Alexis Berger, the aggressive and competitive 32-year-old marketing executive at Kargo Global earned over $1 million per year, plus bonuses. She helped grow the company from annual revenue of $5 million to $135 million.
And then she got fired.
Most companies spend days, weeks, sometimes months with their C-Level executives to establish the mission, vision, and core value of a business. But without proper balanced leadership training, how can an organizations culture change to reflect of all this effort?
In this example there is a woman leader who making big contributions to the bottom line and she still gets singled out.
It all began with vague complaints about Alexis Berger’s behavior even though Kargo Global’s culture was shaped by aggressive men. For example one male employee has a documented history of sexual discrimination, and another known “hothead” toxified the office climate to unbearable levels.
That is what the arbitrator, Mr. Colombaro’s 32 findings state. Berger was punished for the same behavior that men got away with. Poignantly, the arbitrator stated, “it is clear from Kargo’s actions and collective attitude that a woman is not permitted to act like a man.”
This double standard cost the company 41 MILLION DOLLARS that were awarded in arbitration to Alexis Berger.
This costly fiasco could have been prevented
Imagine if the company had invested $75-250 thousand dollars to assess their leadership imbalance, derive a customized plan, and provided balanced Executive Leadership training along with a company-wide roll out instead. And let’s not even talk about the insurance premiums that Kargo Global will have to dish out for the coming years.
I founded The Women’s Code to address the multiple facets needed to create a FAIR and balanced workspace.
But first, we must establish the baseline. Without a clearly identified baseline and established leadership attributes that range from female to male centric, without that, there cannot be a fair work environment and there will never be balance.
We have many examples of what doesn’t work. For example hiring a couple more women and hoping for the best. That’s like the re-education of the wolf. Behavior is ingrained in the culture and merely raising the issue won’t fix it. We have to demonstrate how everybody wins. If I were to discuss with a predominately white, middle-aged, male workforce how they need to be less biased and more supportive toward women, they will all nod in agreement. But unless we demonstrate that there is a benefit for them there won’t be lasting change. Because there is no buy in, just another thing that men have done wrong that needs to be fixed (and men hate feeling that way.)
That is why without buy in, training is useless. In fact, it can create more hostility.
There is a simple way to do this. I call it The Women’s Code Sliding Scale Of Leadership Attributes. It demonstrates how supporting women is a good thing for even the men, and what’s in it for them. With a Sliding Scale Of Leadership Attributes you have female- and male-centric leadership attributes that are aligned with the core values and the mission and vision of your organization. Your employees choose a few attributes that they want to develop.
Men can finally broaden their own leadership skills and women can identify and find the recognition for our own leadership style that we so badly crave.
Let’s discuss how this this small idea can be the leadership game-changer in your organization and profoundly influence your culture—naturally and with buy in from everyone. Everyone wins, the men and the women.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.