Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith

Trying to master every detail of your job in order to become an expert is a great strategy for keeping the job you have. But if your goal is to move to a higher level, your expertise is probably not going to get you there. In fact, such mastery often serves to trap you in your current role. […] Of course, we’re not advocating sloppy … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith

People buy what you’re selling because they like and trust you, and because they believe that what you offer may have value for them. Why do they believe this? Because you so obviously do. Mesmerizing belief in the product is the secret of every great salesperson.

How Women Can Succeed by Rethinking Old Habits

Everyone has self-limiting behaviors; this is simply part of being human. But our combined six decades of professional experience coaching and working with women in virtually every sector have taught us that even women at the highest levels can undermine themselves with specific self-sabotaging behaviors that are different from those that most frequently undermine men.

Expertise, connections, and personal authority are all non-positional kinds of power … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen

The design of defaults is thus of great importance. And that importance is only magnified by the flawed nature of human decision making. Although lawmakers, economists, and providers of healthcare and social services used to assume that people based decisions on their own rational self-interest, seven decades of behavioral data have demonstrated that this is rarely true. In reality, people are influenced by random factors … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen

This rising quantity of quantification has surely improved our understanding of what superior leaders can achieve, and has given organizations valuable information to use when hiring and developing talent. But has it improved the quality of leadership in the real world? High turnover rates and a paucity of effective leaders suggest either that there’s no correlation between studying leadership and leading or that the scientific … [ Read more ]

It’s All Cass Sunstein’s Default

The law professor who brought behavioral science into public policy believes that with a little intervention, we can all have the freedom to choose wisely.

The Organization Man and Woman

I was struck, yet unsurprised, by a new survey featured in the Financial Times showing that women view “workplace culture” as the biggest impediment to their careers by a significant margin. Although work–life balance continues to monopolize public discussion, the number of female respondents reporting that a workplace designed by and for male advancement was the primary barrier to their own advancement was nearly double … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen, Beverly Kaye

Leaders who worry excessively — the up-all-night types — can set a cautious or even frightened tone that spreads discouragement. In Beveryly Kaye’s experience, “worried leaders tend to fail their people in one of two ways. They may be distracted and overlook signals people send about what they are capable of. Or they micromanage, either because they don’t trust their people or as a way … [ Read more ]

Say It Loud

Could differences in how women and men articulate ambition early in their careers play a role in determining what opportunities come their way?

Sally Helgesen

The belief in the essential equity, not to mention the efficacy, of pay for performance remains a bedrock of many modern firms. And it’s often a prime reason that companies today are so likely to describe themselves as meritocracies in which anyone with smarts, talent, commitment, and guts can thrive.

Yet the work I’ve done in recent decades with organizations’ diversity efforts suggests that this meritocratic … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen

As most of us who’ve worked in even well-run and successful companies can attest, a hearty, “Great idea, boss!” is the grease that keeps most careers moving. Rebels may start and build companies, but they rarely get promoted to run them.

Meritocracy without the Numbers

One of the most encouraging recent management trends has been the move away from rigid, numerically based annual performance reviews. As larger companies follow Silicon Valley early adopters in rethinking the wisdom of the annual performance review, the question arises: What might replace it? What might a more human and flexible way of assessing employee contribution and gauging developmental needs look like? As yet, no … [ Read more ]

Frances Hesselbein’s Merit Badge in Leadership

The former CEO of the Girl Scouts has spent decades bringing professional management to nonprofits.

The Entrepreneurship Coach

Working with startups showed Ernesto Sirolli how anyone can have more impact: Shut up and listen.

Sally Helgesen

Real engagement doesn’t flow from trying to convince yourself that what your company produces will change the world for the better–– a fairly fruitless quest for many. Rather, meaning must be sought in how the scope of our work allows us to reach our highest potential.

The Female Vision: Defining Women’s Strategic Strengths

We believe that what women see—what they notice and value and how they perceive the world in operation—is a greatly under-exploited resource in organizations. In this manifesto, we explore what the female vision is, what it has to offer, and why it matters—to women, to organizations and to the world. In this manifesto, we explore what the female vision is, what it has to offer, … [ Read more ]

The Practical Wisdom of Ikujiro Nonaka

To help corporations create knowledge more consciously, the author of Managing Flow draws on Western and Eastern philosophic traditions.

Sally Helgesen

An organization’s conception of human capital is manifest in its culture, and culture is inculcated by process and behavior guidelines that are passed along as one employee imitates another. The process is most effective when the capacity for self-expression in the ranks is consonant with expectations set at the top and an autonomous spirit flourishes.

Sally Helgesen

In many companies, people automatically assume that explicit knowledge is more reliable and accurate—a way of thinking that dates back at least to the era of scientific management.When an executive says, “Cut to the chase, just give me the numbers,” he or she is declaring his allegiance to episteme by attempting to exclude information that arrives through subjective means.

But organizations that favor explicit over tacit … [ Read more ]