Election ’16 – Moving Forward: A Corporate Perspective

It’s been one week since Election Day and we’ve all had a chance to sit back, take a breath and look at where we go from here, whatever our political affiliations, whatever our points of view.

I’d like to spend a little time focusing specifically on how we as individuals within a corporation can successfully move forward and help ourselves and others look to new opportunities for growth and development.

Wherever You Stand Politically—Turn Your Attention to Being Effective
In my experience, when a momentous event happens, whether it’s personal, professional or political, there is a tendency for both “winners” and “losers” to go into self-righteous mode. Winners adapt an “I told you so. I knew we were right” stance. Those unhappy with the outcome, often turn to a “We’ve been wronged and we have to fix it” mentality.

Both sides believe they are justified in either touting their success or bewailing their loss. However, both mental sets are equally counter-productive in pointing the way to future individual and corporate success. Both throw barriers in the path of effectiveness.

It is certainly important for all of us to learn from the past personally and professionally and to grow from what we learn. Just as in sports, we review past plays to play better in the future. However, the past is not our goal and remaining overly fixated on what we perceive as either past wins or past failures is a nail in the coffin of collaboration, creativity and ultimately, the bottom line.

Instead, as members of corporate America we need to channel our energies into pinpointing and implementing a path forward. That’s what successful corporate life is all about, isn’t it? Individuals and organizations forging forward-looking strategies that allow them to profit and grow amidst complex and constantly changing realities.

A Lot Was Learned. Pass On the Knowledge
I think we can all agree that there was plenty of acrimony to go around during this past campaign. But that’s not what we should remember, especially those of us committed to developing a pipeline of talented women to take their place in leadership roles. There are positive lessons to be learned from the campaign and the election. Lessons that can be of important value to women seeking advancement, to leadership in their organizations and to future generations of both men and women.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • Shattering the glass ceiling isn’t all about winning. It’s about raising awareness, attacking biases and opening the door for future talented women
  • Bias needs to be addressed politically and corporately. It exists in many forms in both sectors, sometimes overt and sometimes less obvious
  • There are numerous similarities between women in politics and women in business. For example, on both fronts: women are under-represented in leadership roles…. they can have difficulty being heard in a largely male establishment…and they have few role models at the highest levels to turn to and learn from
  • The voices of young women must be heard and addressed. We need to listen to their values and concerns while also mentoring them on playing the game as the game is played

This was indeed an election for the history books. They will be writing about it for years to come. It is my hope that in corporate America, as a result of Election ’16, we will be making history as more women advance to the highest leadership levels.

Dr. Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.