Have you heard that women just aren’t ambitious? Women are happy with where they are. Men ask for a promotion all the time but women? Hardly ever.

Recent research suggests that women are equally as ambitious as men but often get frustrated and blocked by existing corporate structures… so this percentage drops precipitously two years in and even more when they start a family. Many believe they “shouldn’t” make career their first priority because family is “most important.” There’s no time for promotions anyway.

The Reframe: Open Up To Possibilities

We can start by redefining the outdated structures. When we rely solely on who-knows-who to determine the best candidate, then yes, women will continue to look as if they don’t want the promotion. But if we make the process more transparent, clear, and focused on the skills we want, we will open up possibilities to get the best candidate, not the most well-connected or overtly ambitious candidate… unless being well-connected is the skill this particular job demands.

Women can reframe too, recognizing that career and family are compatible. It’s not an either/or choice; it’s a decision to say yes to both. Once women reframe their mindset, they can then figure out when, not if, a promotion is something they can handle.

Try This:

Look at the criteria you use to evaluate candidates for promotion. What data points do you use? How might you expand the criteria and make it more objective?

Try a policy that says you want a minimum of 30% of all promotion candidates to be women. Watch what happens.

Thoughts/Comments? Post your ideas here.

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