I am so excited! I am off-site, out of the office. I’m actually not even in Southern California, I’m all the way in Philadelphia. I’m here for the 9th Advancing Women in Leadership Conference for Pharma and Healthcare, partnering with Dynamic Global Events. I’m so honored that I’ve been with them for all nine conferences. We kicked off day one today, and there were so many wonderful topics. Day two, I’m going to kick off with my signature keynote, talking about the “and” life, beating burnout.

Then on day three, I get to work with a small group of women for leadership training. And this is why I’m here with you right now. One of the topics that was shared today during the first day of the conference was about the broken rung. If you’re not familiar, the broken rung is the fact that that first level of management, that first step on the ladder, is broken. We cannot get to equal numbers of women in senior leadership in the C-suite if we’re not starting off with an equal number. McKinsey reported that for every 100 men that were promoted to first-level managers, only 85 women were promoted.

That’s that broken rung, and we’ve got to fix that.

And the best way to fix that broken rung is through training. Harvard did a study and found that managers don’t receive training, on average, until nine years after they’ve been promoted. That is insane, that is absolutely insane! Organizations are missing the boat. We’ve got to provide leadership training to all employees, and let’s see who rises from that. So that’s the challenge I am giving you, is are you offering leadership training to your high potentials?

Because your next manager, your next leader is already sitting there in your offices right now. One of the biggest mistakes organizations are making when it comes to advancing women in leadership is that they’re offering training too late in the game. Don’t let that be you and your organization. I just had a call with the owner of a really small startup company. They’ve been in business for just a couple of years, they’ve got less than 20 employees and she is saying, “Colleen, I need to bring in leadership training for everyone – because I would rather promote from within. I know I’m going to need a people leader, and I want to promote from within versus hiring externally.”

I’ve got to tell you, that is a smart CEO.

Number one, it is going to retain those employees. We know employees stay when they have opportunities for development and advancement – but number two, she’s saving money! It costs four times the amount of money to hire externally than it does to promote from within. So, what are you doing at your organization right now to be training your high potentials? That’s the sweet spot. Most of them are probably in their twenties and they have bandwidth for training, they’re optimistic, and they’re open to learning. Those are the people we should be training. You’ve got to start the leadership training early, so that we can fix that broken rung and accelerate women into leadership. So I challenge you to go out there and figure out the training! Reach out to me and my team, we are happy to discuss those opportunities. But let’s really support those high potentials and bring them up along with us!