Becoming a father has changed how I observe Father’s Day. As I celebrate my first Father’s Day with my son, I find myself reflecting back on my own father and how much he and my mother have shaped me to become who I am. I wouldn’t be doing the work I do now were it not for my father and his experiences. Today, I’d like to share some of his story.
It’s no secret that the best storytellers are often the most successful in their jobs, whether they work in sales, management, communications, education, etc. According to Indeed’s Career Guide, storytelling is one of the fundamental skills you would need for success in the workplace, and more importantly, it is a skill that you can learn.1
You may have seen multiple diversity acronyms on social or at work like DEI, I&D, DEIB, and IDEA. If you’re confused about what these terms mean and why there are so many, you’re not the only one. I’ve put together a quick guide explaining what they mean and what the differences are.
When I say “sponsorship support,” what comes to mind? Do you think of an athlete wearing branded gear? A big-name beverage company behind the Superbowl half-time show? While these are types of sponsorship, they are not what I’m referring to. In corporate workplace settings, sponsorship support refers to someone in a senior position advocating for you and your career advancement, usually as an outgrowth of a solid mentoring relationship.
When I was in my 20s and working at Apple, I had my own experience with sponsorship support and that’s where I learned the importance of it. I’ll share more about my story later in this post but first, let’s look at the similarities and differences between mentorship and sponsorship.
“Why don’t you try finding a coach?” my friend suggested to me as I recounted my woes of trying to move to a new city and find a new job at the same time. I’d been at it for three months and was not seeing results. I felt completely stuck. Even worse, old voices from the past had started taunting me in my head, telling me I wasn’t good enough and feeding into my doubts. I had heard about coaching and thought why not give it a try. Turns out I got a lot more than I expected.
Coaching and consulting are typically seen as two different services that don’t work together. You either get a coach, or you get a consultant. A quick Internet search of the term “coaching and consulting” results in 7 of the top 8 articles pitting the two sets of skills against each other, with only one article blending the two concepts and offering the new term “coachsulting.” In my experience as both a coach and a consultant, I have seen the benefits of offering both and being able to switch hats while working with clients.
Why is it so difficult for companies to achieve more diversity from recruitment efforts? One reason could be that the challenge stems not from a lack of desire, but from a poverty of network. Recruitment historically began with referrals through personal networks. People know people and recruit them to join their companies. But what happens when existing leadership and recruiters are mostly homogenous? A simple solution is to have them expand their network by spending time and getting to know people who don’t look, love, and live like them.
Despite the fact that many companies desire to hire more underrepresented talent, when it comes to actually putting it into practice, those who are able to do so seem few and far between. If you’ve been following my previous series of articles, you’ll know that we have been addressing retaining diverse talent as a first step toward better representation and higher company performance. In this series, we will examine how to improve the recruitment process.
As companies and organizations become more
aware and proactive about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), greater
emphasis is being placed on recruiting diverse talent. From my experience,
however, if the change is to be sustained, the focus is better placed on
retention and advancement (see my previous blog
posts about Focusing on Retention, Clogs in the Leadership Pipeline, and
Succession Planning). One
key strategy in retaining diverse talent is mentorship. In today’s post, we
will take a look at why mentorship is important, what a mentorship program
might look like in an organization, and the role of unofficial mentorship,
otherwise known as sponsorship.