How should a career woman evaluate the culture of a company? How does she know if her persistence will pay off, or if it is time to pack her bags and seek new adventures?
“Finding the right organization and culture to thrive in is a personal endeavor,” says Nadine Haupt, author of the new book “ Fall in Love with Monday Mornings: The Career Woman’s Guide to Increasing Impact, Influence and Income” ( Indie Books International, 2015). “What works for some women may not work for others.”
Since the 1990s Haupt has blazed a successful trail from pit lane to the corporate boardroom—including becoming the first female trackside engineer in IndyCar. Today, as an international professional speaker and leadership coach, she helps individuals accelerate their impact, influence, and income to create success and wealth on their terms.
“You have to be able to fit within the structure and character of a company to perform at your best,” says Haupt. “Find a corporate culture with men that have a strong desire to support and advance women. Culture is driven from the top down. Leadership defines the values, and more importantly, the behaviors of a culture and organization. These values show up significantly in overall decision-making and how to promote from within.”
Haupt advises women to ask themselves these 10 tough questions:
- How many women serve on the board of directors? How many women are represented in senior leadership (C-suite and senior executive staff)?
- What is the senior leadership commitment to advance women at all levels of the organization?
- What networks are available or unavailable to women? What informal networks meet to actively discourage or encourage women?
- What leadership development plan process for individuals does the organization have? How well are women represented in the process? Are women proportionately represented?
- What measurement of results to show achievement of more women in higher-level positions does the organization use?
- What is the perception of fairness amongst all employees—men and women, regardless of position?
- What evidence is there that the right people are being promoted for the right reasons?
- How well are senior level men sponsoring women?
- How open and comfortable do leaders appear discussing the aspirations of women and asking about them?
- How do women in the organization feel in terms of belonging and being treated equally?
As a woman, advises Haupt, you first have to figure out what you want. Start with perfecting your inner game. Get clear and focused on your own strengths, values, priorities, and goals. Then, evaluate your organization and culture. You always have choices.
“Reach out to others — both men and women — in your organization to truly understand the culture,” says Haupt. “If your career goal is to pursue an executive role, it’s imperative you find the right industry, organization, and culture to support your path. Discuss the expectations—both your own and your organization’s—of the executive role you are pursuing. Do they match your personal values, priorities, talents, and strengths? You are the driver in this race. You make the moves to open new doors of opportunity.”
Haupt’s book is already winning praise.
“Like the race car engines Nadine Haupt designed, her book is a powerhouse resource for women seeking not just winning strategies in male dominated businesses, but fulfilling personal and professional lives,” says W.E.Reilly, a retired senior officer from Elkay Manufacturing Company