where Hillary is told to smile as Trump forever frowns like a goblin, it seems that the era of assessing gendered assertiveness is back, and stronger than ever.

In order to find some answers about how we perceive assertiveness in women, Melissa J. Williams of Emory University and Larissa Tiedens of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took 71 different studies on people’s reactions to assertiveness and synthesized them. What did they find with this new stack of results? Women are often penalized for verbal assertiveness — i.e. asking for a raise or requesting an office mate turn down their music — but are not punished and occasionally rewarded for nonverbal cues of assertiveness. This can mean anything from taking up more space to standing close to another person, i.e. enacting a so-called “power pose.”

As Williams points out, nonverbal behaviors are proven to increase the influence of the person using them. “People are more likely to follow the lead of a person who maintains eye contact with them while he or she speaks, compared with a person who doesn’t,” she writes. But if women are frequently taken to task for their verbal assertiveness, why are we forgiven for and encouraged to utilize our nonverbal cues? Williams argues it’s because of the “nonconscious level” on which these interpretations happen:

When people see a woman asking for something, they may interpret her act of dominance as inappropriate, as out of bounds for women. Yet when people see a woman stand tall and speak loudly, they tend not to consciously label such behaviors as dominance — so they may not trigger outmoded reactions about how women “ought” to behave.

But if women are really insistent on using verbal assertiveness (as we should be), there is one area in which women will not be penalized: When we ask for things on the behalf of others, like “a raise for one’s assistant, say, or a deadline extension for one’s team.” Want something yourself, like a raise or a promotion? Sorry, you’re being too bossy.

Decisions Are Emotional, not Logical: The Neuroscience behind Decision Making

Decisions Are Emotional, not Logical: The Neuroscience behind Decision Making.

How often did this happen? Young, we tend to shut down that little voice inside that tells you differently than data and facts, then with experience, we learn that this little voice is too often right to be ignored.

Very good article on this subject:

Extract: “A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat.”

Think of a situation where you had bulletproof facts, reason, and logic on your side, and believed there was absolutely no way the other person could say no to your perfectly constructed argument and proposal. To do so would be impossible, you figured, because there was no other logical solution or answer. And then the other person dug in his heels and refused to budge. He wasn’t swayed by your logic. Were you flabbergasted? This is similar to what many negotiators do when they sit down at the table to hammer out a deal. They come armed with facts, and they attempt to use logic to sway the other party. They figure that by piling on the data and using reason to explain their side of the situation, they can construct a solution that is simply irrefutable—and get the other party to say yes. They’re doomed to fail, however, because decision-making isn’t logical, it’s emotional, according to the latest findings in neuroscience. A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides—shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision. So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion. This finding has enormous implications for negotiation professionals. People who believe they can build a case for their side using reason are doomed to be poor negotiators, because they don’t understand the real factors that are driving the other party to come to a decision. Those who base their negotiation strategy on logic end up relying on assumptions, guesses, and opinions. If my side of the argument is logical, they figure, then the other side can’t argue with it and is bound to come around to my way of thinking. The problem is, you can’t assume that the other party will see things your way. What the negotiator can and must do, however, is create a vision for the other side to bring about discovery and decision on their part. In the end, your opponent will make the decision because he wants to. Getting him to want to, using the step-by-step methodology that is part of the Camp System, is the job of the negotiator—not trying to convince him with reason. You don’t tell your opponent what to think or what’s best. You help them discover for themselves what feels right and best and most advantageous to them. Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest. That’s emotional. I want this. This is good for me and my side. There’s a detailed and systematic way to go about building vision the right way. But in general, if you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives, then you can build a vision for them of their problem, with you and your proposal as the solution. They won’t make their decision because it is logical. They’ll make their decision because you have helped them feel that it’s to their advantage to do so.

* * * * * Jim Camp is founder and CEO of The Camp Negotiation Institute

Erase “Work-Life Balance”: Change the Conversation (With Yourself)

I never thought about it this way, but I actually find this article very interesting!

If you think about it, every time we use the phrase “work-life balance”, we automatically picture a balance. Meaning, it is difficult to keep it “balanced’, but also, if one side comes stronger then the other one will automatically go the other way. Why? It does not have to be that way. “That assumption can produce the judgment that a woman who is successful at work must have a messy home life, or vice versa. “

I agree with the author – let’s remove that concept from our vocabulary!

Full article here:

“Yesterday my daughter described a disagreement she was having with a friend at camp. She exclaimed that her friend’s idea was “so stupid!” I remarked that her words were not very descriptive of the point she was trying to make and rather likely to stir up anger in her friend, making things worse. I suggested that she demonstrate that she herself is not “so stupid” by coming up with words that more effectively communicate her opinions and solve the problem with her friend. (She rolled her eyes but said nothing more, so I can only hope something sunk into her consciousness.)

The exchange made me think of the importance of words and their impact on our thoughts and actions.

If I had my druthers, I would erase the phrase “work-life balance” from our collective consciousness. I’ve been in this field (first as a researcher, now as a coach) for more than two decades, and I strongly believe the notion of “work-life balance” sets us up for failure for three reasons.

First, the phrase is not balanced in and of itself. On one side you have work and on the other, life. In reality, work is a subset of life. Equating the two reflects our society’s bias toward and overemphasis on money, employment and production. Even if we change “life” to “family,” the phrase is still problematic because it implies that family doesn’t require effort or work. It also suggests that work cannot be pleasurable or meaningful.

Second, “work-life balance” is problematic because the act of balancing is often precarious. What comes to mind is a tightrope walker or a unicyclist; a slight shift in the wind or a bump in the road could lead to a fall with serious consequences. Moreover, the perfect state of balance can be fleeting. Achieving balance requires much effort for just a moment in time.

Third, “work-life balance” implies that when one side goes up, the other must come down. That assumption can produce the judgment that a woman who is successful at work must have a messy home life, or vice versa. It perpetuates the belief that career has to be at odds with family. It ignores the fact that family life experiences can often inform and help improve career, and vice versa.

So what term should be used instead? My beloved mentors at the Families and Work Institute, Terry Bond and Ellen Galinsky, devised the notion of “navigating” life. Galinsky describes it in her book Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents. It better explains what actually happens in life: we are each trying to manage what we care deeply about — whether that be career, family, hobbies, interests, passions or religion/spirituality.

As a coach, I have learned that we have to navigate consciously and continuously; it is a process, as well as a goal. My clients and I focus on the present as well as the future. We tweak what we do each day so that we feel a little less overwhelmed and stressed. Doing that helps us face the inevitable daily challenges and surprises that come along with a bit more grace. We find that over time we are able to navigate life with greater ease and joy. For examples, check out some of my clients’ stories here.

My clients and I have discovered that successful navigation starts with how you talk to yourself:

Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t already figured it all out. Start by telling yourself, “If it were so easy, it wouldn’t be such a challenge for all of us. It’s a process. I’m starting to navigate in a new way now.”
Take just one baby step with an exploratory attitude: “Let’s give this one small thing a try and see what happens. I’ll get to the other stuff later.” If the baby step doesn’t work, most likely it’s because it wasn’t small enough. Try again with an even smaller step.
Because the brain is wired to register what has been left undone or went wrong, make a conscious effort to recognize your daily accomplishments big and small. For example: “My child/boss had a meltdown that threw a wrench in my plans, but I dealt with it!” Better yet, make a got-done (as opposed to a to-do) list each day.
Don’t compare yourself with those around you. For example, tell yourself, “Her situation is different than mine. I have unique children, values, resources and so on, so I need to find what works for me.”
I hope you’ll give these steps a try and let me know what works for you!

No, we are not making progress at high level

Recent articles showing that we are not making progress.. Less women CEO named since 2011 (article in French), but also board women suffering from Gender bias

Le Figaro: On n’a jamais aussi peu nommé de femmes PDG depuis 2011

Fortune: Gender bias forced me to quit Quiksilver’s board

Le Figaro article (in French)

Depuis 16 ans, les grandes entreprises cotées n’avaient jamais autant changé de dirigeant. Et les femmes, aussi peu profité de ces mouvements. Les candidats externes séduisent aussi de plus en plus

Sophie Bellon, nouvelle patronne de Sodexo, Henri de Castries qui quitte Axa ou Alexandre de Juniac qui part d’Air France-KLM: les changements de direction au sein des grandes entreprises battent leur plein ces dernières semaines. L’an passé, c’était aussi le cas: 17% des 2500 plus grandes entreprises cotées en bourse dans le monde ont changé de dirigeant en 2015, selon une étude publiée par Strategy&, l’activité de conseil en stratégie de PwC. Un chiffre record depuis 16 ans. L’occasion de faire le point sur le profil choisi, en général, par les sociétés cotées en bourse à travers le monde. Une femme ou un homme? Une solution interne ou externe? Quels secteurs subissent le plus de mouvement? Le Figaro fait le point.

Les hommes plutôt que les femmes
Un peu moins d’une entreprise sur cinq dans le monde a changé de PDG en 2015, selon l’étude annuelle publiée par Strategy&, l’activité de conseil en stratégie de PwC. Un chiffre record depuis seize ans. Parmi ces nouvelles nominations, moins de 3% ont concerné des femmes (contre 5,2% en 2014), soit le plus bas niveau de recrutement annuel de femmes directrice d’entreprise depuis 2011. Sur les 359 nouveaux PDG recensés en 2015, seuls 10 étaient des femmes. «Depuis 2010, il n’y a pas de réelle tendance à la hausse ou à la baisse, explique Pierre Péladeau, associé de Strategy&. Le taux est si faible qu’il suffit de quelques mouvements pour faire évoluer fortement la courbe».

C’est pire aux États-Unis ou au Canada où la part des femmes PDG a baissé pour la troisième année consécutive. Sur 87 nouveaux dirigeants nommés, un seul était une femme: Andrea Greenberg, de Madison Square Garden, une filiale de Cablevision. Pourtant l’Amérique du Nord reste la région qui a nommé le plus de dirigeantes d’entreprise au cours des douze dernières années: 4% contre 2,3% en Europe occidentale ou 0,9% au Japon.

Les solutions externes ont le vent en poupe
Même si la majorité des entreprises continue de nommer des PDG appartenant à la société en question (insiders), elles sont de plus en plus nombreuses à opter pour la solution externe. Le recrutement d’un outsider a représenté 22% de l’ensemble des nouvelles nominations entre 2012 et 2015, contre seulement 14% sur la période 2004-2007. «Craignant les grands bouleversements que pourraient subir l’activité de l’entreprise, les conseils d’administration ont besoin d’une vision nouvelle pour la société, détaille Pierre Péladeau. Même si le candidat interne a rempli ses objectifs et connaît bien les rouages de l’entreprise, les administrateurs considèrent souvent qu’il n’a pas forcément les compétences suffisantes pour donner un nouveau souffle à l’entreprise». Et d’ajouter: «C’est le cas aussi pour les entreprises publiques où l’État a la main sur le choix du remplaçant et n’hésite pas à placer une personne de la fonction publique avec plus ou moins de réussite. Devenir PDG est un métier. Mais le cas de Stéphane Richard (ancien directeur de cabinet de Christine Lagarde, alors ministre de l’Économie et des Finances, ndlr) prouve que ces choix peuvent être une réussite. Le choix du successeur d’Alexandre de Juniac à la tête d’Air France-KLM sera aussi à suivre.

Fortune article:

Fox International Channels’ CMO Liz Dolan was the lone woman on Quiksilver’s board. “I learned that even when a woman earns a seat at the table, the men can put you in a soundproof booth.”

Until last week, I was a member of the Board of Directors of Quiksilver. I know that few women are on corporate boards of publicly-traded companies. I was proud to be one of them. I’d served on this board for 18 months and took my responsibilities seriously. During that time, I’d missed just one board meeting.

But on May 28, I resigned. Why? Because I learned my fellow directors excluded me from a series of critical conversations in which they decided to fire the CEO, Andy Mooney, and appoint a successor. Hiring and firing the CEO is the most important job of a corporate director. So why did my fellow board members see fit to exclude me from these obviously important conversations?

I was given many explanations – which I’ll recount here — but I think it all boils down to one single answer: Unconscious bias. And what I learned is that even when a woman earns a seat at the table, the men can put you in a soundproof booth.

Two months ago, after I missed that first board meeting my fellow directors started the process of replacing the CEO. Over the next 10 days, the group had conversations and calls about a management change. At no point did a single one of my fellow directors reach out to include me. During those key 10 days, instead of letting my voice be heard in a conversation I had every right and responsibility to participate in, they effectively chose to silence me by keeping me in the dark.

I learned about the change in management while on an airplane, when I opened an email with documents for a board meeting that was taking place while I was in the air. When I landed, I immediately called a fellow director and he helpfully explained to me that everything was “done and dusted.”

That quickie board meeting made the changes official. Afterward I asked four directors why I’d been kept in the dark. I was told it was because, “it was very important that the CEO not know in advance what was happening.”

Mooney and I had been senior executives at Nike at the same time. I never worked for him, nor he for me, but we were peers and friends – and still are. Before I was elected by the shareholders to the board 16 months ago, I interviewed with all the current directors. When they asked about my relationship with the CEO, I told them all of this.

To every director who asked me whether I would be able to replace the CEO if necessary, I said yes. Like them, I am a businessperson.I understand the tough decisions that we all need to make. I thought my answer had satisfied them. Apparently not.

The directors also told me I was kept out of the discussions because they thought I would “be too conflicted.” I tried to explain to each of these directors that some directors are not more equal than others. I was elected to the board because I am an accomplished global marketer, which is what Quiksilver needed, not because I was the CEO’s friend. I wish they had seen me as an accomplished professional, as their peer.

I couldn’t help but thinking about their own “conflicts.” After all, they were the ones who had actually hired him. And what about all of the board members who are former colleagues, golfing buddies or, in Quiksilver’s case, surfing buddies of the CEO? Would board members have frozen out another man on the board because he was a former colleague of the CEO? I do not believe I would have been marginalized if there were other women on the board – or if I were a man.

To me, it was a very clear case of unconscious bias. Because I had a previous professional relationship with the (now-former) CEO, the board assumed they knew how I would have voted based on a biased assumption that I’d vote to keep my “friend. ” Because that’s what girls do, right? They make emotional decisions about friends instead of strategic decisions based on business facts. Girls can’t keep a secret. Girls are too emotional. Girls can’t make tough calls.. And, thank goodness, girls won’t speak out when we marginalize them.

Well, wrong.

I spent two months seeking the counsel of colleagues and friends, especially women I know who had served on boards of publicly-traded companies. Several urged me not to resign, telling me that by doing so, I’d only validate the board’s assumption that they could not trust me. I understood that advice. For a while, I lived with the idea that I simply had to work harder to earn the board’s trust.

Others told me the opposite. They urged me not to be part of a board that had so clearly signaled their disrespect. After much deliberation, I agreed with them. Instead of trying harder to earn this board’s trust, I had to ask myself if these board members could earn mine. My answer was no.

I was the only female on the board. Now, there are none.

Yes, this is what unconscious bias looks like and feels like. Based on many years of conversation on my podcast Satellite Sisters, I can see that this kind of bias is present at every level of corporate life, from the bottom to the board. When I talked about my recent experience, it sparked a lively conversation in the Satellite Sisters Facebook group, and many listeners shared their own tales or emailed me directly.

I laughed when I heard that the legal term for how I exited the board is “noisy resignation” (which meant that the company had to release my resignation letter). I hope my former fellow directors – and decision-makers at every level inside companies — hear me. Gender bias is an issue I will continue to make some noise about.