Leading organizations today recognize that we live complex lives, and that we can be our most creative and productive selves when we bring more of who we are into the corporate culture. The need to split ourselves between who we are at work, and who we are in the rest of our lives, is becoming less and less acceptable to women and men alike.
I remember when this revolution began, and recently had the opportunity to reflect on my history in corporate culture with my dear friend Will Wilkinson and his colleague Christopher Harding on their podcast series Thriving in Business and Life.
In the mid to late nineties, I was leading the European office for my Toronto based consulting firm. We were smack in the middle of a huge corporate culture shift program with IBM, who was learning to become more nimble to adjust for the new computer kids on the block, like Microsoft.
The corporate leadership culture was shifting dramatically from hierarchical, more Masculine command and control styles to much more flexible and inclusive Feminine approaches that allowed for empowered actions further down in the organization.
But let’s remember that this was also the ‘shoulder padded’ era for women. We literally had to ‘man up’ like football players and put on the clothing of the patriarchy to be able to break into the ‘old boys club.' It was by embracing hypermasculine heroic leadership that two generations of (mostly western) women were able to level the playing field for themselves and others. And while I believe it was correct for us to develop our Masculine strengths at that time, it was often at the expense of our deep Feminine wisdom, love and power.
Much to my surprise it was the women who were the most resistant to letting go of the more ‘hypermasculine’ approaches to business that they had worked so hard to cultivate. It was experiencing so many women caught in this gap, and seeing this unaddressed dilemma, that led me to leave my consulting firm and open an executive coaching practice just for women.
Immediately, my practice was full with women who were suffering inside the old paradigm; women who didn’t want to give up what they had worked so hard for, and couldn’t see another way forward.
It quickly became clear that we needed way more than just leadership skill building. I began to see that women, myself included, were simply up against the limits of an outdated Masculine model of wholeness. And we needed a new developmental path forward.
This led me to a graduate degree in developmental psychology, over fifteen years of research, and our three-time award winning book The Way of the Mysterial Woman: Upgrading How You Live, Love, and Lead.
My work is very practical. I have always been interested in how inner change translates into outer leadership capacity. I believe women are poised to be powerful agents of change in our troubled world today. But that won't happen using the same old thinking and 'inner operating system' that got us to where we are now. Our book lays out not only our theoretical discoveries but also is full of case studies and practices that will help women get started on their own inner upgrade now.
I’m interested in awakening women’s consciousness so that they can show up in the world with much more effectiveness, grace and resilience. If you are longing to lead a new cultural paradigm that integrates the Feminine and the Masculine; if you are ready to lead differently in your organization, your family, and your community: start here.
And we are so eager to hear how this resonates with your own experience in corporate culture. Please, share your story here: