(not) Moving Up? Women, Do You Know What Skills You Are (most likely) Lacking?

Upward move from middle management requires a particular sets of skills. Do you what they are?

Women, I implore you, if you are interested how to get – or why you are not moving upwards – from that ingrained middle management position even though you are liked, respected and your team works well under your leadership, click here and listen to these 14 minutes that can change your career and your life!

Why is it that in the last 20-30 years we have not closed the gender gap in organizational leadership? Why is it women still make only about 17% of leaders in their organizations? Why is it that if women make 50% of middle management why only less than 1/3 make it to top management?

That’s where the 33% is missing! Wonder no more!

Susan Colantuono is a wonderful un-hurried speaker who make TOTAL sense. I was sitting on my couch going Oh My Gosh, Oh my lord, Oh good grief, Oh my…(you get the picture here!) thinking how much sense it made and wondering why women don’t get to hear THIS very advise? Susan made me see very clearly the amount of work and strides we, as women, made to be now fully represented in ‘middle management’ at 50%, but not any higher. Why? What is the reason? What is the barrier? How do we overcome it as women and as a society together? Are we not educated? Not smart? Not strong? Not decisive or shark-ey enough? Not able to make tough decision? Not willing to stand up to authority? Not willing to risk?  Nah, that can’t be it… Why? Simple, because I KNOW!

And here is why:

Who EVER worked with a team of strong, authoritative, opinionated, educated, fearless, fierce, decisive, responsible, tough, hard-working, life-and-death-facing, crises-decision-making, disastrous-consequences-averting, administration-challenging, patient-advocating, doctors-opposing, and hunger-and-exhaustion-fighting intensive care unit (ICU) Registered Nurses (RNs) – they know better! Our continuous assessment, ongoing analysis, constant prioritization and re-prioritization, fearless leadership, team-building and communication skills, along with our ability to gather data, organize work and people, follow through, administer, implement and survive almost 13 hours of never-ending organized chaos and madness -> don’t tell me we cannot lead an organization where people don’t die if we delay our decision or where people’s health does not deteriorate if our analysis and communication is not performed within few minutes or hours?

What other organizations work under THOSE set of circumstances?

So reflecting upon my own career, thinking back on advise I have received or the words of wisdom I heard and let’s be honest – I never heard this! True, initially, studying nursing, the core objectives were clinical knowledge, taking care of babies and delivering the best nursing practice. Next, during my political science & women’s studies, I have not heard this either – probably thinking we will talk politics or policy (the operative word here “talk” I guess) so we will not need it. Where I finally figured out the importance and the need for a different set of skills, and where I truly comprehended what that aspect & ability could and would mean to an organization, was in Grad School and that was thanks to singing up for a series of  MBA classes over 1 year (2 semesters) at the UM School of Business!

Yes, we were/are told to beef-up on certain skills, skills that would bring us to middle management positions. So we did that. We are now more assertive, we lead projects and teams, we communicate better, we empower and engage others, our teams love to work with us, etc…. HOWEVER, those skills will get us and keep us at the middle management level, especially since the next upwards move requires a very different sets of skills and acumen. Do you know what they are?

Listen up, take notes and put your plan into action!

Educate, engage, empower, enrich.

3Ps of Ebola: Policy, Panic and Public

Treating and transporting an Ebola patient is very challenging.

Treating and transporting an Ebola patient is very challenging.

Friday’s decision by Maine’s District Court Chief Judge Charles LaVerdiere was the first indicator of much-needed public discussion & conversation about public health policies, personal liberties and Ebola.
Current CDC’s guidelines (11/1/2014), guidelines based on the latest scientific facts and gathered research data, clearly state that a person who is showing NO signs or symptoms of Ebola exposure, is NOT contagious, NOT infectious thus poses NO threat to public.

This is how World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mayo clinic describe Ebola infection’s symptoms:
“First symptoms are sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools).”
http://www.who.int  and   http://www.mayoclinic.org

People who have been in direct or possible linear contact with Ebola, are under direct/ active direct monitoring (Chief Judge LaVerdiere’s ruling, 10/31/14) and actively cooperating with state and local public health officials since the monitoring of signs and symptoms of Ebola exposure in persons designated as such is now the responsibility of the local and state health authorities. The moment they will start experiencing any of the above symptoms, they are instructed to contact public health officials and appropriate health authorities immediately, and exposure policies and guidelines will be followed, starting with an isolation room with a bathroom.

Government’s No #1 responsibility is to protect the public. In order to do so, public health policies must be set and enforced, yet need to be fluid, periodically re-examined and updated based on new scientific data, such as was the case of the latest updated data on CDC website regarding Ebola spread (10/30/2014).  http://www.cdc.gov

We should be setting responsible health policies based on scientific facts and latest research data, not on fear, panic or apprehension. It is up to us, healthcare professionals, relevant government authorities,
industry leaders and public officials, to clearly communicate with the public about latest events, management of the situation, and what to expect. Nothing fuels panic and fear, or breeds chaos, as a lack of information and the perception of a cover-up!

So let’s continue with appropriate monitoring, gathering data, assessing circumstances, updating policies when appropriate, but most importantly, let’s continue with communicating with the public!

The Poor Fit: 6 Signs That Your Job is Absolutely the Wrong One

Dangerously close, anybody ?!?!?
Live and learn…. Monitor, analyze, and if not the RIGHT fit -> get out! it’s allowed, it’s ok, it will be the right move in the end. I promise. Your career is CALLING YOU 🙂

Marla Gottschalk

wrong job

Many of us have experienced this — the wrong job. It’s really no one’s fault, but it’s dawned on you that your work life may be dangerously out of alignment.

Nothing is worse than throwing yourself into work, yet things just seem to go very, very wrong. The trick here? Identifying the problem for what it is (in very short shrift) and acting to make changes. Poor matches do happen. So, let yourself off the hook and avoid a long-term “soul sucking” experience. Remember that “withering on the vine” is not a viable career strategy.

Here are 6 signs that you should be paying attention to:

  • You feel lost. Have you had the classic nightmare that you arrive at class, only to find that you’ve not read a single page of the textbook and it is final exam day? This should not be your experience with work during waking hours…

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When Settling Cross-Functional Concerns — Lay the Cards on the Table

How revolutionary, I love it!!!
It goes completely against our self-diminishing, ingrained and drilled-in office “etiquette of a sheep” with expected customs of “keeping the calm”, not making any waves, keeping the peace, playing nice, being a team player, not be pegged as a troublemaker or thought of as “the problematic one”. Yes, I LOVE IT!

Marla Gottschalk


When different functions within our own organizations aren’t seeing “eye to eye”, we tend to shy away from bringing them together. We don’t intend to prolong the conflict — but, in reality, that is what occurs. Our instincts are often to act as an intermediary and settle the issue calmly and quickly. But, that is likely not in the best interest of the organization.

Digging into the concerns is often the best route, especially if the conflict directly affects your clients or customers. Often it’s time for things to change — yet we’ve ignored the signs or haven’t had the opportunity to address the issues.

It’s best to lay the cards on the table and expose the root of the problems, even when this is an extreme challenge, as quickly as possible. Hopefully, exploring the developing issues wards off delivery problems related to products and services.

When I’m called in…

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