The Future Leadership and Women on Pure Nebraska

I had the wonderful opportunity to stretch myself yesterday on Pure Nebraska with Jon and Taryn Vanderford.  I was all set to discuss the future of leadership with a focus on women.  My goal was to point out the important contributions women have been making for a long time in the area of leadership.  I also wanted to note that their contributions have often gone unrecognized, and that it is time to change the mindset and conversation around women and leadership.   It is critical for us to redefine leadership while realizing  that people want to connect with their purpose and issues that matter to them.  I also wanted to talk about their participation in the growing #GigEconomy.  Research by the National Women’s Business Council noted that 91% of female entrepreneurs are in businesses for themselves.  I related this to their participation in growing #GigEconomy.  Women are participating in the #GigEconomy  in an effort to make economic gains while building lives they enjoy, which often involves balancing income generation with family time.

Let’s just say that the three minute segment went faster than I thought, and I did not make my key points very well.   It was so different from recording videos that are edited. However, it was an amazing experience!  I left thinking about all the ways I should have/could have, etc.  Then, I realized how much of a stretch experience this was for me.  Recording a live, three-minute segment was a first.  I had fun, learned a lot and would love to do it again.

My experience yesterday reminded me of the importance of taking risks and enjoying the ride.  I tend to be very critical of myself but also realize it is hard to do well when taking on new experiences.  The point is to have the new experience!   Being entrepreneurial requires us to take risks, learn, tweak and repeat.  Was it perfect?  No.  Was it cool? Yes!

I am not sure I have been living entrepreneurially lately. The Pure Nebraska interview was a great reminder that I need to intentionally incorporate more risk into my everyday life!  And, I have to live my mantra:  Be You & Do Something Cool!  Life should be lived as an amazing adventure.

Thanks Jon, Taryn and the Pure Nebraska crew for the opportunity!  And, a BIG thanks to the Rural Futures team for your support and help getting the interview out to the world.  You are all amazing!

Go Wild, Take Risks and Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Check out the Pure Nebraska segment below.

 

 

Watch more on Pure Nebraska here:  http://www.1011now.com/purenebraska

Also, connect with the Rural Futures Institute at RuralFutures.Nebraska.edu and Nebraska’s Community Vitality Team at CVI.UNL.EDU

 

The Future of Women & Megatrend 3: The Decentralized Global Marketplace

Business is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer” who has a buffet of buying choices. Empowered consumers decide how they want to purchase goods and services. Big Data [collecting information (data) from multiple sources to detect trends, identify patterns and make decisions] is one tool that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine and redesign various areas of the consumer experience.

Entrepreneurs and leaders can use Big Data to capitalize on consumer patterns and demands while creating more customized consumer experiences. Data is collected with every click, and some metrics can be used almost immediately. In 2014, Black Friday was November 28. Data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Black Friday Report was available almost immediately and was published on December 2, 2014. According to IBM, online Black Friday sales grew by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. Retail ecommerce (orders via computer) and mcommerce (orders via mobile device) are predicted to increase by double-digit margins well into 2018 (eMarketer, 2014). Data demonstrates the continued growth of the digital marketplace, and rural businesses must find ways to capitalize on these trends.

The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything. Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed. Many of these same individuals are transforming commerce and communities in new and innovative ways.   The definition of community is not limited to a physical location. Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.

People are choosing how to meet virtually, and when, where and whether or not to meet face-to-face. They are also connecting around common causes. Commerce, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create value they crave to transform their lives. Technology enables the delivery of information, goods and services anytime, anywhere, and from anyone in a way that makes sense while adding value to the lives of consumers.

For example, companies like Stitch Fix (http://www.StitchFix.com) initially get to know their customers with a personal style quiz and continue to gather information about the clientele every month by sending them personalized clothing selections. Orders are delivered to clients and customers pay only for what they keep. Stitch Fix tracks the feedback on likes and dislikes after every shipment and learns how to better serve its customers with the data it continuously collects.

Consumer demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. Empowered consumers want unique experiences that add value to their lives. Future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders:

  • Connect and work together online and offline. Build your support network to generate ideas and get help growing your business.  The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders help one another.  I see this all of the time with authors too!  They promote one another while helping each other grow their businesses and ideas.
  • Get rid of assumptions and use data to make decisions. Take a few ideas from places having success in the marketplace, such as Stitch Fix.

Future-Focused Entrepreneurs and Leaders:  

Take Action with Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose

Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.” Why? Facebook is looking for people who can close sales because its revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014). Perhaps the most future-focused entrepreneurial leaders are blending “high human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of others.

Future-focused, entrepreneurial leaders can use megatrends and technology to change the game of life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, rural entrepreneurs should innovate in communities with a spirit of cooperation, creativity, and purpose. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs and leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating rural businesses in ways not yet imagined.

Go Wild with the Decentralized Global Marketplace!   Watch the video below for more details on how you can innovate your companies and communities with cooperation, creating and purpose!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Share your thoughts, ideas and actions with the Ask Dr. Connie community.  We would love to hear from you!

 

The Future of Women & Megatrend #2: Living with Purpose and Meaning

The tools and technologies that help people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, are also fueling Megatrend #2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning. Purposeful living is shaping everything from healthcare to education.

Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning. Personal fulfillment is a growing trend in business and entrepreneurship. People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment.

Ben & Jerry’s is an example of a company that integrates purpose and meaning into its core existence by creating “linked prosperity” for everyone involved with the business. The company supports “linked prosperity” by establishing and aligning social, product and economic missions (benjerry.com/values).

The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources. What does this mean for female entrepreneurs? They may be able to grow by connecting to people through purpose and meaning. Technology may be one way future-focused entrepreneurs can holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both clients and employees.

For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth in The Futurist (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud” from a repository or information to an intelligent resource that can help make decisions and provide assistance. They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:

Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.

Weekly Menu

This forecast provides an example of how entrepreneurs can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future. A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning is an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to create new profit centers and customer experiences while strengthening employee engagement in a more holistic manner.

Three trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) minimalism, 2) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 3) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality.

Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life. Trend-setting places like the Silicon Valley have embraced minimalism, and this approach to living is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design.

People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play. Research has demonstrated that happiness is a precursor to success. These findings question the view that hard work will lead to success, which eventually leads to happiness. Raising levels of positivity in the present creates a “happiness advantage” in the brain, leading to better outcomes in the areas of education, business and well-being.  To learn more, check out Shawn Achor’s 2011 TED Talk:  The Happy Secret to Better Work.

How do these trends influence entrepreneurship? As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, businesses and communities should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection, supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies. A few ideas might include:

  • Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into business practices in an effort to create better employee and customer experiences and to create more value in products and services.
  • Providing coaching for employees to help them uncover their purpose and to create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their careers and lives.
  • Adding physical activity and fun into the workday in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness. 

It’s time to focus on the whole person and what life means to each individual. Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs with tools to innovate their organizations and communities. Businesses should find new ways to add increased value to the lives of customers, employees and families. People can choose where they want to work, shop and live. They also choose how to invest their time and money. Businesses that add the most value, including those in rural areas, will have the competitive advantage.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:

  1. Develop a clear purpose. Clarity of purpose creates a meaningful path to success. A great coaching tool to use: Create a vision board with your “why” in mind.
  2. Define core values. A business should develop core values that truly represent its brand. Empowered consumers connect with brands and businesses that have core values similar to their own. Outline the core values of your business and what each value means. A great strategic plan can evolve from clear core values. Create visual images for each value and make your values public. Share them with world. They help tell your story.
  3. Make self-care a priority. Physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being are all important. Successful entrepreneurs and their teams need time for creativity and a lot of energy to grow their ventures!
  4. Get positive. A positive mindset has been scientifically proven to support everything from creativity and innovation to increased sales and employee engagement.  If you need more help learning how to be more positive, begin coloring your way to happiness with Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy! (Reimers-Hild and Wetizenkamp, 2015).

Blue the Bee Cover

  1. Practice gratitude. Keep a physical or digital journal and write in it daily.  Writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday will help your brain focus on the positive while helping your notice new opportunities!
  2. Share the stories that enhance the brand with your team and your customers. Use social media platforms to create and present meaningful content worth reading and sharing. People connect with experiences and stories behind the products and services they use!
  3. HAVE FUN! Fun is absolutely invaluable. It decreases stress and improves relationship. Fun is also a foundation to creativity and innovation.  This is an area I expand upon in my first book, Go Wild with Confidence! (Reimers-Hild, 2013).

Check out the video below focusing on Megatrend 2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning.  And, let us know what you are doing to improve your life.

Go Wild with Your Future! And, as always-Be YOU and Do Something Cool!

-Dr. Connie

The Future of Women: Globally Connecting in the #GigEconomy

Women are one segment of society benefitting from the #GigEconomy.  They are taking advantage of being globally connected in a big way!  Women are selling products on Etsy, Amazon and their own stores.  They are using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites to grow their online presence while supporting their businesses and families.

In 2015, I co-published an article, Become a Future-Focused Leader:  Use Three Megatrends to Grow Your Rural Business, with Alyssa Dye (an amazing young female entrepreneur!)  We also published three videos on the three megatrends I will share in the Future of Women series.  You can download the full-text article focused on rural entrepreneurs, including related references by clicking here.  The first video is below.  The article and videos were targeted to rural entrepreneurs; however, the same ideas are important for female entrepreneurs.  I made a few changes to the original article and posted a few segments below.  When you read or hear “rural entrepreneur” in the video you can think “female entrepreneur.”  The #GigEconomy is full of challenges and opportunities for women in business.

No one can predict the future; however, entrepreneurs and business owners can use a future-focused leadership approach, which includes examining megatrends, to shape the future of their businesses and lives. Megatrends are global shifts that influence society, the economy and the environment. This “Future of Women” series will  discusses three megatrends shaping the future:
1) The Rise of the #GigEconomy
2) Living with Purpose and Meaning
3) The Decentralized Marketplace

While many companies are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate of change, future-focused entrepreneurs are growing their businesses by blending technology with the human experience. And, many of these entrepreneurs are women.  Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating businesses in ways not yet imagined.

Why is this so important?  I believe many women are naturally future-focused leaders.  Research published by the National Women’s Business Council shows that nearly 91% of female entrepreneurs are in business by themselves.  They have no employees.  I believe this is by choice.  Women are working to support themselves and their families; however, they also want to build a future for their families that includes more than money.  They are looking for ways to live a full and meaningful life designed to support their families for generations.

The trend of female entrepreneurs is a critical global trend.  Women have long been leading families and communities with little to no recognition.  This trend is changing, and women will be shaping the future in ways the world has not yet imagined.

The emerging Gig Economy (#GigEconomy) will create new challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and communities. An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways. The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services, as well as individual brands, on the web has created a need for entrepreneurs to add value to the lives of others in innovative ways. People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job. In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a traditional office setting for 40+ hours per week.

Approximately 53 million Americans are engaged in some manner of freelancing, which is adding around $715 billion to the economy (Edelman Berland, 2014). Further, the number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future, causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living. Self-employment has been identified as a vital economic tool for rural people and communities (Goetz & Rupasingha, 2014). The rising #Gig Economy may be one megatrend that can benefit rural places if technology can be leveraged to reach both local and niche audiences interested in purchasing goods and services from freelancing entrepreneurs.

One common denominator will remain the same: Women-owned businesses and people need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web. They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success. Businesses like Fiverr.com and Iotronics are disrupting the traditional career and job search with technology. Need a logo, book review or video? No problem. Go to Fiverr and hire outsource experts in almost anything to help you. Services start at only five dollars! Iotronics helps people generate Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume), which are resumes in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).

Connectivity is key. Female entrepreneurs can participate in the #GigEconomy as both entrepreneurs for hire as well as employers. Entrepreneurs can use #GigEconomy tools to diversify their profit centers, contract with other entrepreneurs and generate income.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:

1) Consider marketing goods and services on websites that can help you test the marketplace, connect with customers and take payments. Amazon, Square and Etsy may be places to sell your ideas. Fiverr and Elance can help entrepreneurs find help or land gigs. Online marketplaces may be a way to begin selling on the Web. Make sure to do your homework first to ensure that you are working with a credible source.

2) Connect with other entrepreneurs inside and outside of your niche. Look for other entrepreneurs (both competitors and collaborators) on Fiverr and find gigs on places like Mom Corps, TeachersPayTeachers, Square and similar resources. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with like- minded entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Many states have an online marketplace focused on selling goods and services available in that state. For example, Grow Nebraska is a marketplace resource for Nebraska’s entrepreneurs.

3) Become vigilant and creative about building your brand. Blend online and offline worlds in ways that engage people in meaningful experiences. Have some fun and let your personality shine through! For example, a Twitter Party is a great tool to expand your brand online in real-time.

Successfully making your mark in the #GigEconomy takes patience and hard work.  However, it also presents the opportunity to earn extra income along side of your current career or as a part- or full-time entrepreneur.  The opportunities are truly endless!

Go Wild with Your Opportunity in the #GigEconomy!  This is your chance to…Be You & Do Something Cool!

-Dr. Connie

 

At current trends, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap

Welcome to “The Future of Women” blog series.  The Future of Women focus on AskDrConnie.com will highlight current and future trends impacting women around the world.  

The first part of this series highlights a recent publication by the International Labour Office (ILO).   Women at Work:  Trends 2016, focused on examining gender equity globally.  As ILO mentions in their report, gender equity and women’s empowerment are critical to positive global transformation.  Below are excerpts from the report, please read, reflect and share your wisdom by clicking on “Leave a comment” in above!

Let’s dive into the report.  One of my favorite quotes and excerpts from the Executive Summary (beginning on p. xvi) will hit home with many of you:

At current trends, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap

Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23 per cent; in other words, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn. Even when considering hourly wage rates (given the fact that women are working shorter hours than men), women continue to face a persistent gender wage gap, amounting to 10 per cent or more in countries for which data are available. These gaps cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age, but are also linked to the undervaluation of the work that women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations, the practice of discrimination, and the need for women to take career breaks to attend to additional care responsibilities, for instance after the birth of a child. Recently, some progress has been made in reducing these gender wage gaps, but improvements are small and, if current trends prevail, it will take more than 70 years before gender wage gaps are closed completely. Reductions in the gender wage gap are mostly attributable to explicit policy actions to address gender imbalances in the labour market, rather than to general improvements in living standards. In fact, the gender wage gap is unrelated to a country’s level of economic development, as some of the countries with high per-capita levels are among those with the highest gender wage gaps. Economic development alone will not ensure an equitable distribution of the gains from growth between men and women.

 

The above information does not come as much of a surprise. I published an article, Entrepreneurial Career Development:  Using Human Capital, Social Capital and Distance Education to Achieve Success, in the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal with two of my distinguished colleagues at the University of Nebraska in 2007.   The issue of pay inequity between genders has been a point of discussion for many years.  However, the conclusions of this report focused on not only the role of women but men as well were bold statements that I really appreciated (p. 94-95):

Conclusion

The present report undertakes to demonstrate that, for substantive gender equality to be achieved, it is essential that societies recognize that both women and men have a right to work and care. In particular, failures to address workers’ family responsibilities underlie sectoral and occupational segregation, gaps in wages, working hours and access to social protection. Thus, gender inequalities at work can be eliminated only by neutralizing the disadvantages stemming from women’s reproductive function and promoting the equal sharing of unpaid care work between women and men, and between the family and society at large. This requires integrated and transformative measures guided by ILO international labour standards that put the elimination of discrimination and the achievement of gender equality at home and at work at the very heart of policy interventions.In view of the implications of the economic crisis on the global care economy, as discussed in the preceding pages, international policy action also entails a profound reorganization of the relations between the fi- nance, the production and the reproduction spheres, with the objective of guaranteeing a sustainable, crisis-free and gender-equitable global economy. In this shifted paradigm, finance and production should serve the needs of reproduction, namely the realm of care which is core to human well-being (Elson, 2014). Achieving gender equality also depends on positioning the issues of the global care deficits and chains and their ramifications in the care economy on the migration agenda, as this issue goes to the heart of the demand for and supply of migrant workers in many contexts. Ensuring that migration, labour and social protection policies are harmonized to protect the rights to care and be cared for will be fundamental in this endeavour (Hennebry 2014; ILO 2014l).As discussed in the present report, genuine gender equality benefits our societies and economies in terms of increased job-rich economic growth, reduced poverty, inequality and social exclusion, and overall improved well-being. It is therefore time to take action. The following overview summarizes the key policy measures discussed in the report and informed by ILO Conventions and Recommendations that would be needed to realize, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Overview of the main policy interventions to achieve gender equality at work in line with ILO international labour standards

Tackling the root causes of sectoral and occupational segregation

  • Encouraging young girls and boys to break gender stereotypes through education and outreach;
  • Offering training to women and men to enter into non-stereotypical fields;
  • Promoting women’s entrepreneurship;
  • Supporting women’s participation and leadership in decision-making, including in governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations.

Addressing the gender wage gap

  • Eliminating unequal treatment of men and women in the labour market;
  • Promoting equal pay for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender neutral job evaluations methods;
  • Supporting adequate and inclusive minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining;
  • Promoting and normalizing good quality part-time work;
  • Limiting long paid hours and overwork;
  • Transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination;
  • Changing attitudes towards unpaid care work to overcome the motherhood wage gap.

Overview of the main policy interventions to achieve gender equality at work in line with ILO international labour standards

Tackling the root causes of sectoral and occupational segregation

  • Encouraging young girls and boys to break gender stereotypes through education and outreach;
  • Offering training to women and men to enter into non-stereotypical fields;
  • Promoting women’s entrepreneurship;
  • Supporting women’s participation and leadership in decision-making, including in governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations.

Addressing the gender wage gap

  • Eliminating unequal treatment of men and women in the labour market;
  • Promoting equal pay for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender neutral job evaluations methods;
  • Supporting adequate and inclusive minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining;
  • Promoting and normalizing good quality part-time work;
  • Limiting long paid hours and overwork;
  • Transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination;
  • Changing attitudes towards unpaid care work to overcome the motherhood wage gap.

Implementing a comprehensive framework to achieve the harmonization of work and family responsibilities

  • Providing maternity protection to all women according to international labour standards;
  • Guaranteeing adequate social protection to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work;
  • Ensuring the provision of basic infrastructure, in particular in rural areas;
  • Implementing gender-transformative leave policies: increasing leave entitlements for fathers and boosting their take-up rates;
  • Making quality early childhood care and education a universal right;
  • Creating and protecting quality jobs in the care economy;
  • Promoting decent work for care professionals, including domestic and migrant workers;
  • Extending long-term care coverage for older persons;
  • Promoting family-friendly flexible working arrangements;
  • Encouraging individual income taxation to increase women’s labour force participation;
  • Offering work reintegration measures.

This report goes into great depth on a number of topics.  I have only highlighted a few on this post.  If you are interested in the details, please download the full report, Women at Work:  Trends 2016, directly from the ILO’s website.   

Why is this information and The Future of Women series important to women over 40?  Women over 40 have had many of the experiences this report highlights.  We have experienced lower pay for equal work, we have put up with inappropriate comments and we have knowledge about what it takes to balance work, family and everything else we have going on in our lives.   We also have the opportunity to make work and life better for younger women, men and families.  Women over 40 are leading massive change and reform globally, and together we can do more to shape the future!
Please share your leadership reflections, insights and experiences by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button at the beginning of this post!  
Go Wild with the Future of Women!
-Dr. Connie
 
Slide1

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

 

It has been a full week!  One of the big events:  Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

The Tweet by Melissa Stewart connected me to the story behind Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.  Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Founder and CEO, started Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with great passion and purpose. She is giving women a global voice.  To learn more, read the article published in Fortune about Wendy Diamond:

 

Remember to support women owned businesses when holiday shopping.  Let’s keep the movement going!

Let our team at AskDrConnie know what women-owned businesses you are supporting this holiday season and throughout the year in the comment area below.

Go Wild with Women’s Entrepreneurship!

-Dr. Connie