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Podcast Transcript

The Nature of Power

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership with Marsha Clark" where we believe there's a better way to be a woman today. With research, tools, books, and our own personal experiences. join us on this journey because in every episode, we uncover what it takes to be a powerful leader in our organizations, our communities, and our lives. So, Marsha, welcome! We're back again for another week. What are we going to be talking about today?

Marsha Clark  0:46  
Well, hello to you, Wendi! And hello to all of our listeners! Glad and happy to be back this week. And today, we're going to talk about the nature of power. And if you think about it, we've referred to the Power Of Self series and the name of the book is "Embracing Your Power." So we felt like we ought to spend a little time on that. So today, we're going to look at three different kinds of power. And we're also going to look at how we hold on to that power, how we give that power away, and how we get it back if we've given it away. So I think we've got some pretty provocative topics.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:16  
We have some great topics today. I mean, power. Just the word kind of fosters a, an energy, a sense of energy, a sense of excitement, but then also maybe a little bit of fear, and hesitancy if you're on the receiving end of somebody else's power. So I'm really looking forward to this. So what's that line from the Brady Bunch that you've probably heard your most entire life about? Marsha? Marsha, Marsha. So?

Marsha Clark  1:45  
Yes, yes. It's either that or the Marcia Clark from the OJ Simpson trial. between those two, I get, I get that a lot, right.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:55  
Except when I think of you, I definitely think power power power.

Marsha Clark  2:00  
I like that a lot better.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:02  
So do I. Power definitely is a provocative word today with lots of connotations. And I can only imagine how much more edgy It must have been back 20 years ago, when you were at EDS and leaving and starting this program and thinking of naming a women's leadership program after it. So how did the word power become so foundational to all of your work?

Marsha Clark  2:29  
So, you know, at that point in my life, I had lived very comfortably in a hierarchical or positional power structure. And I think every organization has its version of a hierarchical structure. And we actually started with the name women and the power within. So the women part was the collective, but the power from within, we have come to now called personal power. And so I wanted to help women discover in some cases, because they really hadn't gotten to that part of themselves. And another case is to rediscover that personal power, because we've lost it along the way, or we've had our edges smoothed off, or whatever you want want to say about that. And so I wanted to help women acknowledge that they had this personal power, and then to embrace it and use it and less than the name of the book. And you know, I will tell you, back in those days, I can use these words now. But again, we struggled because we're trying to name it and identify it, and so on. And I found it a little bit ironic that we ended up naming or titling the book, embracing your power, because that was the essence of what we were doing even 20 years ago. And I would tell you, whether it's instinctive or you know, my life experience as well as other women's life experiences. But here we are, it's, it's we've come full circle,

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:58  
Right? So I'm trying to imagine this room full of the 15 people that you talked about in last week's episode, brainstorming this brand new Women's Leadership Program, and how much of the debate there must have been over using that word power in the power that it to name the power of self program, you've shared before that using the word power in the name was sort of controversial. So tell us why that was.

Marsha Clark  4:26  
So, as we were imagining, we knew that we wanted to do something around women's leadership and as we were imagining, and you know, designing the program, as well as naming the program and the aspects of the program. We leaned into it, we use the word parent then we said, well, not so fast, they'll say So okay, we don't want it to be painful for people to think about. So we leaned away from it, but then we kept coming back to it. So we just decided, you know what, we tried it as an acronym. We brought in definitions from the dictionary we thought about it through an economic power lens, a political power lens, religion. Just power lands a business power lands. And so we finally said, Look, it has this negative connotation, why are we so nervous about it or saying, you know, anti the word power? Well, what you find out is that, because so many of the women that were a part of this group, like many of us have experienced the power over, someone had power over us. And, and we didn't like that. They sometimes abused that power, they sometimes, you know, created situations for us that really weren't comfortable, or, in fact, you know, violated some of our values. And yet, that was what we knew. And so that's why it had this connotation of, I don't like power, because it means power over me. And I don't like that. So what we decided to do is, okay, here's our opportunity. It's had a negative connotation for a long time, how do we flip that on its ear, you know, what it you know, this, what else could be true about the word power, right. And so we decided that we were going to create some content and concepts around this, and the end give women, they opportunity to explore it, discover it, acknowledge it, and use it for good, not not just using it in a power over situation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:27  
So I understand why you're, you're wanting to lean into that word power. But if it was so charged, talk to us about the different ways that it felt charged to the women who were hearing it.

Marsha Clark  6:45  
So I think it was charged, because we gave away our power to the word. Right? So I talked about the ways in which we give away our power. And so instead of me owning it, and holding on to it, the meaning that I choose to give to it, because we can choose to give meaning to whatever word we want, right? And so we had given our power away by letting that word be so charged for us. So you know, maybe it's a person that gets us all up, and you know, arms because this person has abused power over me. Or maybe it's a phrase that they use, or a tone, or even a look that someone gives me, it gets me all charged up, and then it ruins my day. Right? Right. So that's a way of me giving away my power, because I'm letting someone some words, some tone, some look, impact me in a very negative way. So if we think about, you know, the the ways in which we can embrace our power, that's the journey, that that's the power of journey. That's the embracing your power journey. And it's really ours to take back, we're not going to let words or tones or looks ruin our day, we're not going to let them get us off of our game, we're going to hold on to that and say that's about them. I'm going to hold on to me,

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:03  
So this idea of exploring power was a very deliberate and calculated choice for you in the team back then.

Marsha Clark  8:11  
It absolutely was the fascination with exploring it, strengthening it, you know, you know, especially after I left EDS, you know, we talked about in one of the earlier podcasts about how I was in pursuit of understanding better understanding my personal power, and I you know, how to get how to not acknowledge and embrace the power beyond my my title.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:36  
Yes, which is something that women can lean on. Like, if they've risen from associate to senior director or vice president, they can start to lean on that positional power, and maybe relinquish some personal power. So tell me, let's talk about because I want to reference back to another previous episode, where we talked about the Power Lab at Cape Cod, what was also that exploration of power that went on during that during that time in in Cape Cod for you.

Marsha Clark  9:16  
So I attended the Power Lab a month after I left EDS, and I was very specific about wanting to explore and really be in an immersive, you know, scenario, where I really did it wasn't just an academic exercise, it was I got to go live it breathe it, you know, deal with it. And so that was a part of exploring it outright. And knowing that if I If, however, I choose to have positional power, I can now also be more powerful because I recognize, acknowledge and embrace my personal power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:55  
So you came out of this experience with like a renewed understanding of your personal power. And you talk about personal and positional power in the book early on, but I'd like to hear you like, explain it again, just so that we can all be clear. And on the same page, what's the difference? So

Marsha Clark  10:14  
So first of all, the very I do an exercise immediately in the program, and I do an exercise immediately in the book, because I want women to come to grips with how they're feel about power, what it means to be powerful and powerless, and so on. So it's a, it's a gotcha, hopefully a hook early on that says, hmm, let me let me think about how I think about this. So that's, I do want to say that it's it's a, it's an early on kind of thing, it launches at, you know, all the learning that comes after that. The three kinds of power that I offer to the group is positional power, relational power, and personal power. Those are the categories we use, and we're going to talk about each one of those. So those are the three categories positional, which I also you'll hear me use as hierarchical, or, or the power of title, then relational, will be about me in relationship to someone else. And then personal is all me and from the inside out.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:16  
Got it. Okay, so why don't we go a little bit deeper on how they're all different each three of them?

Marsha Clark  11:23  
Okay, so let me start with positional power, because this is the one quite honestly, that we're most familiar with, because we live it, right? Whether it's in business, whether it's in schools, whether it's in the military, the government, the churches, our families, there is a hierarchy. And so this kind of power refers to the level that I have, or the title in an organization that I might have, as you said, a vice president typically has more positional power or authority, because this is where power and authority come hand in hand as well than an individual contributor. And what I want people to understand is, someone else typically gives us positional power. And by that I mean they either hire me into the organization with a certain job title, or within a certain compensation band, or, you know, that kind of thing. Give me certain signing level authority, decision level authority, and I want our listeners to get this if someone gives us that positional power, guess what, they can also take it away, I can be demoted, I can be taken out of a role I can be my decision authority or Signing Authority can be rescinded because I don't didn't do something well. So that that's a very clear distinction about positional power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:39  
Right? Okay. And so relational power, let's talk about that.

Marsha Clark  12:44  
So, relational power, is, I choose to do something with someone else. And that together, both of us can do more than either one of us could do on our own. So that's a simple definition.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:58  
Okay. Okay. So going back to positional power real quick, I want to talk about the fact that how it's different from that inside out, which is personal power, or relational powers, you just talked about your relationship with the other person, talk to us about how that positional power creates a one up and one down positioning and relationships like somebody is on top and somebody underneath.

Marsha Clark  13:23  
Right? So the whole idea of this is that if you're in a hierarchy, whether you look at an organization chart, or you just look at titles, or you just look at who has authority, and it can even age can even be a hierarchy. So for those, you know, global cultures that value age, and seniority and wisdom that comes with that, even that's a part of the hierarchical, but if you think about it, creating a one up one down, the person who's in the one up position, has power over the person in the one down position. And, and that is just a given forever. And always. And I want to tell you a story about that. Because here's what women Tell me, I've told me many stories around this. So let's just say that I have a male mentor, and he's championed me, he's he's coached me, he's provided feedback and guidance to me. And as a result of all of that, I've now been promoted. And I'm now at a peer level with that former male one up person. And here's what they tell me. Then all of a sudden that communication stops, the feedback stops the insights stop. So our relationship has changed dramatically. And I'm asking myself as the woman What have I done, have I you know, offended them in some way have I crossed some path I didn't even or boundary that I didn't even know I crossed. And what happens is, when I'm in a one up position, that implies control and implies, you know, I'm smarter, better than you are all those things and now you're appear, all of a sudden, you're my competition for the next one up position, right. So that's a part of how this plays out in our day in and day out lives. And so women, by virtue of, you know, we may start at the entry levels in an organization, it may be 5050, men and women, right? If you just look at the demographics, the higher up you go in the organization, it's a pyramid or a triangle that narrows, the number of women get lesser and lesser, the higher up the organization you go. So we're much more attuned to being in the one down position than we are in the one up position.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:42  
Okay. So when you talk about giving your power away, what's an example of how women give their positional power away.

Marsha Clark  15:53  
So I think there are lots of those, if you think about it from a positional standpoint, and I love the quote by Alice Walker that says, "The most common way we give up power is by thinking we don't have any." So you keep coming back to acknowledge and embrace, right, so I think I don't have any power, no matter, you know, and I also want to take you back to one of our foundational elements was, which is an absence of a plan, create one an absence of the leader, be one. And when I talk about those things, that's like step up, you know, to get power, you know, don't let things flounder take the lead, don't be afraid to assume the positional power, or the personal power, because depending on who what level, I am in relationship to the other people in the room, I could be asserting by positional power, or my personal power. But here are some ways that that we give it away. We don't ask for what we want or need. Wait, we have learned that we just got to do the best with what we got. And there's there's strength in that I don't want to I don't want to diminish that at all. And yet, you know, we got to beg and grovel for budget money or for another resource, or, you know, we've got to work weekends, or we've got to pull out our you know, our laptops that you know, 10 o'clock at night after the kids are in bed and the homeworks checked and the lunches are made, right. And so we don't ask for what we want or need is a way of giving away our power because we got a second all up. You know, the other is we don't set boundaries. And we say yes, when we need to say no, and we take on more than we should and we're exhausted. This is the this is such a common refrain that I hear from women. And the other another way, these are just some examples, there's many, but another way we take on bigger responsibilities, and we don't ask for the title and the compensation that goes along with it. So we just take it on and think, oh, they think I've got opportunity and possibility. And we think they're going to recognize this. And you know, by the time that comes around, that boss is gone, and a new ones in and doesn't know anything about it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:57  
I want to say that that third one probably happens to women so often in in a corporate environment, or even in a startup small company environment. It's like, hey, Sarah, we think you have fantastic potential. And we really appreciate the way you executed on X project, we really want you to take on this, this, this, this. And then when it comes to like the end, then that's the end of the sentence, it's not and by the way, that means you're going to now be a senior director, and we would love to give you you know, a bonus of you raise your right to X band and etc, etc. It's just Hey, Sarah, you're awesome. So that means you can do all these other things, too. And like, That's not enough.

Marsha Clark  18:48  
It's not enough in it. And and our default is to say yes, right, right. Because we may think we don't have the personal power to say no, you know what..

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:57  
We take it as a compliment. We try a compliment, and therefore the conversation is done.

Marsha Clark  19:02  
Yeah, I always think of it. If anybody remembers the Sally Field moment in the Academy Awards, when she got whatever award she got the the the Oscar for something. And it's like, you like me, you really liked me. And she's, you know, gushing. And you're like, of course, we've liked you, you know, forever. And yeah, it was a big deal. Right? So I so want to put the emphasis on that point as well. And you know, one of the things that I coach women around is to do what men often do, which is you want me to take on a bigger responsibility. Here's what here's the key phrase, here's what I would need in order to say yes to that. And what I would need would be a bigger title, a bigger salary, bigger bonus. And if you want me to do both jobs, I'm going to need to backfill my own job because I'm gonna do my old job and my new job, because that's how we get so overwhelmed, right. And so that's a part of holding on to the positional power as well. So personal power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:01  
Well, and I love that you've given specific a specific phraseology that you can use. Thank you, Steve, for thinking that I'm amazing. Here's what I would need, in order to take this on, and honest and giving yourself some space before you respond like to where you can or react. Let me say that so that you're not reacting, and you're responding thoughtfully. Right? So what can women do to keep or even strengthen their positional power?

Marsha Clark  20:34  
Yeah, so, you know, I'm going to say, Oh, you know, it's the idea of Who do you think you are, you're the leader. So own it. Right. And, and, and I think I'll go back to the words of acknowledge it, and embrace it. And, and again, right back to the title of embracing your power. And so I just think there's a, an inner conversation ahead conversation inside each of us about how we have to remind ourselves of that sometime. And then more specifically, as it relates to positional power, delegate the work that is others to others work to do. So oftentimes, you know, I see people go from one level to the next level, they keep doing everything they were doing, going to the same meetings, you know, all that kind of thing. And now we're just piling on more and more. And so you need to figure out what's your job to do, and what is others jobs to do delegate that, you know, that you you is more appropriate for the others to do or enables them to be developed further, and hold people accountable, don't let them bring you 70% work and you do the other 30%, you know, I expect you to bring me 95% work. So that kind of thing. I'm going to tell you spend time thinking about the strategic, the five big things I need to work on, not the 25 things on my daily to do list. Another piece of that, you know, set up proper checks and balances, keep people honest and on track, don't let them get too far afield, get them back online. being clear about your expectations, you know, creating high performance teams, which we'll talk about in a future podcast starts with setting clear expectations by expectations of you, and your expectations of me. And then it's your job to see that problems get solved. Whereas if you were an individual contributor, it was your job to solve them. But this is people that again, going to the positional power context, it's your job to see that they get solved, you don't have to do it all yourself. And then the other big one is having a point of view and speaking up about it. So if I'm in a meeting, whether it be a one on one meeting, or a group meeting or client meeting, if I have a point of view, I need to get that out on the table. And I need to have clarity around based on my knowledge, my experience, my research, whatever it might be, here's what I think. So those are ways of holding on to, you know, your positional power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:59  
Exactly, exactly. I love the speaking up about your point of view, I mean, taking the time to get all the information in but then from your team, but then making sure that you're very clear about what your point of view is. So I had heard a lot about positional power before I went through your program, but I hadn't really heard your explanation of relational power. So talk to us about that now.

Marsha Clark  23:25  
Yeah, so as I said before, the relational power is me choosing to be in relationship with you to get something done, Wendy. And if I tried it alone, I couldn't get it done. And if you tried it alone, but together, we're going to work on this together. So it's a real partnership. And, you know, I also want to say that relational power is not groupthink or mob mentality, right? It's not just going along to get along and that kind of thing. relational power is making an intentional, thoughtful choice to say you've got strengths, you've got experience, you've got relationships, I don't have, I have those same things that you don't have. But together, we're the we're the whole package. And so that's, that's where I would go with with the definition and thinking about relational power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:07  
Okay, so a strength in numbers kind of kind of thing, then, okay, it's Yes, yep. Okay, so it seems to me that women would be naturally pretty good at building or keeping relational power just by nature. But what in what ways do you think that we actually end up giving away our relational power?

Marsha Clark  24:28  
So this is when I think I have to do it all myself, right? I am more than happy to be there for others, right? You can come ask me anything, I'll roll up my sleeves, I'll help you, you know, do whatever needs to get done. But, but where I fall short on relational power is not asking others for help when I need help. And so I think that's the biggest way in which we give away our relational power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:52  
Okay, okay. Do you what strategies or tools do you offer women who need to strengthen their relational power

Marsha Clark  25:00  
Well, you know, I look at it and say, do you know what the experiences are of the people who work for you on your team. And I know that may sound a little crazy, but perhaps you've just, you know, assumed responsibility for this team in the last year, but there are people that have had 30 years of work experience, or 20 years of work experience, you know what they're doing now, but did you know, they knew how to do all these other things. So, you know, I have this acronym I use called kyp, which is know your people, right. And I literally, when I ran very large teams, and couldn't keep it all in my head, I had index cards on everybody back before as much electronic, you know, tools as we have today. But I would write you know, information about them, whether it be past work experience, you know, even their families, and you know, the things I like to do, and so on, but getting to know your people, what their strengths are, what their development needs are, so that you can give them opportunities to grow and develop their own capabilities, which is good for the organization. But that's the best way to tap into it and and build greater relational skills is to know what other people can bring to the table, and then be willing to ask them for it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:11  
Right? Right. So I'm remembering some great tools in your book, "Embracing Your Power," that focus specifically on exploring personal power. So, let's talk about the third one, how is personal power different from the other two that we've talked about?

Marsha Clark  26:27  
Right, so, positional power, hierarchical outside. If someone gives it to me, someone can take it away. Relational power, my power in relationship to another person, and I choose that intentionally, or I say yes to someone else who's chosen intentionally. And when I think about personal power, it's an inside out kind of power. And so I have personal power, when I'm making my own intentional choices, I'm being very clear about that. No other person can bestow personal power on me. In other words, I have complete control over whether I want to hold on to this power, whether I want to share it or whether I want to give it away. And that's the strength of personal power. It is, I have often said, I think one of the greatest gifts that we've been given is free will choices. And if you believe and if you, you know, ascribe to that belief as well, and I get out of my head, I didn't have a choice, or, you know, I had no option or I had no alternative. That's the feeling of powerlessness. And I'm not saying we're not going to feel that way at various times. And yet, I have a choice.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:40  
So let's explore this idea of giving away your personal power first, like what's an example of how women do that.

Marsha Clark  27:49  
So some of these are similar for both the positional as well as the personal limit, let me let me describe that became the nuance distinction, as I think about giving away personal power, is when the thing I choose to do has a negative impact on me, hmm. Okay. So in other words, I may not set boundaries, which in the positional power, so I so I'm overworked. Well, guess what, I do that at home, too. Right? Right. And both of those, it admittedly have some negative impact. But my personal power, you know, women often have two full time jobs, they work, you know, 50 to 60 hours at work, and they go home and do another on average, the research says 35 hours of work at home. And so when you think about the the burnout, the exhaustion, the physical, just depletion of trying to do about that. So, you know, again, when I say yes, when I don't, you know, ask my children, as my spouse, as my partner, as my roommate, whatever it may be. It's not my job to do it all myself. So again, giving personal power away in that. And the other point I want to make here and this is something that I really emphasize early on in the program, is I say to every woman out there who's listening to this, I'm not trying to fix you, because you're not broken. And this idea of giving away our personal power is trying to please or conform to what someone else thinks I should be. And we get so many messages around. You're not fast enough, you're not tall enough, you're not smart enough, you're not thin enough, you're not assertive enough, oh, you're too assertive. I mean, you know, we're just getting all these messages. And we just run as fast as we can trying to please them. And that's a part of where we give away our personal power. And so this idea of you're not broken, you are plenty, you are enough. And each one of us is enough. Now do we want to put our best foot forward? Absolutely. Do we want to get clear about What our best foot forward is? Absolutely. But I just want each and every listener who's out there hearing this to know, we need. I'll make up a word, the fabulousness of women in this world, the world would be in a world of hurt if it was for us. And I'm not. And I'm not saying we're more important, I'm just saying, We're important and valueless. You know, again, I'll go back to my hashtag of value women and girls, we need to, we need to know our value. And we need to hold on to that, and we need to act accordingly.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:35  
Exactly. Because you have to know your own value first, before it can be expressed to others. I think that's extremely a powerful thing to think about. So when you say, when you Well, you added an idea in your book about sharing your personal power. And I would think, based on what you've said, so far, that, again, women are naturally good at sharing power, but maybe they're not. So what do you mean by sharing power?

Marsha Clark  31:03  
Well, I want us to give credit where credit is due. So if there are other people, and this is not just sharing it with other women, it's men and women in our lives, as well as you know, young people in our lives or older people in our lives. It's the idea of sharing personal power is, when do you really help me with this, when do you're really good at this, you know, and being able, especially if people have done work, that, you know, I don't want to get credit, take credit for somebody else's work, right. And so I, I not only want to give them credit, I work really hard to also let people present their own work. So you know, on the positional side, that's, you know, you you did the slide deck, now stand up and talk about it. I had a story this week from my son and daughter in law, and they were doing parent teacher conferences, because it's the end of the year. And I love with that my grandchildren school did, it was a zoom call. And so for example, my granddaughter and grandson brought home a folder they got and the parents got on the call with the teacher, the children lead the conversation. Now they're eight and six, that's awesome. So I love that we're building the capability that says I'm the one who did all the work in this folder. You know, let me tell you about now the teacher talks about the test scores, and you know, the, the, you know, the role of leader in the classroom, that migrants over pay, and all that kind of stuff. But I love this idea of sharing that and allowing people to learn how to speak their truth and to put themselves out there, no matter what their role, or age or level is, right? That's where the personal power aspect of that comes in.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:54  
Yeah, yeah. And I would think that that's an also a fantastic example of holding on to your power. So what does that phrase mean to you?

Marsha Clark  33:04  
Yeah, what I think of first, when I think of holding on to my power is that, when I'm very clear about something in my head, I want to speak my truth. And that can be bucking the status quo, it can be unconventional, it can be going against the grain, it can be swimming upstream, I mean, all those metaphors that we can think of, but I want to make sure that my voice is heard. Now, do I just want to be trivial about it? Or do I want to just speak for the sake of speaking? No, I want to have value that I want to add. That's why I need to know the agenda before the meeting. That's why I need to think about what messages I want to communicate in that meeting. But that's a way of me preparing for and getting ready to be able to be clear and speak my point of view. And, you know, I just think it's probably the greatest power of all three of these that we have, and which is why I keep coming back to it. Because it doesn't depend on anyone else's actions. It's my free will choices to speak up to not speak up or to put myself out there. You know, when they I'll just tell you, we're doing these podcasts and writing this book, I haven't felt this vulnerable in a long time. So I mean, I you know, if there's always scary moments, and when we're going through and doing new things, I've never done a podcast before the first one we recorded. And so you know, the vulnerability of that. And yet the clarity, about how I feel about what I want to share is what propels me to then exert a view and my perspective and there'll be people that agree with some of it, all of it, none of it, whatever. And I'm ready for that because I know that's the way the world works, and yet, I'm willing to work through the vulnerability and access that personal power inside of me to keep moving forward.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:56  
Love that. Love that. So what tips or tools do you offer in the book or throughout your programs and coaching that help women hold on to their power?

Marsha Clark  35:06  
So the whole program is, you know, a tool is kind of a part of that, because that's why we start with it, and then build on it, you know, going forward. But I'll share one in particular that I think, again, as a starting point, and, you know, we're early in our podcasts. And so this may help other women or listeners out there, it may help you in thinking about this. And it's goes back to one of our foundational element elements, which is around clarity, courage, and timing. And the idea of clarity is I got to be really clear about what I'm trying to accomplish, both from a result, and a relationship standpoint, and relationships and results, ladies in listen to that, I've always got to think about it in both terms. Because if I just get the results, and nobody wants to work for me again, or I'm called all the names that I'm called, that's not good, if I'm just nice to everybody and give them everything they want. But don't get the results. That's not that I got to balance those two out. And I've got to have clarity around that. And so I you can ask yourself, what kind of results Am I trying to achieve? And what kind of relationships? Do I how do I want to strategize and manage through that. And then the second thing is courage. And so what the book does, in no uncertain terms is give you tools, frameworks, checklists, models, questions to ask yourselves to get clear about. And even the language as we've talked about, in these podcasts, giving you language of how to go then make it happen, right? So not just the academic or the head, but to execute. And so when you have the tools, the frameworks, the questions, the checklists, and so on, and, and the practice in the language, you're going to have more courage to go have those tough conversations, right? And so clarity, courage, and then the timing piece of it. So we talked about the meetings before the meetings, because sometimes I have to get people aligned and know where people stand so that I can be ready when I present my thoughts and ideas. I'm going to get resistance from this one or pushback from this one or support from this one. That's the before the meeting, or do I want to use the meeting and make it really clear in this moment where people stand? Or do I want to do the meeting after the meeting where I follow up and say, I heard you say something? I'm interested in that I'm curious about that. Tell me more. And so that timing aspect of before, during or after is also a critical element in being strategic. And so when you understand that whole process of clarity, courage and timing, I got to know where I am in that process. And I've got to manage and say, Where can I give my word or the potentials for giving my power away? And what are my strategies for holding on to that?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:54  
Right, right. I think just personally, as I went through the program, your ideas around the meeting before the meeting, and the meetings after the meeting, are those were those were eye opening moments for me and recognizing that men tend to do that naturally. They go play golf, they go have lunch, they go get a cigar, you know, whatever it is. And women, typically because personal power, we've given away so much personal power to home life, we don't we don't make time for for thinking those ways and planning around those things. I mean, wow.

Marsha Clark  38:38  
Yeah. So I, you're absolutely right on everything you just said, this idea of, if I have the invitation, or the opportunity to go to this networking event, or this happy hour or whatever, in a woman's mind that choice is, well I can do that. Or I can go home and have dinner with my family. Right? You think what do you think I was gonna choose? Right? And and so we'll talk about that in a in a subsequent podcast, because there's a whole lot that goes into that. But it is one of the ways that you think about where did those other conversations come from that build, you know, the credibility that yes, that helped me that my ideas that helped me get allies on board with my thinking and so on. And those are sometimes before and sometimes after,

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:23  
Right, and help build your your relational and personal power... No wonder you in the team found this topic of power so compelling, because I think we could sit here and talk about it for the for another hour. But your thoughts?

Marsha Clark  39:39  
Yeah, yeah. So So I just want to say power is all around us. If we think it's not, we're being either naive or I want to live in your world. But power is all around us. And it's all of these kinds of power, right? So we also go through the power struggles and the day who's got the most authority Who's in the bigger one up position than me and so on and so forth. And so, you know, I think helping women get really clear about this is where the value of the book and the programs lie is, is, again, identifying it, acknowledging it, exploring it, and then embracing it and saying, Okay, how do I go make that and and we fire it up that power, and we go use it for good. And the other thing I want to offer is that, you know, the word empowerment has been around for quite some time. And, you know, I always had this little bit of tugging in my head around that, that the idea of empowering and and so I'll share with you what my belief is around this. I don't think anyone else can empower us. Any other person. Right? Right. So I think we have to choose to be powerful. Yes. And so I, as a leader, I can create conditions to encourage one empowering themselves, you know, somebody bring comes to me and ask me a question. One way that I can empower them is to say, What do you think, you know, and people think this is crazy, but one of my one of my employees gave this to me. She said, when people say, Well, I don't know. And I've had that happen, you know, what do you think we should do? Well, I don't know, if I knew I wouldn't have asked you, you know, that kind of thing. But I asked them, the second question is, if you did know, what would you do, and, and that initially sounds kind of crazy. And, and yet, here's what I want to tell you. They they know, they have a point of view, they have a perspective, they have an idea, but they're for whatever reason, they don't feel confident and courageous enough to speak it. It's crazy. It's out of the box thinking it's unconventional, or you're gonna laugh at me, or I'm gonna embarrass myself or whatever. But when I that's me, creating an environment or a space to help others feel more empowered. And then for me to take it in and listen, and not laugh at it, not judge it, not criticize it, not blame it, but just take it in and say, okay, that's an idea. Did you consider Have you thought about I mean, all the other things that go along with it, that are helping them to build the skills, the language, the practice, of then going forward and exerting more of their personal power,

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:25  
Got it. Got it. So the all of this is reminding me of one of those first quotes that you use in the book and the one about the soul of my sisters.

Marsha Clark  42:35  
So I'd love to read this to the listeners out there, because we do open our programs with this quote, and it says this... "A woman who is in full position, possession of her mind, who is responsible for her thoughts and actions, and who is unafraid of bucking the status quo is a dangerous woman. Such a woman is a force of nature. She creates whirlwinds of change in individuals, communities, and systems just by being herself." So this idea of this, to me just is the epitome of personal power. I know who I am, I'm willing to stand up for what I believe in. I am not worried about pleasing you are doing it your way I'm willing to buck that status quo and challenge conventional thinking. And as a result, there's going to be whirlwinds around me. And it's not just to create the whirlwinds. It's to create the kind of change we want to see in the world. And again, I go back to my question of what would be different if women had more influence and power in the world. And I think we'd live in a better world. I mean, I continue to believe that and think about it. And the other thing I would would offer to you is, I know we use this at the beginning of the program, but even as I was thinking about this podcast, it's a nice way to think about I mean, it's an ending to, right, because in the beginning, I have this aspiration to be that woman. And, and yet, when I get through with the conversations, the book club, you know, exchanges, they, er g groups that might use the employee resource groups that might use the book as as a guide. You know, the aspirations are becoming more of my reality. And so, you know, I, I, when I think about that, quote, I aspire to be that woman, I want to own that part of me, that is that woman, you know, not deny it or judge it. And I want to help other women do the same.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:45  
So beautiful. Well, this was an extremely powerful episode. So thank you, listeners for joining us today on our journey of authentic, powerful leadership. We invite you to download and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Google Spotify, wherever you like to listen. And please visit Marsh's website at for all the links and the tools to resources we talked about today, subscribe to our email, and follow Marsha on all the social media. And of course, you can always reach out to her directly via her contact page, which is on the site as well.

Marsha Clark  45:28  
Well, and I just want to say thank you to everyone for listening today. And, you know, my goal is to always bring value to whoever I'm talking to whoever's on the other side of the conversation and I hope you found the information today useful and do get in touch with us. I love talking to you. It's how I continue to learn and grow as well, and how we continue to make our work more relevant. So I appreciate you and I look forward to being with you next week. And here's to women supporting women!

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