Recent News of Note and Happy Women's History Month

Reiterating that companies whose boards have the highest percentage of women directors outperform those with the lowest by huge margins (42% higher Return on Sales, 53% higher Return on Equity, and 66% higher Return on Invested Capital) margins, I have been hypothesizing why that is. I believe it's because outside women directors have a lesser stake in "we've always done it that way" thinking. I found this quote from Davia Temin, President and CEO of Temin and Company (she will be speaking to Women Corporate Directors on The Role of Boards During Times of Crisis) most interesting:
"Do you remember when 'Maximize Shareholder Value' was the mantra of corporate board directors? Today's mantra is much shorter -- Survive...In times of crisis, corporate directors' first responsibility is to cut through denial, understand that this is not business as usual, and begin to think through, with management, a full range of crisis scenarios. These days, every organization needs to fully develop a series of bad to worse case strategies, and it is the board's obligation to make sure that happens." (e.a.)
I continue to believe that we are facing a crisis of leadership competence in the financial and automotive companies that are dragging down our economy. Denying the market forces that put them in jeopardy is only one example of missing out on the fact that their failed strategies were based on "business as usual"...and an unsustainable house (pun intended) of cards.

It's Women's History Month and 98 out of the 100 news releases I've read about celebrations focus on the accomplishments, achievements and contributions of women. What's missing? A focus on the history of being a woman - the movements that have provided us with the vote, reproductive rights, civil rights, equal employment opportunities, equal pay legislation (note I didn't say equal pay). Would that the celebrations looked more clearly through that lens.

Excellent career advice from Down Under: The entire article is excellent - here's the first of 15 tips: to get ahead stop being so good at your job. GREAT counterintuitive advice!
A Harvard Business Review study "found that while women outshone men on most of the leadership dimensions measured, there was one startling exception – the ability to recognise new opportunities and trends, and develop a strategic direction for an enterprise.

Surely one exception should not matter – except that ability was the most highly prized by men when looking for leaders. Women, who are very strong on the technical elements of their job and have their nose to the grindstone, can be easily overlooked for promotion."

At Leading Women we've been beating this drum for 10 years! A whole chapter in my upcoming book addresses strategic acumen - as do modules in our leadership programs.

FORTUNE's Pattie Sellers is reaching out to mentor global women who have been part of Goldman Sachs' mentoring program. She writes,
"If you’re thinking now that Fortune is now in the business of helping the best and the brightest business women in developing countries, well, you’re right. But these are unusual times. And we’re all doing things outside our job descriptions."
To which I say, KUDOS!...and as a woman, caring about the status of women around the globe is part of all our job descriptions. History has proven that the improved equality and status of women rises families, communities and nations.

Dee Dee Myers' new book, Why Women Should Rule the World, has this fitting message for International Women's Day and Women's History Month:
"Without a doubt, the increased presence and power of women in public life has generated enormous, positive change. But getting to a place beyond double standards, where equality is not a slogan but a way of life, will demand more. It begins with acknowledging that men and women are different. And it embraces the idea that because they are different, women will bring with them a different mix of experience, values and points of view. That, in turn, will expand the range of what’s acceptable – and what’s possible. It won’t be easy; if it were, it would have already been done. But it’s in our economic, social and political interest to create a world that’s freer and fairer. Where women have more power – and are allowed to use it. Where everyone is judged by their performance – and their potential. Where double standards are only a distant memory."
Read the entire excerpt here.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.

1 comment:

Susan Colantuono said...

Anyone else feeling dismay and joy both about the progress we've made since the first Women's History Week in 1978??