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The Fastest Way To The Top is Together

You may be familiar with this African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

My mantra for women is "The Fastest Way To The Top is Together"

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As successful women in business, you probably already know that you can’t achieve success on your own. Yes, you are the leader of your life and you’ve worked hard to get to where you are, but if you’re honest you know that many people helped you along the way. Many of them were women, looking out for their sister who was trying so hard to compete in a male-dominated corporate culture.

Hollywood likes to depict women as cut-throat adversaries out for themselves but more often than not, I’ve found that women are conscious of the struggle we share in succeeding in the world of business and the "do" lend a hand when they can. Maybe a kind HR woman gave you the inside scoop at your first job or maybe a colleague explained a gaff you made in a presentation—we all have stories in which women were kind to each other. Women know, on some level, that the two sexes are often perceived as pitted against each other, and realize they need to stick together.

Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” was an important book for igniting the conversation around women’s lack of equality in the workplace that is still going strong two years later. In an illuminating critique of the book, Vanessa Garcia explains how Sandberg’s advice for women to “lean in” sounds good on the surface but is too mired in male-dominated corporate structure to succeed. Garcia argues that what Sandberg is really asking women to do is to lean into a corporate culture created by men and that by submitting to those rules women can make changes to that same structure. For Garcia, this gives women a false sense of hope and it won’t work. She continues suggesting the system needs to be altered on a structural basis. When it's just women leaning in they are submitting to the status quo.

I agree that seeking to alter the corporate structure and working together is the only way to bring about change. When women work together and speak as a collective change can occur at a structural level. When my colleague and friend Sheree Mann, COO of The Right Plan, achieves great things and I point to her success in my presentations, it reinforces our collective strength, even though she’s not there. The fastest way to the top is together, not alone!

Who can you support whom you’ve not thought of or maybe even taken for granted?

If you find yourself stuck in fear of speaking up for yourself or fear of standing up for what you deserve and you need a strong results-oriented confidante who can propel you to greater results, contact us for a personal coaching session or business assessment.

This article originally appeared on P3 Blog on November 30, 2015.

Lisa Thomas