Posted on November 22, 2016 @ 9:00am

Standing on the historic grounds of Independence Mall in Philadelphia, where thousands had gathered in support of Hillary Clinton, I heard President Barack Obama say that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was more qualified to be President than he was when he was elected -- and that she was also more qualified than Bill Clinton was when he was elected. And whatever your political leanings, it is clear that Hillary's resume far exceeded her opponents. So what happened? Why didn't the better "man" get the job?

The answer may lie in Harvey Coleman's book, Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed. In it he states that there are three elements we (women and men) must attend to:

1. Perform exceptionally well

2. Cultivate the proper image 

3. Manage our exposure so that the right people know us

It can be argued that Hillary mastered number one, but that she faced significant challenges with her image.  After this campaign, it's hard not to say her name without hearing the echo of the word "crooked" coming before it. 

When I started my career, I believed that if I worked hard and did a really outstanding job, that my results would speak for themselves. I believed that if I did that, I would be rewarded for my good performance.  This, however, was not the case.  Early in my career while working at GE, I was nominated for the coveted Pinnacle award - which meant an all-expense paid trip for two to Egypt.  The decision came down to a choice between me and another woman. The other woman was well known in our corporate office - I was not.  She, having enjoyed greater exposure with top leadership, received the award.

It turns out, I'm not alone.  Many women believe, as I did, that doing a good job should be enough. With time at a premium, women tend to focus solely on their performance to the neglect of image and exposure.  We (DillonMarcus) recently graduated our first class of mid-level women executives at Johnson & Johnson from our Unleashing Women! program.  The curriculum is built around Coleman's P.I.E. model - Performance, Image and Exposure.  We underscore the fact that while performance is the ticket into the game, image and exposure are even more important if women are to gain a seat a the table.  That is why we work on all three elements throughout the curriculum. 

McKinsey & Company recently published their Women in the Workplace report where it revealed that, "In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step."  This news is not only bad for women, it's bad for business. Not tapping into the brilliant thinking of women leaders has negative implications for profits, productivity and securing sustainable futures.

If you're like me, you'll agree that there has never been a better time to invest and develop our women leaders.  It's time to start more fully reaping the benefits & rewards of their contributions.

-Tara Marcus


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