Sheryl Sandberg, 'Lean In' and Preparing Yourself for Your Success
It's been a year since I wrote a piece for this publication on the ways that women actively undermine other women and how crucial it is that that behavior stops.
Based on Jodi Kantor's article in the New York Times, not only was she not listening, but the behavior is alive and well. And thriving.
Interestingly, not only was the target the same as last year (Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook), but, even though it's different people taking their shots, the tactics they use remain the same as well.
What makes this particularly heinous is the context of the attack. Ms. Sandberg has taken the message of her TEDTalk (which has netted over 2 million views) and turned it into a book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Moreover, she has simultaneously established the Lean In Foundation - giving women the tools and skills they need to take themselves and society - worldwide - to the next level at no fee to themselves.
Yes, that's right. She's making sure that women who aspire, have dreams and have been stymied by themselves, others and the system at large (basically, every woman) now will be given a world class curriculum of skills and support to help them fulfill themselves and achieve their dreams.
You'd think that women who have succeeded would cheer Ms. Sandberg for her efforts. No. At least not in Ms. Kantor and her crew's case. Instead, using incomplete information, inference and personal attack, they do their best to undermine Ms. Sandberg and what she's offering the world - even before either the book or Foundation launch.
So, since these are, unfortunately, too common (and, frankly, lazy) tactics, let's take a look at how Ms. Kantor did it in her article. That way, as you achieve your goals, you'll see the game as it's being perpetrated against you (which it will be), take the right actions (which in many cases is none) and, generally, feel sorry for the perpetrator. (We'll get to why in a bit.)
Tactic 1: Incomplete Information
Let's start with two facts: 1) Neither the book nor the Foundation are live yet (they launch, simultaneously, on March 11), and 2) Ms. Sandberg both founded and funded the Foundation.
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So, when Ms. Kantor casts aspersions about what is being asked of the launch partner organizations - name brands like Sony, American Express, Johnson & Johnson and Google - she's offensive to the companies and their leaders by demeaning the letter and spirit of their participation.