I have been fully prepared not to like Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. The Facebook COO is beautiful, privileged, brilliant, successful (career, husband, children) and incredibly wealthy. The hype around the book has been that women are holding themselves back from complete success. They need to “lean in” and fully commit to making their careers and their lives happen. All of the press has been about the presumption that this means that we are not working hard enough and lack of equity is our own fault. Ugh.
I have not brought myself to reading this book yet, but I am somewhat inspired to do so after reading Ann Marie Slaughter’s review of the book in Sunday’s New York Times and watching Sandberg on 60 minutes.
In her book, Sandberg encourages women to monitor their own success, challenge their motives and make good decisions about priorities. At LWP, we refer to this as self leadership. Knowing yourself and your value and pushing for success are all parts of this. These are absolutely necessary for success.
Companies Continue to Lag Behind
But many women accomplish these things. And, certainly enough women push ahead with focus and drive that we should see greater numbers of corporate CEOs or Board directors than 16%. My conclusion is that these things are necessary for success but not sufficient for women to achieve equity.
It is also necessary for corporations to examine themselves, understand the benefits of having a diverse organization in terms of understanding customers and stakeholders, and provide an atmosphere for non-traditional candidates to succeed.
This is both necessary and sufficient.