Next Generations Rockstars: Women + the Broken Rung with Jeffery Tobias Halter
Dismantling the glass ceiling has long been talked about as a way to ensure equality for women in the workplace. Although, many companies have discussed its importance, very few companies have made big strides towards that accomplishment. However as millennials and Gen Z's become the largest portions of the workforce in 2020 dismantling the glass ceiling will be a necessity. However, after all of these decades discussing it, how can we actually do it. Turns out, we need to focus our efforts on what McKinsey and LeanIn.org refer to as the "broken rung". Learn more in this episode from Gender Strategist, Jeffery Tobias Halter.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
The Transcript - Women + the Broken Rung
Amanda Hammett 0:01
Hi, my name is Amanda Hammett. And I'm the host of the Next Generation Rockstars Podcast. So today we actually have a special edition for you. For 2020, we decided that we wanted to tackle some of the bigger ideas and concepts in the global workforce and those things that are affecting us every single day that maybe are just below the surface, or maybe things that we just don't think about. So in honor of Women's History Month here in the United States, today's topic is women, particularly women and the intersection of next-generation talents. So my guest today is Jeffrey Tobias Halter. Now, some of you might be a little surprised because to talk about women, I brought in a man and that's very true.
Amanda Hammett 0:47
However, Jeffrey is the president of YWomen and he is a gender strategist. Now Jeffrey didn't just wake up one day and decide, hey, I'm going to be a gender strategist. No, Jeffrey actually led Coca Cola, his early initiatives in the diversity and inclusion world back in the early 2000s. So he has a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in this area. But Jeffrey and I took it a little bit further, we brought in both of the women of our world for him, next-generation talent for me. And we talked about the broken ROM, which was a term coined by the McKinsey study that they put out in late 2019, in conjunction with the alien organization. And it was a really fascinating study, because all this time, we've been talking about the glass ceiling and breaking the glass ceiling for women. But really, we need to address a parity issue at the very beginning in those early career talent issues. And so, Jeffrey and I spend a lot of time talking about some best practices and things that you can do today to make that happen. So join us take a look at this interview and I would love to hear what you have to say about that. Don't forget to share this and comment below.
Amanda Hammett 2:03
Hi, this is Amanda Hammett. And I'm the host of the Next Generation Rockstars Podcast. Today we have a very special guest. His name is Jeffrey Tobias halter. He is the president of YWomen and he's a gender strategist. Jeffrey, why don't you tell us a little bit about you?
Jeffery Halter 2:20
Yeah. Thanks, Amanda. Thanks for having me on. So basically, my day job focuses on helping companies create an end to end women's leadership strategies, specifically focused on engaging men in the process because we're not going to drive long term systemic change for women without active male engagement.
Amanda Hammett 2:46
Exactly. Perfect. That's amazing. And I love that you're doing that. But I would imagine definitely, you didn't just wake up one day and say a Great idea. I'm going to do something about this. Or maybe you did. Once you tell us a little bit about how did you act doing?
Jeffery Halter 3:02
Yeah, certainly so know if you had told me 20 years ago, this is what I'd be doing. I would have laughed at you. I'm a career sales guy, Procter and Gamble Coca Cola. And in 1999, I was actually doing a staff or patient assignment. I was working in sales training. Before I went back out in the field as a regional vice president. And Coca Cola had a very famous $200 million discrimination lawsuit. We laid off 8000 people. And overnight, I went from working in sales training to leading the diversity education initiative at the company. Now my first reaction was, I'm a straight white guy. What do I know about this diversity thing? What meeting did I not attend to get in charge of this? And then the last thing was, you know, I've got two years' kids, I really need a job. So I'm going to kind of do this diversity thing as long as I can. And so we were charged with training 4000 people in diversity education. now realize it's 2000. And if you've ever seen that episode of the office with the really bad diversity training, this was kind of my project. And I would sit in this program, literally as a hostage and it's my program.
Jeffery Halter 3:53
But I heard stories everyday stories of racism and sexism and homophobia from people that I knew and genuinely respected. And I had what they call a white male epiphany. And a white male epiphany occurs when you realize what white male privilege is, and the world revolves around you. Were always the default, largest number in most meetings. Our voices are always heard. And at that time, I was not ready to be an advocate. I just chose to get curious.
Jeffery Halter 5:07
And so I started having conversations, I would go out and talk to women and African American colleagues and I would say, Hey, I heard this in class. Can you validate? Is this true? And what happens when you have these genuine conversations, you quickly realize that women and other underrepresented groups are having completely different experiences than I'm experiencing as a white male. And so I chose to get more and more curious. Tom Peters had just come out with reimagine it was now 2004 and he was talking about the business case for women. And so this really clicked for me because I had for a time being seen diversity and inclusion kind of a soft HR thing. And what I realized is, in fact, it's a business imperative women buy everything in this country, and yet most sales teams are still made up of men. Women are getting more degrees than men are, whether it's bachelor's, masters, PhDs, Jadis. And so over the course of the last 20 years, I have evolved to a position now where I consult with fortune 500 companies and executive teams and work primarily with men on how to move from not just being an ally. I actually think that term is overused nowadays, I think it's kind of soft. We need to move men to advocacy, because I know you've seen the research that says women are under sponsored and over mentored Well, in my mind, this is the same thing a man mentoring a woman as an ally. I certainly want to congratulate all the men out there who are our allies. We've reached a point in time 2020, where we need advocates, visible vocal men, senior leaders, demonstrating to the organization why this is important.
Amanda Hammett 7:19
I love it. I love that. And I couldn't agree more with everything you said. You're preaching basically to the choir here.
Jeffery Halter 7:27
Amanda Hammett 7:28
Let's talk for just a second. You and I have had some conversations today. And Mackenzie recently put out a study they annually put out a study on women in the workplace, partnering with LinkedIn, or I'm sorry Lena, and for quite a while to do this. But the 2019 study was really interesting and you actually pointed out that it would be a very interesting study in my work as well. specifically talking about that in just above the entry-level for Women, then actually I'd like to quote a little something from the intro to this study. So this is lean in 2019 study on women. An increasing number of companies are seeing the value of having more women in leadership, and they're proving that they can make progress on gender diversity. Still, women continue to be underrepresented at every level. To change the numbers, companies need to focus on where the real problem is. We often talk about the quote, the glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching senior leadership positions. In reality, the biggest obstacle that women face is much earlier in the pipeline. At the first step up to manager fixing this quote, broken wrong is the key to achieving parity. Yep. So let's talk about this broken wrong. I think that this is huge and it is something that really we don't hear a whole lot in The vernacular of the DNI space or just in my everyday work. So what is the broken rung mean? Exactly what is...
Jeffery Halter 9:08
You've got to look at this intersectionality of race and women to see really gross underrepresentation. And, and a lot of people might be sitting there thinking, Well, you know, that doesn't happen at my company. McKenzie research is based on 600 multinational companies. So this is very well documented research.
Jeffery Halter 9:08
Yeah, and this is fascinating. The Broken run basically is that first promotion whether that pardons me, individual contributor to senior individual contributor, team member to Team Leader. And what's really fascinating is, most research a lot of the McKenzie research a lot of the lean and research for years is focused on what we would describe as choke points, which we always thought were a director to VP, VP to SVP, SVP, the C suite, right. And what we're finding is and this is the first time they've actually reported on this, the broken rung exists at that first position. And for every 100 men promoted seven Two women are promoted 58 women of color are promoted. And so this isn't just a, a women thing.
Amanda Hammett 10:36
Jeffery Halter 10:37
And then you have to start to, to unpack what this looks like. Because think about this. Oftentimes, your first promotion in a company comes by another fairly young, possibly not well-trained leader, you know, we tend to focus I know certainly we did a Coca Cola on training directors. And sales leaders and that first level leader gets very little support get very little training. And oh, by the way, in 2020, you know, 10 years ago, that person may be had seven direct reports. Now they probably have 14 because organizations have been flattening, no support, no training. And now we're asking them to make what seems like a pretty routine decision.
Jeffery Halter 11:32
We need to promote someone right into their first job. And yet they've had no training in how to interview unconscious interview to mitigate unconscious bias. Maybe they aren't aware of concepts like diverse slates or more importantly, diverse panels. So slates are ensuring you have, you know, a minimum of one but ideally Two to three candidates who are women are underrepresented groups. Diverse panels are doing the same thing. Because what we're finding is diverse slates don't necessarily work when you as a young female command in your face by three older men. Yeah. And so that's why the interview panel has to also be diverse. And so this one simple thing. Picture this, if we promoted women in their first job at the same rate of men, we would have one more million women move into leadership in the next five years. So we keep thinking this is this huge struggle. And in fact, it starts very early and we can actually do something about it.
Amanda Hammett 12:52
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I'd like to circle back to something you just said about those diverse panels and so for those of you who don't aren't aware, Jeffrey is also an author. This is his book. It's called "Why Women" and it is phenomenal. You can see I have maybe left it a little too. But I actually went through and I was thinking about this very thing going into our conversation. And here's something that I've highlighted. I'd like you to talk about it. Many hiring managers often have a preconceived notation of what they're looking for someone who fits their definition of leadership, which is most often based on a traditional mock male model of leadership. I mean, and that is so so interesting because we don't think of it that way. Like this is just leadership. But...
Jeffery Halter 13:45
Yeah, so I'll give you and I can certainly share this with you on your website. So I do a training activity, and I list 30 words associated with management and We asked people to just check off their top 10 words they would associate with managers. She checked them off, no big deal, says what makes a good manager. And then I asked them to put a gender to that word.
Jeffery Halter 14:15
Now, it would be easy to say, you know, these terms are genderless. But I don't let them do that. You've got to pick the first one that pops in your mind. And what we find out is, and this is, this is based on a Google study of 80,000. leaders, and what we find is that two thirds, as many words are associated with men, as with women, the words much stronger things like an analytical risk-taker, assertive, the women words, much softer, much as you would imagine. And then they were asked when you think of a leader, how do you rank the words and instead of two thirds, four-fifths of the words 80% were associated with men, only 20% were associated with women. So this is a great simple exercise. And here's one more caveat on this.
Jeffery Halter 15:18
The New York Times in November of last year did an article and they asked fifth-grade girls to drop pictures of leaders. And literally every little girl drew a picture of a man. And so what it says is this predisposition starts very young. And so it's not just men who are thinking that leaders are men, to women also carry an unconscious bias. So this is just one element of what do we think a leader is? And in my book, I talked about the double bind. dilemma. And this is so critical, particularly for men to understand when you're interviewing women because women face a double bind dilemma. So Amanda, if you're too tough, you know what you're called?
Amanda Hammett 16:15
Yes, I do.
Jeffery Halter 16:16
And if you're too soft, you know what you're called?
Amanda Hammett 16:19
Jeffery Halter 16:20
You're never just right. It's the Goldilocks effect. Men. If you think about a continuum, you know, where assertiveness is at the one end, you know, men can be 90% profanity using pounding the table, you know, aggressive to down a 10%. Quiet, introvert, finance-oriented, but they're still respected as leaders. I don't have research on this, but I believe women fall into about a 45 to 55% narrow band where you know, you're not to a certain If you're not too soft, you're just right. Yes. And so it's a tightrope. It's a huge tightrope, and when we're evaluating talent, or more importantly, the performance reviews leading up to you being promoted, you know, so so assertive is a great word, or aggressive or emotional, you know, women are often called emotional. And that's everything from raising your voice. Oh, by the way, men raise their voice and no one judges them on it.
Jeffery Halter 17:33
Now, many times women are raising their voice because they're not being heard or they're being ignored in a meeting and I interpret that as, you know, oh, she's so emotional about this. Whereas when Ron pounds his fist and and, you know, drops an F-bomb, it's no big deal. And so these little subtle things really factor in and then I'll put one more out there. And it's really a tendency to see ourselves or someone like us in that candidate. This is a huge blind spot for companies that tend to recruit at the same schools. You know, when someone walks in the door, you know, if I went to Georgia Tech and you went to Georgia Tech, Does that just raise you up a notch? You know, in my eyes? Certainly, certainly. Do I, and this is a common one for men.
Jeffery Halter 18:36
You know, do I see myself in you 30 years ago when I was starting out? And so that's much harder for me to look at a young woman and say, Well, you know, gosh, can she really do this. So all of these biases are critical. And so smart companies implement, you know, programmatic elements to eliminate some of these But none of it makes it back down just going full circle down to that first level manager doing the first round of interview. And so I've got one simple solution. One simple solution doesn't cost any money. Every time you have that first level interview, right? I want the managers' manager to just ask a question.
Amanda Hammett 19:24
Jeffery Halter 19:25
How many women do you have on the slate? And if the answer is none, then you have a responsibility to look that manager in the eye and say, What are you doing to get some ready? And what are we going to do next time? Because it's just not acceptable, that you don't have any women ready? And oh, by the way, that simple question needs to be asked at every level of leadership because I've seen it in the C suite, where an EDP job comes open and We're sitting in talent review. And Jim puts forward the same three guys he's put up before. And then the CEO never looks at Jim and says, Okay, I'm giving you a pass this time. But what are you doing to get a woman ready? And that simple question is never asked, and it drives me crazy.
Amanda Hammett 20:23
Absolutely. And it's, you are so right, it starts so early. This is actually something that I have ongoing conversations with teams about. So in our company, we do something called the collision course. And it's the collision between leadership and next-gen talent. And there are various points along the way. And this is something that I'm always asking, you know, at these frontline leaders, are they ready? And are they willing to help identify what are you doing to identify these next, next leaders? And the question is always met with deer in the headlights like, you know, no process. And the process that they do have is inherently flawed.
Jeffery Halter 21:04
You know, and being a generational expert, you know, this, you know, I was raised in an era of command and control. You know, in the 90s, it was very easy to be a leader and a manager today. I need to manage Amanda differently than I managed Jim, and Terry, and Monica. And that takes a high degree of skill. And it takes so much more time and so much more investment. But it goes full circle to what do millennials want? What a Gen Z want? They want feedback. They want a challenge. And by the way, they may lead differently than you. Yes. But that's okay. You got to give them a chance. And by the way, they're going to make mistakes. We know we made mistakes, too.
Amanda Hammett 22:01
Yes, it seems like that idea of mistakes. It's just like don't talk about it. Don't talk about it.
Jeffery Halter 22:05
Amanda Hammett 22:06
Absolutely. Yeah. So what would be your suggestion for a company that is just they're really struggling at this first frontline level of preparing women, especially those early in career women to get up to that next to that first level of frontline leadership, what would you suggest to them?
Jeffery Halter 22:26
I think it's important to have programs and processes. You know, this is where HR meets the business. And you've got to have leaders understanding the purpose behind the HR programs and accountability and accountability being the big one. And again, I'll share this with you for your reader or Watchers on the website. But there are 10 things we need to hold leaders accountable in this space. And this is huge. Again. This came out of a McKinsey study delivering through diversity, but it's just as powerful. 86% of companies say they can articulate the business case, but only 16% hold people accountable. And so, you know, I was in sales for 20 years and I had a quota every quarter that if I didn't meet, I would be replaced. We yet we talked about setting goals and metrics for women in leadership and immediately we go, Oh, no, we can't count that we can't track that. We track everything in business, you have to track it. And so it goes back to holding people accountable for some of the things we talked about already. Diverse slates, diverse panels, regrettable losses is a big one. How are you identifying top talent you know, this whole notion of my big point is having a conversation on a weekly, weekly, monthly basis about our differences? And that's as simple as this.
Jeffery Halter 24:16
We all work really hard, but we really don't have time to understand each other. And it goes back to my very first premise around how I came to do this work. And so what I encourage organizations to do, and you can do this at every level, is pull something out of the newspaper, watch a YouTube video, watch a TED talk, and then just talk about it. You know this is we're in the middle of Black History Month, we're going to have Women's History Month, next month, you know, watch a video and then just talk about the concepts. You know, I know we're focused on you know, millennials and women, one of the best things I've ever seen And it's called the American sun. It's a stage play that's now on Netflix. And it stars Kerry Washington. And it's fabulous to show at a team meeting to start a conversation around race. And quite frankly, the things we don't understand about race. But there's great, you know, there are great movies for women, this representation is another one. But they don't have to be big. You know, once a week, the USA Today polls and publishes at least two or three articles on women, or millennials. And so just read the article and talk about it. So that so those are just some of the things I think companies can do.
Amanda Hammett 25:44
Absolutely. I think just opening up those lines of communication is basic first-level stuff that's free, and it can just, it's amazing what it can bring out of it not just seeing people's different perspectives, but also building trust and building those foundational items that you need for a team
Jeffery Halter 26:01
Amanda Hammett 26:01
Absolutely. All right. Well, Jeffrey, this has been really enlightening and eye-opening. Where can my audience find you?
Jeffery Halter 26:10
Yes. So a www.YWomen.biz, the Y being the Y chromosome, pretty easy to manage, and understand. But please go to my website, I have three white papers, I have a free assessment your leaders can take one is quality gender advocate profile, and one is called a male advocate profile. And it has 20 questions that cause you to think about how you become an advocate, but more importantly, the 10 steps and actions you can take to become an activist or an advocate. And so just go out and look around. I've got all kinds of free materials and we'd love to continue this conversation.
Amanda Hammett 26:59
Absolutely. Also, another plug for the book. If you get a copy of this book, you can mark up your own coffee. I like coffee. But again, Jeffery thank you so much for being here for sharing with us and enlightening all of us. Your work is phenomenal. And I am a big fan. So again, thank you to the audience for sharing your time with us. And we look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
Amanda Hammett 27:23
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world. But really share it with your friends with your colleagues because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode, so be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice. And you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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