As Planview Inc. continues to expand with new employees, acquisitions, and products, internally we are developing and growing as individuals. Pursuing knowledge in the workforce is the foundation of the first ERGs (Employee Resource Group) started at Planview, the [email protected]. This group’s goal is to counsel and bring in speakers to encourage everyone to be their best in life and in business.
In July, we had the honor of hosting Lisa Eggerton, the Chief Marketing Officer at BigCommerce, for an engaging conversation titled Advancing Women Leaders in Today’s Workplace: How to transform what it means to be a woman at work by creating an experience that is a little more equitable, a little more inclusive, and a whole lot better for business. Planview’s very own Louise Allen, Chief Product Officer and Beth Weeks, Chief Information Officer participated in the panel and together they addressed common issues women have faced in the workplace for years.
Lisa shared personal stories about climbing the corporate ladder, being a mentor, how to deal with conflict in the workplace, and how to overcome being a “yes” person. A couple of weeks after Lisa spoke, [email protected] hosted a small “Lean In” group to allow a safe space to discuss our learnings and what we took away from the session. Our discussions included everything from tactical questions about the video quality, to personal stories, and everything we took from Lisa, Louise, and Beth’s conversation.
Here are the top learnings we gleaned from the session:
1. Do not be afraid to apply or ask for a job.
According to a recent report from LinkedIn, Women Apply to Fewer Jobs Than Men, But Are More Likely to Get Hired, studies have shown that women apply for jobs only when they believe they are 100% qualified, therefore, women are not applying for as many jobs as men even though women are more likely to be hired! Do not let opportunities pass you by even if you are not the most qualified. Be bold because you may be more qualified than you think.
2. Women are not solely responsible for the emotional care of the workplace.
When there is a birthday party to plan, when notes need to be taken for the team, or a dispute between coworkers arises, who typically takes charge? Women. But this is not our responsibility to bear alone. This is a joint effort with all colleagues to work out together. Do not feel pressured to stack the emotional state of your team or coworkers on to yourself.
3. Setting trust with your team starts with empathy.
During times of conflict in the workforce, it is easy to assume the negative intentions of others. Before jumping to conclusions, assume they do not mean ill intent and instead look for ways to better communicate. Conflict is uncomfortable, and many of us want to avoid it at all costs. When you find yourself amid conflict, be empathetic and maintain professional and kind discussions until the issue is resolved.
4. When you are starting your career, it is okay to not have your entire career path planned.
I can safely assume that most of us are not fortune tellers. No one knows what is ahead or what opportunities can unfold. This takes time and patience, and it is okay to not know where you will end up on your career path. Be curious, constantly strive to learn new things and follow your passions. This will lead you down the path you are meant to take.
During the session, Beth Weeks, shared that she is still growing and “still does not know what I want to be when I grow up.” And she is a leader! Remember to keep an open mind and know that you are not the only one who does not have everything figured out.
5. You do not have to volunteer for every task.
If you are like me, you may have heard that one way to advance your career is to go over and beyond and say “yes!” to every task your boss or leadership requests. While yes, you can learn new things and it may get you noticed; it can potentially keep you from focusing on the big projects that could further your career. By taking on all the extra tasks you are cutting valuable time from your job to complete the smaller ‘volunteered’ projects. If a project comes up that is in your spear of responsibility – or will offer new skills to support your intended career – absolutely raise your hand and take the task. But if it is outside of your jurisdiction, allow others to volunteer for the project.
6. Mentorship has taken on a new label
Having someone you look up to professionally is strongly encouraged. But for executives and leaders who are incredibly busy, taking on a mentor can be difficult and full of pressure. If you are seeking a mentor, start first with building a relationship. Instead of asking, “Will you be my mentor?” Ask pointed questions on subjects you know the leader will have a passion for and answers. This will open doors for future conversations. It will also eliminate stress and lofty expectations of the mentor title. Louise and Beth gave a fitting example of how we go to a specialized doctor for distinct types of issues instead of one doctor for every aliment. The same should be thought of as a mentor. It is not a one stop shop that gives you a direct line on your career path. Be open and glean information from subject experts all around the office.
Looking to the Future
What I appreciated about this private [email protected] discussion was everyone took away something special to them. There is a lot to digest from the session; everyone had a unique experience and discovered something new about themselves and how to improve. As a group we allowed ourselves grace to not be superheroes that are trying to get everything done at once!
The workforce is slowly but surely looking different than it has in the past. I am very thankful to see how much Planview has grown in my 8 years of working here. Seeing other women in leadership roles in the Tech world is thrilling and motivating! There is still work to be done but any time a group of women get together to support, listen, and encourage each other, the glass ceiling cracks just a little bit more.