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Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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S The Glass Wall Success Strategies For Women At Work And Businesses That Mean Business by Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob culture of our clients; often because we are basically complying with a set of unwritten rules that are baked into the world.' Phillip is referring to 'Cryptonomics,' the kind that operate in the workplace. Manage- ment consultant Peter Scott-Morgan has described systems of hidden rules that any workplace operates by but that no one will tell you about. All workplaces have these rules. Unless you gain an understanding of them, every setback can feel personal. If you find out what the rules of the game are, then you can choose to play by them, or to break them, or to walk away. Phillip may be voicing the concerns of those who wish to preserve the status quo, and you might choose to dis- agree with him. Either way, understand the rules before you break them; don't knock them over accidentally and pay the price. There are all kinds of rules in business. The official rules about behaviour and how things should work may well be written down in a handbook. But as business coach Bonnie Marcus explains, the unwritten rule is prob- ably the opposite and is nearly always more powerful. She says: 'There may be formal rules for how the company operates, but not everyone follows them. In fact, the more at- tention you pay to the workplace dynamics, the more you will realise that there are many unwritten rules that no-one tells you about. As a result, you are forced to discover them through trial and error, and in the process you can find yourself in a sensitive situation. It's up to you to figure out what all the rules are at your company to be successful.' The written rule will say, for instance, that the company's organogram indicates who has the power to tell people what to do. In reality, this is rarely how things work. If you have been promoted, don't expect your title to confer authority or respect. It rarely does, and you have to earn it. In addition, decisions are rarely made by one person. Many people influence decisions, and sometimes politics trumps titles. Don't assume that someone's position means that this person has power. Look care- fully to see who makes the decisions and who influences those decisions. These people need to be on your radar screen if you want to get ahead. You might think you can announce a change or what you want to do. When it doesn't happen as you've planned, because, although everyone agreed, there has been no real compli- ance, you might feel disappointed and frustrated. Instead, you need to think about how you announced your decision. Should you have consulted some of your team privately first to make sure that they would support you? Is someone in the team agreeing to what you said in public, but in private doing the opposite? If they are undermining you subtly, then it is unlikely to be possible to sack them or even to discipline them. Especially if they're popular. You've come up against an unwritten rule. Once you understand it, you can stop wasting your time being an- gry or frustrated. You can instead work out how to deal with it. Unwritten rules can be easy to bend to your own advantage. Some commentators think that we should ignore them because they're not fair or right. One executive director of an organisation pro- moting opportunities for women calls them 'ridiculous, and just perpetuating illusions'. That may well be true. We think that, if you can easily use them to promote your image in the office and to help you to overcome the disadvantages that often still result from society's framing of gender, then of course you should do so. In other words, it can't hurt to: sit near the CEO in a meeting; send an email late at night or early in the morning to show how seriously you take the job; walk fast round the build- ing and never stroll; never pour the tea and coffee if you are the only woman in the meeting. None of this is a substitute for doing your job well, but where men seem to instinctively look out for the unwritten rules and exploit them, women insist on fairness.Untilyou'retheboss,there'sno point. (And there may be no point even then—those unwritten rules exist and have power.) Look for the secret rules and work them to your advantage. Never mind the glass ceiling. In the work- place today there's a glass wall. Men and women can see each other clearly through the divide, but they don't speak the same lan- guage or have the same expectations. And as a result, women and their careers are suffer- ing. In addition, business is suffering. Statis- tics show that businesses with better gender mix at senior level are more profitable and make better decisions. With more women than ever in the work- force, but still too few in the boardroom, now is the time to address the assumptions and miscommunication holding women back. This book gives women the tools they need to master any situation. The Glass Wall, suc- cess strategies for women at work and busi- nesses that mean business provides clear, smart and easy-to apply strategies for suc- cess. From unlocking ambition and develop- ing resilience to nurturing creativity and get- ting noticed, these are the skills that everyone needs to learn to help break down that wall and create better work- places for all. EXCERPT: THE SECRET RULES OF WORK Phillip is a senior partner at a firm in London. He suggests caution when we ask him about gender equality: 'Be careful of your angle, some things take forever to change, and voicing your sense of inequality can make things worse.' 'Yes, there are more senior men in my sector than women. Partly because we mirror and reflect the "Don't assume that someone's position means that this person has power. Look carefully to see who makes the decisions and who influences those decisions. These people need to be on your radar screen if you want to get ahead." AWE 2017 173

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