An excellent article in the Sunday, July 12 Washington Post called Fixing the Economy? It’s Women’s Work.It’s a good one because it references a number of responsible studies, and because it is more about why companies need a leadership team that includes women than it is about women taking over. I have been observing and saying for a long time that women often demonstrate superior skills and talents that are required for the 21st century economy. Nice to be pointed to more research supporting that observation.
In my whale hunting practice, companies with women owners and/or CEOs have been especially successful in implementing the collaborative, team-based process that we promote. I have also had very successful engagements in which women and men are both represented at the management table.
Conversely, I have been involved in very frustrating engagements in which there were no women in leadership–no women on the executive team, no women on the board, no women with serious P&L responsibility, no women in sales management, no women or only one or two women on the sales team. It was also the case that these leadership teams had no other kind of diversity, either–no people of color, no international people, few people who were born or raised or educated in different parts of the country. In some cases there was a diverse employee group, but it didn’t extend to the leadership/management team.
What characterized the all-male teams was a top-down view of leadership–the view that only a few people in the company had the knowledge, experience, and wisdom to lead.
What characterized the more diverse teams was a desire to embrace more collaborative, team-oriented process to draw on all their employees’ talents for business development and sales.
Now I want to pay attention to what it’s like when the entire leadership team is female. Haven’t had that engagement yet, but I suspect that if there is insufficient diversity of experience and opinion and gender, it would be a flawed team–just flawed in different ways. Today’s business needs, however, will certainly favor an all-female team over a team that is all male.
So all you small and mid size business leaders who are whale hunting–read this article and consider how your company can accelerate its growth through a more diverse management and governance team.