Let me take you for a moment on a journey to the CEO school of lesson learning. If you are a CEO then you don’t necessarily want to end up at this particular school because if you do then chances are whatever you have done not only hit the headlines it made you look like an idiot because you said something that is hard to take back.
The first lesson you learn at the school (also called the stupidity rehabilitation centre) is perhaps the most important of all: #1 always engage your brain before talking.
Our feature case study today is that of Microsoft CEO (and arguably one of the most powerful people in the technology sector) Satya Nadella. Nadella seemed to indicate that women not asking for a raise is “good karma” and that “the system will give you the right raises as you go along.”
The problem with that is that many commentators believe that the system is broken and there are significant examples of women being paid less than their male counterparts in a range of roles and occupations. In Fact, Dr Lynn Gangone (President of Colorado’s Women’s College) earlier this year was reflecting on recently released research that showed women in 2012 averaged 81 cents in earnings for every dollar a male in the same role earned that “This isn’t just numbers. It’s about a system that is unwelcoming to women and people of colour.”
But hey, Nadella is not alone. Australian technology entrepreneur and a former State member of Parliament Evan Thornley also needed a little bit of time out at the school of lesson learning when he came up with this amazing pearl of wisdom when talking about hiring women in the tech sector: "often relatively cheap" going on to use an image that said "WOMEN. Like men, only cheaper".
By the time the statements went viral it was too late and like the Microsoft CEO it appears that instead of implementing the strategy of engaging brain before speaking they probably didn’t think and just spoke – which is a sign of arrogance.
But let’s leave it up to the other person on the stage – a very experienced and professional woman, Maria Klawe. She was there to interview him and guess what – she is on the Microsoft Board. She was the consummate professional and said:
“So here is my advice to all of you is first of all do your homework make sure that you actually know what a reasonable salary is if you’re being offered a job …. Role play…sit down with someone you really trust and practice asking them for the salary you deserve."
Satya, if you’re reading this then we think you need a stint back at the school of lesson learning – engage brain before putting foot in mouth … women aren’t just our equals they are our peers, our sisters, mothers, daughters and grand-daughters…..#justsaying.
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