The consistent problem that I see is that the solutions are not taking into account the unique psychology and physiology of women.
For example, most women’s groups helping women grow their business are still operating with an ancient model. Likely you know the one – it’s where a meeting is held monthly or quarterly and each woman is given 5-15 minutes to present, share or ask for advice. This model does not give participants the specifics needed to scale or grow effectively. Women leave feeling good simply because they’ve connected with other women, have been heard and feel valued for their input, but more often than not they’re leaving without having received any imperative training necessary to rise or grow.
From the corporate standpoint, women are still struggling with confidence and asking to be promoted. Often they hold back because of corporate culture and lack of mentorship and sponsorships. There’s a lot of lip service happening, but where are the outlined programs and action steps being taken?
What’s at stake if we continue this ancient model and refrain from delivering important training for women to succeed?
According to a McKinsey Global Institute Report, “the economy would grow 10-12% by 2025 if women had parity.” (1)
In the U.S., women currently control 51%, or $14 trillion, of personal wealth and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020 (2)
Women cannot reach their economic potential without understanding the subconscious motivations influencing them daily because those are the factors leading to opting out, exhaustion, burnout, overwhelm and depression.
So what is the solution?
There are five collaborative pillars that are necessary for women to rise to relevance and reach their economic potential, they are: Mindset, Communication, Financial Literacy, Sales and Technology.
One pillar without the others will only advance a woman’s career path slightly. Combined each pillar integrates in a robust fashion, just like the way a woman’s brain works (think massive ball of tangled wire or yarn where everything is touching everything). When women are given training in all five of these areas, confidence will no longer waiver. Economic potential will be attained.
Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels.
Let’s look at why these five pillars will actually transform confidence for women.
The 5 Pillars Women Need Training In To Rise To Relevance:
Pillar #1 – Mindset
In order to learn confidence Mindset training is the necessary place to begin for women. Neuropsychology shows that what you think about affects your genetic makeup all the way down to your DNA. Women think in layers, a thought isn’t just a thought. Within the female brain there are sometimes ten sub-thoughts that contribute to that one thought. If you consider why confidence varies with women consider this experience. A woman wants to uplevel her life. She wants to take a risk and do something she’s never done before. Instead of investigating steps and having confidence in herself to try, she will check with someone else to see if what she’s doing is ‘right. Then, with that same thought or desire, she will more often than not talk herself out of a decision ten times before she makes it. Unfortunately it’s also that she’ll side with the risk averse option simply because she hasn’t learned to think prolifically for her own benefit and results. If women want to rise up and break through the glass ceiling, what they are thinking about has to change and how they are thinking has to help them rather than hinder them.
Pillar #2 Communication
Although women are said to be the better communicators of the two genders, when it comes to; voicing opinions, ideas or solutions in a business setting, asking for a raise, or negotiating salary or a contract, confidence once again factors in. Women are notoriously undervaluing their voice and value, yet without learning how to communicate for the results being sought, the conversation cannot change.
Women haven’t learned how to communicate to get what they want, and in my humble opinion, communication simply hasn’t been modeled in an effective way because of history in the workforce.
Women have either had to fight for positions creating competition and animosity or they’ve been silently accepting whatever has been given to them. In both scenarios, communication has occurred with a cost and has been repeated over time.
Pillar #3 – Financial Literacy
Women notoriously shy away from money conversations.
Regardless of whether the conversation is about salary, services or allowing their money to work for them, the subject generates a palpable discomfort with most women. It’s noticeable that financial institutions everywhere are trying to corner the market with financial literacy and education for women, yet most are missing a fundamental understanding – scare tactics don’t work.
Financial literacy involves risk, women who are mainly risk averse can’t start with fear or they will not take action. In order to shift the financial literacy paradigm for women we must begin with why money is as equally important as love. The positive benefits of how money can work for a woman isn’t being messaged or emphasized. While the research supports the approach, psychologically and physiologically this sends most women into a further money twizzle.
Can you imagine the response women could have if they knew they didn’t have to pine for money but could be empowered with how to make more, keep more and have more money freedom? To truly empower women and help them gain confidence with financial literacy women need to feel comfortable, understood and acknowledged. As soon as this happens there is a confidence and integral sense of pride that comes with making awesome financial decisions and earning the value that a woman knows she’s worth.
Pillar #4 – Sales
Sales boil down to one thing – confidence.
To sell anything there is an equal value of confidence in self and confidence in the product or service. The very reason the sales industry is not dominated by women boils down once again to…confidence.
Now that’s not to say that there aren’t incredible women in sales, because once a woman can hone her skills in sales – the sky is truly the limit, but to develop self in order to get there is often where women fall short. I often think of the coaching industry as a prime example, women dominate the coaching and consulting industry yet most struggle with having confidence in their services and their value, decreasing their ability to obtain clients.
After sitting in a variety of sales trainings to investigate the education women are receiving – I understood why more women aren’t learning the art of selling – it’s geared to men. All the images, all the annologies, all the content speaks in masculine nuances with approaches that often repel women from selling and buying.
Sincerity in sales is a requirement for women to sell and buy. Relationships, especially in Canada are critical for the sales cycle. The story, the connection, the understanding of one’s value proposition both personally and professionally factor in and once those areas are realized women become unstoppable.
Pillar #5 – Technology
I have to say, after a year of learning technology, making massive mistakes and also receiving horrific advice (sometimes from other women in the industry) this is a pillar that is going to require attention and FAST!
From algorithms on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to SEO optimization, internal linking and API keys all the way to sales funnels and automated processes – “Houston we have a problem!” Women are lagging in everything technological and it’s preventing women from scaling. If you have a service based business but do not have online products, scaling will be next to impossible.
If you are in corporate but are not up to date on your industries technology or using simple microsoft applications that will help simplify processes to reduce time, you will struggle moving up the corporate ladder (consider even creating a simple powerpoint presentation – it’s no longer acceptable to do a presentation with just text, graphics are a must!). Most women will describe in detail how they are not confident with technology.
Technology isn’t to be feared or repelled though, instead technology can be incredibly empowering. Consider technology in the same light as money. Teach a woman how to scale to many through technology instead of one-to-one and she’ll conquer the world because her time will become hers again. Technology is here to stay and the faster women learn it and embrace it, the faster we climb to our potential.
In each of these pillars I’ve cited confidence as the underlying psychophysiological reason women struggle to meet their economic potential. Confidence comes from learning, repeating and transforming information into wisdom. Each of these pillars can be learned and applied easily with support and easy to digest training. If you’re a corporation, investing in these pillars to develop talent will create a massive ripple effect in your bottom line and employee engagement and retention. If you’re an entrepreneur investing in these pillars will help you reach the goals you’ve held in your heart and have been struggling to realize.
I’ll leave you with this, if you’re not investigating these pillars, in two years time you’re going to be under the spotlight wishing you had. Wouldn’t you rather be proactive than reactive? I guess only time will tell.
CEO & Founder of Wealthy Woman Warrior™
Andrea created her proprietary mindset training, Power To Thrive™ over 15 years ago. We're now in a time where one's environment is constantly changing and pushing people mentally to their limits - if you don't have tools in place to help you navigate disruption, you simply need to get it. Invest in your mind and your success will follow.
Andrea Carter is on a mission to empower 1 million women to reach their economic potential by 2025. She believes that through collaboration and these 5 pillars women can rise to relevance.
The Gender Gap Affects Everyone.