Maybe just maybe I watched the season finale of Silicon Valley without my husband last night (shhh, please). It was a fantastic season finale. Among the long list of zings, barbs and quotables was this one:
Face it, Jared, being too early is the same as being wrong (Richard, S03 309).
This is from the Julia playbook/bible. Frankly, the base premise of any entrepreneur — timing is everything.
Like the time I wanted to sell water out of a Coleman cooler in little Dixie Cups in 1974 and my mother said it was wrong to try and sell something that could be had for free. Yes, I was too early.
Like the time I launched a line of personal care products that I currated to offer the best of what one would need for labor & delivery and life as a new mother. Again, too early — and frankly Birch Box does it better than I did.
Like the time I was busy writing advertorials before they were respected enough to be called branded or native content. Thank you Washington Post, InStyle and others for trying along with me, but early is as early does.
But with those being too early failures come learnings that while not lucrative in the cash in the bank sense are remarkable in what they provide as a base for the next venture.
Among these lessons— there are simply factors that cannot be controlled. And these factors, while uncontrollable, still cannot be overlooked or ignored.
Enter the It’s Working Project
So lucky for me, timing is spot on for helping the private sector bring families back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. And this time the timing, traction and commitment around this concept is bigger and frankly more authentic than anything I’ve experienced to date.
So much so — that being too early is the goal — early to advance the ball, raise the bar and you pick your metaphor — and improving the culture and ecosystem for working parents, being “the one” to identify what benefits and life-fits have value and meaning — that wins.
So how will you and your organization win? Start by listening. New data from Mercer shows how dismal the picture really is. It will take 118 years for us to correct the pay gap for example. And worse, we are loosing women at critical moments in their careers meaning simply — organizations end up loosing on their investments in highly qualified, skilled women as fast as they make them. So what now? Now is about listening and building a culture in which your women stay — making sense of what that looks like and creating and supporting a new normal. It is not an easy exercise. It requires paying attention, not dismissing what you don’t want to hear and leading — with the goal of being early to the game.