Early in her career, Grace (not her real name) worked hard to become an indispensable deputy who could be counted on to get projects organized and produce measurable business results. These talents translated into several promotions ahead of her colleagues.
Grace’s boss had identified her as a potential successor. After all, her performance reviews continued to be excellent and she was recognized by other senior executives as a valuable contributor to the team’s success. But when Grace’s boss got a promotion, the company chose someone else to succeed him — a man from a different unit. Grace felt blindsided and began to wonder about the “old boys’ network” and the “glass ceiling.”
People talk about the glass ceiling at every company I visit. Some women complain about being restricted by it. Others tell tales of shattering it. CEOs say they’re trying to eliminate it. What’s not well appreciated, let alone discussed, is its complexity.
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