What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: IV. The Shifting Female Mindset
Given both the high cost of turnover and the imminent loss of talent with the retiring baby boomers, U.S. companies have very high stakes in understanding and revisiting their development strategies for high-achieving women. If companies are misreading the reason high-achieving women are absent from the boardroom, the solutions they invest in will not make a difference. It is critical that corporations listen and learn what these women want out of their lives and what assistance they need to get it.
Additionally, and possibly even more importantly, the women themselves need to better understand the complex and sometimes contradictory interweaving of their shifting desires and identities. They need to hear their own voices as they discover what criteria they use to make choices—as they explain how they show up in relationships and how they represent themselves in particular contexts and activities at work. In some cases, they need to recognize the salient contrasts between what they think they are presenting and the actual behavior that other people observe.
Therefore, the objectives of this study are to address the following questions:
How do high-achieving women present themselves in the workplace today? How are they making decisions? How would they define their relationships with their work and their colleagues? What drives them to give “their all” and what drains their motivation, eventually driving them away?
How do high-achieving women define success? Do they think their definitions of success are in conflict with what the rest of society would call “a successful businesswoman?”
As high-achievers, do they feel they are different from other men and women? How do they manage this difference?
Are they aware of any of their behaviors that have or will hinder their career aspirations?
Are they aware of any changes they have made since they started their careers that have helped them to get ahead? What adjustments have they made as a result of their experiences and “lessons learned?”