2019 Workplace Summit Playbook

Your Workplace Playbook

Thank you for joining us for the inaugural Workplace Summit! Your energy, enthusiasm, and great questions truly made this an unforgettable afternoon.
Today, the Watermark Conference for Women brought together strategists and change-makers to share real solutions for creating more equitable workplaces. Our goal for the inaugural Workplace Summit was to create a playbook for gender partnership at work and to help managers of all kinds to drive change.
What follows are some key takeaways, and additional resources, on:

  • Talking and Listening Constructively
  • Building Trust and Navigating the Workplace after #MeToo
  • Being an Ally Without Fear

We invite you to bring these ideas back to your team and start integrating them into your communication and planning. We also encourage you to share your results by tagging #WatermarkConf on social media. You are a vital part of keeping this conversation going!

Talking (and Listening) Constructively

Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.”—Celeste Headlee
Key strategies to remember:

  1. Be present in the conversation. Multitasking makes it harder to remember the discussion, and signals that the interaction is not important.
  2. Don’t lecture. Instead of saying, “yes, but . . . “ try “yes, and . . . “ It will lead to a very different type of conversation.
  3. Keep it open-ended. If you ask a complicated question, you will get a simple answer. Start with “who, what, where, when, or how” and you’ll draw others out.
  4. If you don’t know, say so. Practice saying, “I don’t know, but I will find out.” You’ll build more respect and trust, but only if you follow through.
  5. Say it once and make it crystal clear. When people learn that they have one shot at hearing instructions, they tend to listen better the first time.
  6. Listening is a skill you can learn. It takes energy, and it takes practice.

Additional resources:


Building Trust & Navigating the Workplace after #MeToo

“I want to help people feel comfortable talking about this with colleagues, both women and men.”—Amy Gallo
Key strategies to remember:

  1. Ambiguity opens the door for bias. Create performance evaluations using processes and criteria that are consistently applied. A consistency check can help you identify additional ways to remove bias.
  2. Expand your definition of “success.” In hiring, ask if the criteria you are using to evaluate a candidate will add up to team success or if it is simply replicating the status quo.
  3. Create opportunities for men to mentor women. Establish formal mentorship programs and encourage informal interactions between women and men.
  4. Create a safe space and listen respectfully. When women need to surface problems, believe them.
  5. Give credit where it is due. Call out women’s contributions and what you’ve learned from your female colleagues. If someone is taking credit for another’s ideas, look for opportunities to acknowledge the person who first proposed them.

Additional resources:


 How to Be Allies Without Fear

“Allyship isn’t easy. It’s a verb.”—W. Brad Johnson and David Smith
Key strategies to remember:

  1. Engage men in gender-inclusion programs. Equity is not a “women’s issue.”
  2. Share the “housework” at work. There’s some work that just has to be done even though it may not advance anyone’s career. Do you part to share it fairly.
  3. Share the housework at home. Men can and should do 50% of the childcare and housework because allyship begins at home.
  4. Be a bias interrupter. Allies recognize when unconscious bias is in play and call it out to interrupt the thought process. If you hear something, say something.
  5. Let ‘em shine. Effective allies are skilled at “decentering” themselves. Find opportunities to step back so others can step up and take on “stretch” assignments.

Additional resources:

We hope that these strategies and resources to create lasting changes in your organizations and in your lives. Please keep the conversation alive online by tagging #WatermarkConf on social media.

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