1 August 2018 - BAM! Be A Multiplier

I have to confess when I first saw #BAM half of me did wonder if it was a Batman reference, to be closely following by POW! Of course not, don’t be silly. BAM means ‘Be A Multiplier’ and is all part of @SalesforceEQ. We were given a special deck from Salesforce and asked to present it during our July meetups. London Admins were happy to oblige and with a handy notebook and sticker in addition, well, who doesn’t love some swag.

The deck started by asking the presenter to share their equality story. I had a think and stopped at my first job that I took a few decades ago. I came up with 6 or so stories of things that had happened to me. As I prepared for the talk I looked back at these moments during the 3 years I was in the company and started to wonder that these weren’t so much about equality but about sexual harassment. I could laugh about these moments but there have been some other times when that hasn’t been the situation. I told the audience about these moments and as I spoke, our normally bubbly crowd was very quiet. Here’s a few of them; decide for yourself:
  • At a dinner a senior colleague made a comment on the size of my boobs, stating he didn’t realise they were so big. A female friend on the same table was offended and said I didn’t have to respond. I did respond by saying they were all my own work.
  • At another dinner, while overlooking a swimming pool the MD suggested we go skinny dipping. I declined his offer.
  • At a party I was heckled by my boss and asked to join his table as he wanted some ‘totty’ on it. I hesitantly obliged.
It now makes me wonder what they thought of me. Did I ever have a chance of career progression if my senior male colleagues openly made these remarks. Was I just seen as a dizzy blonde? But take a moment to turn it the other way, what did I think of them? Did they deserve my respect? What sort of role model were they to me? Was their behaviour in any way supportive towards me?

Fast forward 20-odd years and I’m hoping that the environment has changed dramatically. Certainly, businesses are now more aware how diversity in the workplace can help bring an interesting balance and more productivity when positively engaged.

McKinsey released a study on gender and ethnic diversity among Executives and found that businesses that embraced a more diverse group saw an above average profitability gain against others.

Maybe the middle-aged white male should start to get worried? Although, right now they are still sitting pretty. They have the over whelming majority of the executive positions across business. There are active steps to promote the 30% club.  https://30percentclub.org/ The suggestion that 30% of Executive places in FTSE boards will be filled by women but this is a long journey. We need to wait for these men to move out of these roles they hold and allow the new, diverse set to step in an try their luck. Maybe then we will see a shift in business attitude, real inclusivity.

Salesforce produced their own equality report and released the results to show how an inclusive culture can positively impact productivity, with examples such as 73% feeling their voice was heard, how 73% felt they belonged to the company and how 70% could bring their authentic self to work.

Salesforce is actively making the changes internally to embrace diversity and can see the benefits of an inclusive culture. What was very evident to see was their ecosystem is still some way behind them. At the recent London World Tour, a picture taken at the Partner forum showed a sea of middle aged white males; senior members of their respective companies. The change needs to happen here too. Speaking about it at community events is one way to share this information. But more proactive action needs to be taken if businesses are truly serious about it. The crazy thing is, there is minimal risk to take the leap. Businesses that embrace diversity are thriving. How do we get our leadership to make the change?

I'm fortunate that the company I now work for is supportive to this change. I suppose they started on a positive track with an Asian male CEO and both the board and global leadership team members feature a female presence, very nearly 30% for the board and 38% for the GLT. Funding Circle

I think the message is an easy one. If you don't think you are respected, are listened to or have the possibility to develop your career then find your own empowerment to walk away. Our industry, the world of Salesforce, offers us such opportunity to be selective with whom we choose to work for. Select well; find out what the business can offer you in matters of career progression and learning. In return, share with them your knowledge and be an active multiplier. #BAM. Help others in their journey; listen, share, be respectful and open doors that were previously shut to you. We can make a positive change and not replicate the past. 


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