Arriving Late, Leaving Early

Dr. Herminia Ibarra got me thinking about “widely-held” workplace norms.

Sharing her story in the New York Times, Dr. Ibarra challenged the long-held assumption that in order to succeed at work your only schedule options are:

  • Arrive early AND work late.
  • If you arrive late, then you better work late.
  • If you need to leave early, then you better arrive early.

Arriving Early / Leaving Late

No one would ever advise or suggest that it would be possible to be highly successful, visible, and productive if you bucked the system and arrived late AND left early.

But that’s exactly what Dr. Ibarra did. Moreover, she referenced a study of successful men who (under the radar) also maintain this type of work schedule.

The article got me thinking about other workplace rules (written or unwritten) that we accept as keys to success. Things like: your results will speak for themselves, or you should actively seek high-profile assignments/new opportunities, or you need to communicate openly and directly about your career goals and aspirations. Turns out that just like the long-held adage about early and late work schedules, for women in particular, this sort of advice should either be rewritten or is just not enough. Your work results alone will not “speak” for themselves — you and your sponsor need to speak up.

We’ve learned from the great research conducted by Catalyst that doing the “right things” helps men a lot more than it helps women.

According to the Catalyst research, of all the things women can and should do to help them advance in their careers and achieve compensation growth, these things make the biggest material differences:

  1. Making your achievements known — by ensuring that your manager and influential others are aware of your accomplishments;
  2. Seeking feedback and credit as appropriate; and
  3. Asking for a promotion when you feel it is deserved.

When coaching women, I am surprised continually by how many women don’t know about these success strategies, how many women are unaware of the unwritten “rules,” and how many of us accept the rules without trying to figure out if we can make a different way of working actually work for us.

Thanks for the inspiration, Dr. Ibarra!

What rules are you changing or bending to achieve your success? We’d love to hear and share your stories here.

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