Given how much progress women of African descent have made since the civil rights and women's rights movements—especially in the past decade, as companies have grown more diverse—it would be easy to think challenges in the workplace don't exist. Wrong! Nearly 40 percent of Black women report that they don't have other Black women who can serve as role models. Studies show that during the past decade Black women have made the smallest gains with regard to employment and high-level positions. For the few who have achieved success in the workplace, their greatest obstacle has been making their organizations acknowledge the value of their skills and contributions. Today's Black women have jobs and careers, yet many don't realize the inherent leadership potential they possess that can help them grow professionally. Much has been written about leadership, but there are no books specifically for Black women on this topic, one that identifies and addresses issues unique to Black women, the work place obstacles they encounter, and challenges they can overcome.
As women of color, we live in a culture that is part of a larger society—a dominant culture. Each culture has its own set of mores, traditions, and values. These values, attitudes, and ideologies that are inherent in our communities have been passed down through generations and make our culture unique, particularly given our people's historical experiences in this country. This book identifies some things we tend to do that may differ from the dominant culture as we operate in the corporate workplace. Rather than focusing on assimilation, we think it is more important that you understand your own behaviors and how they may work for or against you, so that you can maximize your leadership potential. Let's face it. We're all bicultural—having our own culture within a dominant culture. This handbook provides insights into understanding how you can become more self- aware and achieve your leadership goals. Beginning with the premise that we're all VIPs with differing degrees of awareness, The Little Black Book of Success shares insights into workplace issues, pitfalls, and impediments, and offers applicable solutions for women, no matter at what stage of their career. Each chapter builds on the VIP lessons by elucidating leadership truths coupled with prescriptive examples. We talk about the behaviors we have observed in the workplace that work to our advantage and those that keep us from advancing. The Cultural Code sections include the kinds of things we tend to do from a cultural perspective to sabotage ourselves and then prescribe methods to help us be successful.
Each chapter concludes with "MAMAisms," which bring the lessons home by giving entirely new relevance to aphorisms readers have heard all of their lives from their mother, grandmother, or other family members, presenting them in the context of leadership development. The premise here is that even if Mama was not in the corporate world, she gave us life lessons we can draw upon. MAMAisms are those familiar terms, both practical and spiritual, that we grew up with and can draw upon as we travel the road to leadership success.
We hope that this isn't a book you read once and store on your bookshelf, leaving it to collect dust, but one that you keep on hand and review regularly to help you reach your leadership goals or serve as a reminder of what to do when things get tough. We have been working a long time in many different jobs and industries and have tried to learn from our mistakes as well as our achievements as we advanced in our careers. Our combined experience can help you avoid making some of the mistakes we made as you build a strong foundation of professionalism in your work and develop the tools you will need for leadership success. So, whether you are just starting out in the workplace or already have a leadership role, get ready to change your life!