Confession: Why I Wrote WHY WOMEN
Jeffery Tobias Halter’s book WHY WOMEN – The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men is available now on Amazon.
I’m frequently asked, what are you hoping to achieve with your book WHY WOMEN? What are your goals? I wrote this book is to generate powerful conversations and drive a sense of urgency to change organizational conversations regarding women and to support, educate and stimulate advocates for change.
As one of the female participants in a focus group pointed out upon reading my draft manuscript,
I immediately wanted to give a copy to every male colleague and say “Read this book!”
One of the most powerful lessons I learned in working with women is that you really don’t have to convince them that this is a good idea. They already get it. They live with issues and challenges every day. My job is to convince men (and quite frankly, a few women) that this is really a good thing for them and their organization.
Men also need to hear this message from another man. They need to hear it from a guy who’s been on the front line with bottom line responsibility – and has the scars to prove it. In the book, I provide facts and data. I’m a man, and if you’re going to convince other men you will need facts and data. Additionally, I will say that many men and many organizations are starting to realize the importance of women to their organizations and to their bottom line. The primary issue that’s lacking in most organizations is a true sense of urgency.
We have been talking about women in the workplace and marketplace for over twenty years but the pace of change lacks a true sense of urgency. That should be the goal for leadership and it is the goal of this book.
This book is plainly written for business and executive leaders (still 84 percent men), who want to solve their biggest business issues.
I believe that women provide one of the best solutions for doing this, yet men have a difficult time adjusting to this new line of sight. Men tend to function very well and are quite comfortable in today’s world of business and it’s not hard to understand why. The world of business was designed by men for men at a time when companies were populated almost exclusively by men. For that underlying reason, it’s difficult for men to view their workplace from any other perspective.
I don’t think we have any.
The best example of a company having its own epiphany is one I had the privilege to work with a few years ago. It is a mid-sized publicly traded company with a great corporate culture, great growth, and terrific profits. It is a proto-typical great place to work. Yet, when the company president looked around the table at his executive team, he saw eight white men looking back at him and he said:
Gentlemen, I don’t know much about this Diversity Thing, but as I look around me, I don’t think we have any.
When you look at your leadership team, what does it look like? Chances are it looks just like this president’s team. What’s important to note is that they were already very successful. It would have been easy to maintain status quo. Instead this visionary leader realized they were missing something. That’s how simple this is and how hard.
While, eight white men at a table can in fact be diverse. I will acknowledge that this is true and I would never seek to homogenize any group of individuals. That being said, chances are, most of these men act, behave, and think in a manner very similar to the other men sitting at the table. These men arrived at their position in the company by performing and acting in a very similar manner to the seven other white men in the room.
As I said they were successful but yet realized they were missing something because:
if you look, think and act like me – why do I need you at this table?
More importantly, do you think, act, and represent the mindset of the majority of your employees and customers.
This is a partial answer to the question, why did I write WHY WOMEN and what am I hoping to accomplish. If this topic resonates with you share this post with others, subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter and Linkedin – let’s get this conversation going to create real change for women in the workplace.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is president of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on creating integrated women’s leadership strategies through male engagement.