Book Club: Discussing Lean In – Chapters 6 and 7

January 18, 2017

Looking at Chapters Six & Seven

We’ve been so busy “leaning in” that we’re a little tardy with our recap of Chapters 6 & 7. So without further delay let’s get back at it. We are learning more and more about the importance of honesty with ourselves and our coworkers and the importance of leaning in and not checking out too soon. Do you agree with our thoughts on chapters six and seven? Take a look and let us know!

Chapter 6: Seek and Speak Your Truth

Initial Thoughts

Jen Barson: Sheryl discusses the need for authentic communication and the challenges we face to participate in it. When we accept that we can only see things from our own perspective, it makes it easier to share in a non-threatening way. Your workplace can encourage authentic communications by soliciting feedback and thanking people for giving it, even when it is hard to hear. As Sheryl says, “The upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of painful ignorance.”

Brittany Kelly: Sheryl brilliantly describes the challenges we face when trying to engage on a wholly truthful level. Understanding that others around you all want to be heard, and that each individual thinks and feels differently is the key to being able to communicate in a delicately honest manner. Her comments about engaging and bringing one’s whole self to work are on point and are the foundation to being able to seek and speak your own truth daily.


Curt Hammond: Jen and Brittany have summed this up nicely. Authentic communication is something we strive for at Pearl Street and is captured by our value of clarity. In fact, we had a conversation not long ago about how we are really good at helping clients embrace clarity but internally could be doing a better job. I was so proud of that conversation because it wasn’t about blame but about making us better at our work. This chapter for me was a good reminder about the real power of listening.

Key Takeaways

JB: Encouraging people to be open and honest will create an improved culture and make the workplace function better. But, that behaviour has to be supported, modelled and publically appreciated in order for it to work.

BK: “Authentic communication is not always easy, but it is the basis for successful relationships at home and real effectiveness at work.” In order to have success both at home and in the workplace, everyone needs to be on the same page and support authentic, honest communication.

CH: Humour is a great tool to build relationships, show leadership and acknowledge when things need to get better. The more we can laugh at ourselves the stronger our teams will be.

Chapter 7: Don’t Leave Before You Leave

Initial Thoughts

JB: It’s amazing that in 2016, women and men are still facing the same pressures when wanting to start a family – women must sacrifice their careers and men must be the financial supporters. Sheryl’s advice to women to lean in, especially during this time is refreshing and she supports it by telling us that if you love your job you are more likely to return to it and continue to invest in your own future.


BK: If you aren’t committed to a balance of both leaning into both your career development and a family or personal life, you won’t value both equally and it will be easier to “put on the brakes” in one aspect or the other. In order to experience fulfilment and happiness in both aspects of your life you need to acknowledge the challenges surrounding running the race of life and learn how to lean in and out at the appropriate times.

CH: I was a single dad for eight years so this chapter was of special interest to me. I intentionally put my career on hold for 10 years to raise my kids when they were young. As they got older and less interested in hanging out with me (their loss! #SuperCoolDad) I have been able to lean back in on my career and building our team at Pearl Street. If I have learned anything as a parent, professional, employer and partner, it is that work/life balance is something that needs to be measured over decades not days. I fully agree with Sandberg that a career is like a marathon and success needs to be measured over the long term. As an employer it’s my job to remind our team of this as well. Stressed out staff aren’t productive nor do they stick around for very long.

Key Takeaways

JB: We need to stop the cultural pressure on women to be the primary caregiver and men to be the primary financial provider. As a mother, I experienced this when having my children but I had to return to the workforce and looking back, I’m glad I did. But I definitely experienced public shaming over it. Encouraging the next generation to lean in and take on new roles and responsibilities it absolutely where it’s at! 

BK: My thoughts are beautifully summed up in one of Sheryl’s quotes in this chapter: “The time to scale back is when a break is needed or when a child arrives–not before, and certainly not years in advance.” Regardless of motherhood, crossing the jungle gym, or whatever personal/professional motives you have to “check-out” keep in mind that, “anyone lucky enough to have options should keep them open. Don’t enter the workforce already looking for the exit. Don’t put on the brakes. Accelerate. Keep a foot on the gas pedal until a decision must be made. That is the only way to ensure that when that day comes, there will be a real decision to make.”

CH: As an employer this was a good reminder of the importance of finding ways to support our team in any way we can as they grow their families. Openness, conversations and technology are all powerful tools to help businesses and families grow together.

So what did you think about chapters six and seven? We’d love to see your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below, and on twitter using the hashtag #PSBookClub. And make sure you check back  for our discussion on chapters eight and nine.

Happy reading!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *