I listened to a talk recently by Brand Guru, Michelle Ghilloti who strongly believes that being open, honest and authentic in your business is a must.
Sharing the “real you” and allowing the right clients to resonate and connect with your brand and your message is something Michelle certainly advocates.
Women who make happiness their business transform the world.
She knows a thing or two having worked with having worked with brands such as got milk?, Hewlett-Packard, Crystal Cruises, adidas, Nike and Starbucks before in 2001, she created MGI “as a home for the self-expression of women, a place where women could design businesses and lives that would support their authentic desires and intellectual goals.”
I completely resonate and agree with Michelle’s message and although her talk was mainly aimed at female entrepreneurs it made me think about my current work talking to corporates about their diversity and gender strategies and improving their maternity return-ship rates.
In my recent event, Bumps and the Boardroom, one thing that became very apparent from my 11 conversations was that not everyone feels comfortable being honest and open during the maternity period.
Read that as most people don’t – and keep shtum.
I have further explored this “off the record” and have countless admissions from women from junior to senior levels (including a Partner at a Law Firm, a Senior Manager at a large Investment Bank and a H.R Manager of a Global Corporation) who confirmed that whilst on maternity leave they definitely do not speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Equally several employers have confirmed they are advised to leave their pregnancy employees “well alone” until they are due to return and not to enter into any dialogue or discussion in case it is misconstrued.
In a corporate environment both employers and employees feel the need to be cautious and so truthful conversations and understanding on both sides cannot be developed.
During the early postnatal period scientific evidence confirms that there is a change in the function of the new mother mind to allow more instinctive and intuitive bonding with her newborn. Whilst she is still more than capable of rational thought, the focus is on tuning-in to more sensitive and subtle cues and connections. Making firm, unwavering decisions based on logic is unnatural and going against her biological make up – whatever her level of intelligence generally.
I understand this is a sensitive and delicate time but what is clear to me is that we need to find ways to be more honest and open.
For real success, personal and professional happiness and desires should not be censored by either party, yet they constantly are.
Until a greater level of trust, respect and greater value is placed on authenticity, in the City it still looks to be a real shade of grey.