What I Am Reading: Cake vs. Pie

Jun 12 2013 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

Really I would rather just have a spoon and a bowl of frosting. Chocolate frosting. With chocolate chips.

Love the gold fish!

Of course, this post is not really about desserts. It considers the purposes of mentoring.  I suspect that every job in the US above the fast-food server includes some sort of mentoring. Corporations and academia noted the role of informal mentoring in career success many years ago, and mentoring programs have become commonplace. Gender inequity in the workplace has been attributed, in part, to the lack of mentoring for women.  Make the Most of Mentoring: Capitalize on Mentoring and Take Your Career to the Next Level explores the components of common formal mentoring programs and contrasts them with the informal mentoring that inspired them. It's author, Susan Colantuono, founded Leading Women™.

According to Colantuono, women have not benefitted from these formal programs because they get too much CAKE and not enough PIE. Mentoring, informal or through formal programs, can provide a lot of different types of support. Most formal programs focus on CAKE:

  • Confidence
  • Aptitude/Attitude/Advice
  • Konnection to resources (yes, this took a twist to make the acronym work; get over it)
  • Encouragement

These aspects of career development are important. Too many women take themselves out of competition for new positions and assignments because they are missing these components. However, to really crack through the glass ceiling to the next level, you need PIE:

  • Performance
  • Image
  • Exposure

Performance is not just how someone performs; it also considers the performance of the business. Someone may be doing a great job, but they will never scale the heights of a corporation until they have responsibilities and demonstrate competency in operations and strategic capabilities for the core business.

Image incorporates appearance and attitude. Unless you look and act like a competent, confident professional, others will not see you moving up to the next level of leadership. This competency is more than wearing the correct clothes; vocabulary, body language, and other personal traits influence how a person is seen by others.

Exposure involves seeing how work is done at higher levels. Who makes strategic decisions? If you aspire to these positions, you need to be at the table for these sorts of activities.

The book paints a vivid picture of these differences, using real-life examples from the work world. Making the jump to academia is a bit problematic; given the broad mission of an academic health center, what is our core mission? How do I position myself close to key operations and strategy?

Buyers of the book also get access to a number of free online resources, including worksheets for those entering into mentoring relationships.

Make the Most of Mentoring provides a quick read with a new perspective on the process of grooming new leaders. Click here to learn more about Leading Women™ and the books of Susan Colantuono.


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