Celebrate World Thinking Day by Thinking Collaboration

world thinking day patchIn today’s post, Workforce Institute board member Ruth Bramson discusses World Thinking Day, a Girl Scouts of America program.  Ruth is the former CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, so this cause is near and dear to her heart.  Each year on February 22, World Thinking Day, girls participate in activities and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. World Thinking Day is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Global Action Theme (GAT) based on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. The underlying theme for this year’s World Thinking Day is that “girls worldwide say ‘we can create peace through partnerships.’”

The Girl Scouts based the 2015 theme on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal to develop a global partnership for development across all countries, rich and poor, working with one another to provide more effective aid, sustainable communities, and an even playing field.

To put it another way: It’s about collaboration.

Having spent six years as CEO of the Girl Scouts in Massachusetts, I learned many lessons from cookie sales to leadership.  This is the organization’s main cause: giving girls the skills and confidence to become leaders.

Yet right now we are wasting so much of the talent out there that this country needs. We must remake leadership prospects for girls within this generation. We must work together to fight the stereotype that it’s okay for women to do “Office Housework,” a disappointing trend described in this recent New York Times article. We must enlist a broad range of companies and individuals to partner up, collaborate, and do this.

It’s about collaboration. It’s about building a welcoming culture.

Every organization owes it to its stakeholders to create partnerships across boundaries.  Whether it’s within our own organization or our industry or our community, it starts with attitudes about gender equity, compensation policies, and work/family attitudes. We must encourage everyone to contribute.

When everyone contributes to the concept of collaboration and an open culture, it sets the stage for a healthy work environment and creates the climate in which businesses are profitable.  It is a powerful force that, when harnessed, tends to feed off itself.  Each of us has a stake in the outcomes.

When companies are welcoming to all employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or disabilities, people take great pride in being part of that organization. The net result is escalating levels of employee engagement, productivity, and profitability.  Ultimately, what is good for one is good to all.

Take a hard look at your work environment…is it collaborative and welcoming?  Perhaps now’s a good time to make that (y)our goal.

Relevant Links:

Forbes column: The Secret of Top Performing Companies: More Women On The Board

Fortune article: Study finds a diverse corporate boards rein in risk, good for shareholders

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