Imagine my delight this morning when I read of new research from Insead. Nothing surprising in the major findings...they mirror many other studies about which I've written:
"Research by Insead Professor Herminia Ibarra and PhD candidate Otilia Obodaru shows that women leaders are not perceived to be as strong as men when it comes to articulating a vision of the future and translating that vision into a strategic direction for the organisation...Ibarra and Obodaru studied the 360 degree reviews of more than 2,800 women. In all, they looked at 22,244 evaluations on a leadership assessment developed by Insead's Global Leadership Centre. They were surprised to find that women did as well or better than men in most categories. The exception was vision and that exception could be one reason why fewer women rise to the top jobs."But what was refreshing was this:
Ibarra says the image of a man sitting on a mountaintop and suddenly gaining business insight is pervasive but doesn't really fit with reality. "The way you envision the future is by being out there and trying to understand trends in the industry, in society and talking to people – that is how you are able to formulate what are the threats and opportunities in your business and how that might match up to capabilities in your organisation."While it's essential to understand trends and market forces, it's overly simplistic to say that you can envision the future by "talking to people" in order to understand trends. There is one category of "people" that transformative executives like Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox and Ann Livermore EVP of HP talk with. They credit much of their success to being close to and listening to customers.
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.