I left a great job with a great company at the age of 31.
I didn’t want to leave. I had to leave.
Despite ten (mostly) incredible years at a creative think tank working on top secret design and innovation projects for some of the world’s most notable companies, I had to call it quits 👋.
Yes, I loved the camaraderie, the challenge of solving complex problems, and the unbridled creativity of my eccentric and talented co-workers 👩💼. And while the hours were long, often spilling into weekends and holidays, that wasn’t what did me in. (Ok, it was part of it.)
Instead, it was the leadership team. They didn’t reflect my values and who I wanted to become. Yes, there were a couple of women at the top, but most of the leaders were divorced, childless and/or – most of all – stressed to the max. Rather than “living the dream”, they seemed stuck in a work.life that was unhappy and joyless 😔.
So, I bailed. I left with no job offer or definitive plan, only a belief in myself ✨.
That’s why this new report from Lean In and McKinsey doesn’t surprise me. Women leaders are bailing in record numbers because, like my younger self, they want something different than companies are offering. They want to be part of organizations that invest in talent, provide flexibility, promote well-being, and cultivate cultures of diversity, equity and inclusion.
And, if women at the top are checking out, what happens to the leadership pipeline 🤔?
It will become even “leakier” than it already is. This growing leaky pipeline will, in turn, negatively impact corporate growth, profits, innovation, retention, and more. Importantly, these predictable outcomes are preventable or mitigable. The solution begins with a long-term strategy and commitment to investing in culture and women at all levels.
And if you’re worried about turnover after investing in talent, don’t 🙅♀️.
As a wise friend recently remarked to me, “We shouldn’t worry that if we invest, they might leave. We should worry that if we don’t invest, they might stay.”