Title: Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold
Author: Dr. Patti Fletcher
Only 4 percent of women are CEOs and women make up only 18 percent of board seats around the globe. But if all the research shows that the odds are stacked against women, what can we learn from the women who managed to reach the pinnacle of success despite the obstacles of systemic bias in corporate America? Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold explores what has enabled some women to not just break the glass ceiling but to shatter it against all odds.
Dr. Patti Fletcher includes in her book first-person in-depth interviews with dozens of trailblazing women executives and board members. This exciting and uplifting book demystifies what it takes to go where so few have gone before by:
• Exploring the mindsets that help or hinder success against all odds
• Discovering the right time to begin the journey to a role that feels too big and too hard to obtain
• Learning the secrets to success that separate those who succeed from those who do not
• Building a personal board of directors to help you catapult yourself to the boardroom
• Case studies and interviews will include women of diverse races, ages, backgrounds, and industries — all sharing what it means to achieve their own version of success
Disrupters is the anti-Lean In. It’s not about what women should do. It’s not a preachy TEDTalk. It shows what different women business leaders have done to reach success as they define it, from board members to CEOs to freelancers. The game of business is stacked against women because they follow the unspoken rules of corporate culture, made long before women entered the workforce. This book helps them recognize those rules, then showcases the women who’ve found success by breaking them.
When I got the approval to read this book I was so excited. I mean, who doesn’t want to be able to read tips from those who have already paved the way and know how to navigate success. I know I read a lot of these books, but I really do enjoy them and I typically get a nugget or two that I can then apply to my life.
Each chapter of this book was structured with her writing then at the end there would be a specific person she’d interview and ask questions. I thought that layout was smart, it gives you a chance to learn about the world and how things typically are at the moment and how to navigate it then get some real life application from a women who has kicked ass.
For me this book didn’t really have a lot of new information, and I honestly expected more advice from the women interviews. I also found the layout of the book made it hard to read at times, like at the begining you get a list of words you need to know, I’m not sure I needed them and I feel like that maybe should have been in the back and then included as they come up in the footer. I also found the writing at times still needed a bit of editing, she had a lot of extra comments (like this) in her writing that sometimes was distracting. I get it when you need it occasionally but at one point it felt like every line had comments like that and it made me want to put the book down.
I gripe about the above however I do think there were some great points made in this, and I think it’s a book that everyone could read and walk away from knowing more.
For example, I love that she talks about using tech to help take away bias since a lot of times we are bias but don’t see it. One of her examples was talking about a program on computers that helped prevent cyber bullying by analyzing writing for keywords and phrases that were considered mean and before a teen could submit a post they’d get a popup commenting on it and asking if they were sure. Apparently in this study 90 percent of the time the student would not end up posting what they’d written.
She then takes that study and applies it to the workplace “Say you’re sitting down to do the dreaded performance review. Everybody hates doing performance reviews, so you rush through them as quickly as possible. In doing so, you’re often making rushed judgments. For example, in the HR world, you’re not allowed to penalize someone for a leave of absence, right? You’re not supposed to let that influence your performance review of anyone. So if you were to score someone comparatively low, you might have a message pop up that says, “I see you’re about to rate this person lower than you did last year. I also noticed that they took a leave of absence earlier this year. Is it possible that that’s influencing your score?””
I saw this and my first thought was “why doesn’t this already exist?” it sounds so smart.
Another thing that she says in the book is
“If I hire a “diversity candidate,” but I’m fine with all the heads of major projects looking just like me, then I haven’t actually changed anything.
I’ve achieved diversity; my team includes someone who isn’t like the rest of us. But if I don’t include you in our discussions, consider your point of view, or value your contributions—if I dismiss your ideas, talents, and experience . . . then while you may be physically present, you don’t really have a seat at the table. If you have to act like me to succeed, then I wasn’t really looking for new ideas; I just wanted a nice picture for the website.
I may have diversity, but I don’t have inclusion.”
So while I do find that a lot of this book was stuff I’ve read, it doesn’t mean I didn’t need to read it again. The more we can read about the changes that need to be done the more likely we are to see it and be able to apply it in real life. I won’t go into much more because I don’t want to end up putting a majority of the book in my review but needless to say I’m happy I read it and do think it’s worth picking up.