The Queen Bee Syndrome vs. Paying It Forward
By: Elizabeth G. Johnston
Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012
In 1974, a Psychology Today article entitled “The Queen Bee Syndrome” claimed to uncover a major contributor to the gender gap in the workplace: women themselves. According to the authors, women oftentimes hold a more critical point of view of their female subordinates than males. The article itself, released decades ago, may seem extremely antiquated when one considers the countless number of psychological advances that have since been published. But the term “Queen Bee” has successfully embedded itself into popular culture, often used to describe anyone from catty high school girls to ambitious and powerful female entrepreneurs.
A new report issued by Catalyst, High Potentials in the Pipeline: Leaders Pay It Forward, claims to refute the presence of the Queen Bee Syndrome in business settings. The report states “Women are more likely to develop others when compared to men. Among high potentials who reported they had someone developing them over the course of their careers, women were more likely than men to now be paying it forward and offering similar support to someone else.” In other words, women who have clout within their company are more likely to support and sponsor highly capable subordinates, to the point of staking their own reputation on the other individual. Moreover, the Catalyst data showed that women were more likely than men to be developing women. And to reinforce these statements, the study found that taking on a protégé predicted a higher compensation growth than declining to develop a subordinate.
With assertions like those made above, why has the Queen Bee personification endured through so many years of progressive societal change? It appears to me that persisting gender stereotypes are to blame. If a woman believes that a sea of suits will constantly surround her in the workplace, then she probably believes she will stand out for simply being female. This may be for better or for worse—she may feel that her opinions are often ignored, or she may do her best manipulate her conspicuousness to get her voice heard. The former case is an unfortunate consequence of gender bias. The latter case, however, I think breeds that Queen Bee cliché. Could a career woman really think, “The more women there are around me, the less chances I will have to make an impact?” Thus, at the core of the issue is the necessity for balanced gender diversity in the workplace. Women who have already made it to the top may be supporting the younger employees right and left. But those younger employees need a level playing field in order for any Queen Bee Syndrome borne of their own unconscious gender to be fully exterminated from popular culture – and its workplace impact.
Tags: women, gender, business, diversity, bias, equal opportunity, compensation, mentor, leadership
Can Women Have It All? A Post-Graduate Perspective
By: Elizabeth G. Johnston
Thursday, Jun 28, 2012
At the moment, it’s to the little things in my life that I attempt to direct my focus, anxiety, pride, and all-around emotional investment. I immerse myself in drawing or making my plain and cramped studio apartment feel like home, because if I don’t interact in something constructive, something that develops into a complete and satisfying entity before my eyes in a short period of time, I would probably drown in the uncertainty of post-graduate life. As a 22-year-old with a BA in subject areas that perfectly typify a broad liberal arts education (Psychology and Art History, with Math thrown in there too), I see my career as an image that is more than just a little bit blurry. However, I am not lacking in optimism. In my mind, my career ambitions align perfectly with my aspirations of a fulfilling family life. And why wouldn’t it be that way? I have never placed a label on these musings as “having it all.” It is purely what I want to have.
I can’t say that any sort of gender bias was made blatantly clear to me during my time in college. I am not innocent on the subject of bias, having studied original research about implicit bias, brain imaging and the bias/behavior/judgment links. Still, any bias perceptions of mine were perhaps self-constructed, for example caused by needless apprehension over the fact that I was the only female Math Teaching Assistant in a group of six. What struck me about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article was that it painted a vivid picture of a gender gap that Slaughter believes career women today have to negotiate—and a gap full of family sacrifices and schedule conflicts that Slaughter insinuates will exist for the foreseeable future. By making statements such as “Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women,” Slaughter puts forward an outlook that neglects our superior aptitude for taking on that high-powered job in the first place. I see it as too much of a numbers game, and the innate intellectual value of the career woman is lost in the six page long argument. I suppose I understand that I may very well encounter gender bias over the next decades of my life, but I do not want to be told I will run into hardship and consequently have that in the back of my mind as I launch myself into adulthood. I want to rely on my own mental prowess as I begin my career, not be bound to a direction that some feminism agenda tells working women to take.
So needless to say, this article struck me with quite a lot of fear. For me, weekend plans seem like distant achievements, let alone starting a family. To be frank, it is ridiculous that at the age of 22 I am being advised to freeze my eggs! But what displaces the fear is the fact that I also view the article through a lens of disbelief. I do not want to climb the ranks of the State Department, nor do I want to battle for tenure at Princeton. What I do want, as I mentioned before, is a life that is gratifying to me, and to me alone. Slaughter constructed this essay off of highly personal circumstances that just so happen to be confined to a world of extremely specialized and privileged professions. I am not going to claim that Slaughter is out of touch, because I am by no means a proper judge of the intricacies of motherhood, no matter the social sphere. But I would hope that the gender gap will truly be extinguished not according to when women as a group have successfully propelled themselves through that glass ceiling, but when a woman can be content with her life and not be judged in a gender-tinged way. Who is not to say that individual happiness and self-confidence in any life that includes both work and family (with any mention of “breaking the glass ceiling” removed from the equation) is having it all?
Tags: women, gender, work-life balance, Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Atlantic, have-it-all
The Brain Drain: What Kind of a Magnet Is Needed?
By: Karen M. Lockwood
Monday, Nov 28, 2011
A New York Times article has sparked discussion on the ABAJournal website over a reported trend for associates to leave large law firms to start their own firms. Firm advisor Jerome Kowalski shared the thought that low-budget outsourcing firms can underprice these new firms, posing a significant threat to the newcomers. (As Jerome and others who are astute observers of the legal profession's evolution know, we are seeing a marked layering in what used to be the ancillary functions of legal practice. That phenomenon is likely to continue its pressure on the traditional law firm business model over time.) The Lockwood Group countered with the fact that ambitious and perceptive lawyers at all levels of seniority have increasingly been forming new firms, as witnessed by the anecdotal letters in The Road To Independence: 101 Women's Journeys To Starting Their Own Law Firms (ABA 2011). The book, edited with analysis by Karen M. Lockwood for the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, demonstrates the high ambition, principles of practice, and imaginative business models that firm founders are using to create new firms. It is increasingly clear that such lawyers are in demand for their greater fleetness, their more responsive rates, their expertise earned from years of practice in bespoke firms, their independence, and a multitude of business clients who need the personal services and top-notch client care they offer in their practice areas. Their resolve to improve the practice of law to fit their clients' needs and to honor client relationships is unlikely to meet head-to-head competition from the alternative business layer of outsource firms doing repetitive tasks. Indeed, it is more likely that small- and mid-size firms would use, rather than be threatened by, the outsourcing capacity. Join the conversation: start-up firm conversation
The larger lesson is that firms suffer "regretted losses" of those who have the talent, ambition, and business moxie. Most interestingly, it is not just associates who are starting out on their own -- it is increasingly senior lawyers with top-level experience in large firms. As advisor to large firms and the practice in general, The Lockwood Group addresses what are often leading reasons for this talent drain at junior and senior levels alike: lack of diversity engagement, slow leverage of lawyers' real talents of innovation, inability to fulfill lawyers' desire to fully participate in the business and results of practice, and restlessness to use ambition. Those are systemic problems that a large firm can cure, with imagination and courage.
Tags: gender, law firms, new firms, diversity, engagement, business, traditional firm model
A New Era of Feminism?
By: Erin Sullivan
Wednesday, Nov 02, 2011
While gender equality might seem to be reaching new heights, US culture has taken several strides backwards in through blatant behavior based on stereotypes—dangerously so because it is both intentional and implicit. San Francisco Chronicle blogger Jim Taylor’s insightful piece, “I’m Terrified for My Daughters” captures how sexism constantly festers beneath the public eye.
Demeaning treatment of women exists in myriad places one would expect to be more evolved, Taylor realizes. At Duke University last fall, for instance, a fraternity invited 300 of their female classmates to an off-campus Halloween party through a mass email leering, “whether [you’re] dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl or just a total slut, we invite you . . . .” Eventual publicity sparked backlash, but not before many on campus got the idea that it was all in fun. ”After Class, Skimpy Equality”
Simultaneously, Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter paraded across campus chanting things like “No means yes, and yes means anal,” which was filmed and posted on the university’s news website. Forbes Most Powerful Women
At American University, a school newspaper reporter argued that female students more or less ask for date rape when their clothing styles are regarded as revealing.
“Perhaps all of this stereotypical college-guy behavior is just their sweet revenge for their distaff counterparts leaving them in the dust academically,” Taylor writes. But maybe it is deeper than that; and surely it spreads throughout US society and into our businesses and commercial interactions. Jim Taylor's Article: I’m terrified by stereotypes of girls
Media outlets feed these negative stereotypes without reluctance. Television shows, movies and magazines nearly always flaunt an almost unnatural female beauty, and even those wrapped with the guise of “proto-feminism” (Taylor’s phrase) traffic at their core in the stereotypes about beauty and sex. What is more, consumer products are sold with content as distasteful as their advertisements. Witness to this are two prior entries in this Blog. The first addresses Nivea’s male skin care product, targeting African-American audiences. LockwoodGrp on Nivea ad
(Aug. 19, 2011). The second describes J.C. Penny’s long-sleeved t-shirt marketed for young girls, which teaches them the ugly stereotype that if they would be pretty they wouldn’t have to—indeed couldn’t--do homework. LockwoodGrp on J.C. Penney t-shirt
(Sep. 19, 2011).
Today more women than men are graduating from college and earning graduate degrees, yet still precious few women are given voice at the highest level of government, business, education and the arts. The glass ceiling will not thin, much less evaporate, without media’s intentional actions to write and broadcast non-stereotyped images. Turning to “focus group feedback” in defense of their biased messaging only perpetuates what the very focus group might prove: that cultural opinions are over saturated with erroneous, negative—and harmful--stereotypes.
Tags: feminism, diversity, pop culture, female, women, college
FORBES: 100 Most Powerful Women
By: Karen M. Lockwood
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011
In late August, FORBES published its annual 100 Most Powerful Women In The World list. It is a ranking of women who matter around the globe in six sometimes overlapping categories: billionaires, business, lifestyle (celebrity, fashion), media, nonprofits and politics. Five years ago, Forbes' Most Powerful Women list emphasized entertainers, and women's products. This year's list features business and political women leaders throughout the top 20 and beyond. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the list, followed closely by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff. "Across their multiple spheres of influence, these women have achieved power through connectivity, the ability to build a community around the organizations they oversee, the countries they lead, the causes they champion and their personal brands," Forbes is quoted by Reuters as saying. Are you reading about these women and are you ready to talk about them as leaders? Read more: http://www.forbes.com/wealth/power-women/gallery
Tags: women, CEOs, executive, business, diversity
4 Skills That Give Women a Sustainable Advantage Over Men
By: Karen M. Lockwood
Friday, Oct 07, 2011
Women in top positions beat their industry average in both profitability and productivity, a Pepperdine University study recently reported. Further, nearly 52% of professional positions are currently held by women, and more women are obtaining MBAs than ever before in history. While women's business strides are distinct if these were the only figures, a 2011 Catalyst report also notes that there are only 28 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000 companies. Clearly, women leaders have a lot more room to lead, and Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis suggests they also have four key skills that give them a sustainable advantage over men in business. Are you using your ability to "earn serendipity?" Read more: Earning serendipity.
Tags: women, profession, business, diversity, leadership
Eliminating Negative Stereotypes from the Workplace
By: Janelle Carter
Monday, Oct 03, 2011
Diane Chinn discusses the negative effects of stereotypes, how to identify such stereotypes and eliminate them from the workplace. Cultural stereotypes inhibit an organization’s ability to fully utilize and develop the skill sets of its employees and results in employee dissatisfaction. The most obvious signs of negative stereotyping include high attrition rates and reports of bias. Chinn: cultural effects of workplace stereotypes.
Climate surveys can be an effective tool to identify potential issues of bias and/or stereotyping. Stereotyping within a workforce can be greatly reduced with a top-down approach by management to adopt inclusive behavior and reject any stereotyping or culturally insensitive comments.
Tags: diversity, business, stereotype, bias, attrition, inclusion methods
Advantages of a Multicultural Workforce
By: Janelle Carter
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011
Business & Diversity: Kokemuller outlines his view of the advantages and disadvantages of a multicultural workforce. Neil Kokemuller posits that while a culturally diverse workforce has the benefit of adding a multi-dimensional perspective to the company and gaining broader access in the global marketplace, it also increases the risk of discrimination and may exacerbate ineffective internal communication. Multicultural workforce advantages.
This is only half right. Clearly, in our global economy, a diverse workforce adds to a company’s bottom line by allowing for expansion into diverse markets and improving productivity and problem resolution with increased perspectives and ideas. His perceived disadvantages of a diverse workforce, even if they were to appear in the company’s culture, is forestalled by clear and effective management. Proven best practices can be implemented to greatly reduce any risks of discrimination and to improve upon internal communication and management of a diverse workforce. Certainly, the effort required to implement such policies and practices is well rewarded by the significant benefits – and increasingly imperative - of a multicultural workforce.
Tags: multicultural, diversity, business, race, best practices, management, discrimination
Discrimination Case in Chicago
By: Janelle Carter
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011
Court order requires the City of Chicago to pay $30 million and hire 111 Black firefighter applicants who faced hiring discrimination. In 1995, a discriminatory test and arbitrary cutoff scores established to determine the hiring pool resulted in a disparate impact against black applicants in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After a judgment for the black applicants on the merits, the case was appealed to the Seventh Circuit and then the U.S. Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the Seventh Circuit’s decision that the black applicants’ case was untimely. Chicago firefighters: disparate impact claims.
This resolution of this case in favor of the black applicants stands as a reminder that employers must be thoughtful about the potential effects of its employment decisions because arbitrary decisions are unlikely to resist any claims of disparate impact.
Tags: discrimination, prejudice, race, minority, job tests, disparate impact, Title VII
JC Penney: Too Pretty for Homework Outcry
By: Erin Sullivan
Monday, Sep 19, 2011
In early September, J.C. Penney sparked a social media revolution by not-so-subtly marketing the idea that girls can either be smart or pretty. A shirt targeted towards the store’s 7 to 16 year old shoppers trumpeted in glittery girly writing, "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me." What’s more, the corresponding ad boasted, "Who has time for homework when there's a new Justin Bieber album out? She'll love this tee that's just as cute and sassy as she is." An online petition in response to these products—demanding the store immediately discontinue sales—generated hundreds of signatures within a few hours. Pro-sexism products hurt girls.
Although JC Penney apologized profusely and this shirt has collectively been labeled as inappropriate, sexist images remain pervasive in media and daily life. What other examples can you find that model undesirable values based on gender?
Tags: gender, stereotype, sexism, discrimination, girls, women, marketing
Racism Still Festers in Today's Advertisements
By: Erin Sullivan
Friday, Aug 19, 2011
Many have been abuzz over skincare brand Nivea’s “Look like you give a damn” campaign. The main ad in question, pulled in the wake of a massive backlash, featured a well-groomed and clean-shaven African-American man holding and throwing away a rubber mask of his earlier self—complete with angry face, Afro and beard. Over the model, in giant font, reads the tagline “Re-Civilize Yourself.” The public outcry was immediate; Nivea apologized within hours. On its Facebook page, the company wrote: “This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again.” Pro-racist advertisements lurk.
Will you recognize other stereotypes wrongfully normalized by media and advertisement? Are you training yourself to develop awareness of embedded stereotypes?
Tags: media, advertisement, pop culture, stereotype, prejudice
Your Organization’s Readiness Under the Amended Disabilities Regs
By: Janelle M. Carter
Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011
The broad regulations mandated by the ADA’s 2008 Amendments cover more impairments than did the original ADA regulations. As a result, employers should be more vigilant about creating an inclusive workplace culture; a culture that embraces differences, including disabilities, and eliminates stereotypical perceptions that disabled employees are less capable than non-disabled employees. Though stereotypes have invaded our society and we have all been conditioned to operate with such biases, employers must proactively work to eliminate workplace stereotypes that are non-inclusive, offensive or result in discriminatory behaviors towards employees with disabilities. “When you see a person with a disability, presume competence.”—Kathy Snow. This is the collective thought that should pervade your work environment.
Employees with disabilities deserve the same respect as employees without them. Supporting the elimination of stereotypes, there are specific actions that can be taught to respectfully interact with individuals with disabilities. Here are the Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities:
1. Speak directly to the person rather than the sign language or other interpreter.
2. Offer to shake hands. People with artificial limbs may have the ability to shake hands. You may offer your left hand instead.
3. Identify yourself to those with a visual disability. If talking in a group, identify the person you are addressing before speaking.
4. If you offer assistance, wait for consent and instructions before acting.
5. Treat adults as adults, and do not patronize anyone.
6. Never lean against a wheelchair or distract guide dogs from their job.
7. Listen attentively to those with speech impairments, and never pretend to understand them, if you do not. Instead, ask follow up questions that require short responses.
8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking to someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.
9. To get the attention of persons with a hearing impairment, tap them on the shoulder or wave your hand. Always speak clearly, slowly, and expressively.
NOTES:Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of disability and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was enacted to restore the original intent of the ADA after a series of Supreme Court decisions narrowed the definition of disability. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published regulations on the ADAAA on March 25, 2011. The Regulations outline the expansion of the definition of disability as mandated by the ADAAA. Notably, the EEOC Regulations note that conditions such as HIV, affecting the immune system, and cancer, a condition that may be in remission for some employees, may now be considered disabilities under the ADAAA. Moreover, eyeglasses are the only measure that may be a mitigating factor in determining whether an individual has a disability covered by the ADAAA. For more details on the EEOC Regulations and the ADAAA, visit the EEOC website
Tags: disabilities, Americans with Disabilities, ADA, ADAA, amendments, tips, competence, impairments, stereotypes, inclusive, culture
Uncovering the True Bias
By: Olivia Carter
Friday, Jul 01, 2011
While doing a little research to write this blog entry, I came across an interesting quote that reads "being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men." Funny, right? But what happens to that woman when the difficult task becomes dealing with other women. Workplace equality really means nothing if at the end of the day women don't respect each other.
Recently, I signed up for a new gym membership. One of the perks is a free training session with one of the gym's personal trainers. To my surprise, I received a call from a woman who was to be my trainer. What exactly surprised me about the woman's call? I'm not sure, it's not that women aren't interested in fitness, or that I'm so physically fit only a man could train me. I honestly questioned how capable she is as a trainer. Reflecting on the lack of support I gave her upsets me. It was the wrong initial reaction to have in that situation.
How often does something like that happen? Are we conditioned to believe that there are some jobs built solely for men? My instincts have led me to reframe my method of thinking. I can’t be a catalyst for diversity while stifling the forward progress of women in their chosen career. Whether it is a woman mechanic, a woman trainer, a woman doctor, no longer will I deem her incapable before I give her the platform for success.
My motivation for these next few blogs in my series is to help everyone understand this: women deal with bias every day. I’d like to ensure that a woman who had to struggle to overcome hurdles doesn’t create her own mental roadblocks that will hinder the unity women need to thrive professionally. There are certain unconscious behaviors that, until we recognize them in ourselves, will sabotage the efforts of diversity. Think outside of just your box. Yes, you may be a member of your women’s bar association or be an advocate for women in your field, but remember, there are women working to thrive everywhere, in every field.
Tags: women, diversity, gender, bias
Introducing Olivia Carter
By: Olivia Carter
Thursday, Jun 30, 2011
I am Olivia Carter, a 23-year-old Chicago native, completing my bachelor of science in Pre-Physical Therapy at Howard University. I have been invited to blog for The Lockwood Group from time to time to share my perspective on topics relating to diversity. My mantra in life is you give respect to get respect. I am a firm believer in the golden rule “treat others how you would like to be treated” and while it may be elementary to some, it has yet to fail me. One of the biggest hurdles I faced while crossing over into adulthood was understanding that I can’t change everyone’s mind. People will disagree, and that’s ok, but just because two people can’t agree doesn’t mean they can’t coexist. If we all just took a moment to try and understand the life of someone else, where they come from and how they got where they are, we would eliminate unnecessary turmoil.
By: Karen M. Lockwood
Thursday, Jun 30, 2011
Recently we have seen 90-year-olds in the news. These newsworthy folks deserved that headline power because of bold acts and newsworthy imaginations during their lifetimes. I have seen Vivien Rowan there in recent news. Sidney Harmon. Nelson Mandela.
It seems that those who represent our nonagenarians came of age at a special time of societal change. Indeed, born on the cusp of the 1920s or earlier, they knew two World Wars, the US before diversity or air travel, and the mores and values taught by their parents who – notably – were born within memory’s reach of the Civil War. My mother was one of them. Those who gained fame for their bold actions had a lot to do to bring justice and access and ambitious means to the broader society.
I bet most of them were lonely in that cause. Victorian standards ran strong in their childhoods and youthful years; the Roaring 20’s were only a blip on the causal fabrics of their attitudes. Given that, to have understood the cause of women’s struggles for equality, African Americans’ quest for acknowledgement and access, the possibility to reach space, penicillin as the birth of explosive medical advances, and the power of thinking differently together, required deep insight. Foresight. Blind faith. Courage to strike out on a possibly foolish cause. Over the next few weeks, we will write more about that generation. Watch for the word “Pioneer” in these pages.
Because I have a theory that the era of the next Pioneer is upon us in the business world, and particularly in the professions. We won’t know who they are until later. But we can hope to be paying attention now.
Tags: pioneer, business model, profession, societal change
New Book on Women Lawyers is Food for Visualizing the Future
By: Karen M. Lockwood
Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011
An exciting event happened this week for The Lockwood Group and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. The Commission has completed its new book of 101 letters by women who founded law firms -- assembling voices over 50 years of new firms, from across the country, and about practices from solo to legacy destinies. Take a look at The Road To Independence: 101 Journeys By Women Starting Their Own Law Firms
The Lockwood Group's founder, Karen M. Lockwood, edited the book. By creating its organization of letters in a timeline that traces the history of the legal profession, the editing process unveiled an arc extending from exclusion in the 1950s to the waves of senior women who are drawn to starting independent law practices in the 2010's. The chapter introductions interpret this progression.
What emerges are exciting themes -- portrayals of ambition, courage, commitment, risk, determination, and appetite for business.
This week the ABA released interviews of the Commission's chairperson Bobbi Liebenberg, and book editor Karen Lockwood. Read their insights gained from this unique compendium of letters in these Road Interviews
And join the crowd at the Commission's program on these women founders in Toronto, August 5 3:30 - 5:00. Road To Independence Program
Tags: Law firm, start-up, women lawyers, gender, ambition, commitment, business, balance, marketing, courage, risk, solo, small firm
See and Understand
By: Karen M Lockwood, Esq.
Friday, Apr 15, 2011
In the 1950s, Jacques Ellul, the French social theorist, addressed the theory that increasing layers of technology are alienating to the human mind and soul. Now Ellul's insight reappears, with 150 thinkers throughout US society answered the question: "Is the Internet changing the way you think?" WSJ Book Review (Jan 7, 2011) (Christine Rosen, author).
Two thinkers speak strongly to those who despair for our ability to draw power from diversity. About the risks of Internet-dependent society, a philosopher answers that unmanaged attention is the victim. He sees the Web as "an organized attack on the space of consciousness per se" and "a mild form of depersonalization." On the benefits of the Internet's delivery of experience, transparency and reach, an evolutionary biologist asserts "let's not be snobbish." He writes "For many people around the world, ‘first life' reality has few charms, and, even for those more fortunate, active participation in a virtual world is more intellectually stimulating . . . ."
Ms. Rosen’s book review alone invites managed attention. It cues me to wallow in some independent thinking. I worry about the culture of non-attention that surrounds goal-oriented professionals, too-busy office colleagues, and web-inspired yearnings to keep up with new events. I see every-day acts of disregard, stereotyping, and failure to notice that what is different about people standing next to us is a gift of opportunity. It is the difference indicating talents, cultural prompts, gender-attributed perspectives, and ways of thinking. In this disregard lie the roots of continuing stereotypes that silently push against those who are minorities in the room.
For the sustainability of our businesses, and the realization of our human potential to make this smaller world a single world, we must begin with two resolves. We must both leverage the Internet, and move beyond it. As Rosen observes, "We are good at storing the past online -- the fleeting, trivial past as well as the distant, information-rich past of researched history--but have we improved our ability to learn from it?"
I would add this second resolve. By succumbing to the magnet of web-based technology, and to the command appearances the Internet places on our attention, have we improved our ability to learn from -- and about -- each other? Do we really even see each other? We must command our attention, notice, think, and interact. We must both use the technology, and put it aside for each other. Our power to use our diversity of talent depends on it.
Tags: Internet, diversity, business, potential, productivity, notice, talent