Lean-in toward a more human way to work
I was sitting on my couch earlier today. Princess T, who is 4 and changes her outfit at least as many times as that per day and little L, who follows her around like a shadow but tries to avoid being dressed up (18months) were playing downstairs in their room.
I had been watching Sheryl Sanberg’s original ‘Lean In’ talk for about the third time. I tear up when she describes how her 3 year old daughter clings to her leg when she drops her off at pre-school and begs her not to get on the plane. Every mother who has ever left the house without her child has experienced what Sheryl describes, probably lots of dads too.
I feel an exciting sense of possibility, as well as the heavy weight of responsibility, as I hear her talk about sitting at the table. I have recently ‘left the table’ where I had sat in a senior-ish strategy role (writing Board papers and facilitating strategy conversations) at a large iconic Australian corporate and am not keen to head back into the rough and tumble of corporate strategy, which seems to be more about politics that business.
I recall a conversation I had yesterday with a friend who had recently left the same large corporate where we had worked together for a few years. She had just returned from a week in Fiji where she had had time to contemplate the ‘Big issues’.
“I am feeling very passionate about the issue of women in leadership right now” she said, “if we can’t get that right, how can we get other issues of diversity right?”
My immediate response was that “unless we can get organisations fit for people, they wont be fit for women.”
Unless we make qualities like empathy, creativity, imagination and courage valued in our workplaces, we will only ever be bringing part of ourselves to work.
I am writing not to lean in, but to lean toward a better way to work.
In doing so, I want to work with others who value at their core, the idea that their purpose in life is to contribute the way only they are uniquely able. To serve others by exploring their own unique talents.
This journey of discovery of my unique contribution to this special world is an ongoing project for me, but one that I increasingly focus, as I am reminded of my singular potential by my beautiful children, and the example I want to set for them.
This is not a blog about being a mum, although my kids might enter the stories sometimes. I am hoping it will be the start of a community of strategy thinkers, who like me, need to first make an organisation that is fit for me. Fit for me to thrive, laugh, play and do some serious, purposeful work.