One of the most important challenges facing workplaces today is that of cultivating a diverse workforce and an environment where all employees can thrive. Helping employees develop and refine the essential skills they need beyond job-specific qualifications is critical in a competitive work environment.
The Voice & Influence (V&I) program, offered through the Clayman Institute’s Center for Women’s Leadership, fulfills a dual goal: to empower women and men to be as effective as possible and to help create organizations where all people can thrive. The online curriculum features educational modules with faculty from leading universities, along with guidelines and exercises that allow individuals and groups to be creative in using and applying the material.
Clayman Institute has just released two exciting new V&I modules that build on existing modules by focusing on two essential skills often overlooked or underemphasized by women in particular: networking and mentoring. These videos offer expert advice from recognized authorities in each field.
While mentoring is often viewed as one person giving and the other person receiving, Stacy Blake-Beard, Professor of Management at Simmons College, defines mentoring as a mutually empowering relationship where both parties learn and benefit. Blake-Beard offers insight into the importance of developing mentoring relationships that are based in both similarity and difference—where individuals can build common ground and learn from their differences.
Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD Business School, explores the importance of networks, debunks common misconceptions about networks, and offers strategies for building effective networks. Ibarra highlights the power of strategic networks, which are critical for career advancement. Among the strategies discussed, some are especially relevant to women, including developing the value they bring to their network and, when facing time constraints, how to prioritize and invest in a few activities to enhance their networks.
Relationships matter and can often make the difference between success and failure in a career, in making change or in getting things done, whether in a community or organization. “Women in particular don’t think about this enough, either personally or in other relationships,” says Marianne Cooper, Clayman Institute sociologist. “We find that women’s work and personal networks overlap less than men’s do, especially after they have children. Women tend to have less time and difficulty prioritizing. So, developing an effective career network can often be more difficult and less efficient.” Since management levels are most often dominated by men, women have the additional challenge of navigating across another dimension of difference and reaching out across gender relationships. The V&I modules provide a framework and guidelines to help viewers navigate these challenges.
“Connections and relationships are essential both in advancing your own career and advancing the careers of others,” Cooper continues. “Anyone who wants to achieve something or focus on a goal has to think about the relationships that enable them to do that.”
The new V&I modules are available for viewing on the Clayman Institute's Center for Women's Leadership website. Videos can be watched individually or with a group, using the discussion guides to share experiences and discuss what "One Action" individuals can take to increase their own voice and influence.