Women in business do make a difference. In Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay refer to a number of studies aboutways women impact the business environment. Here are a few quotes:
A study in France found that companies with more women in management positions did better during 2008 – had higher profits – that those with fewer women. “Feminization of management seems to protect against financial crisis… In conditions of high uncertainty, financial markets value companies that take fewer risks and are more stable.” (Michel Ferrary, Professor of management at the CERAM Business School in France).
Women deliver profits, often in big numbers, and we are worth hanging on to… By every measure of profitability – equity, revenue, and assets – Pepperdine’s study found that companies with the best records for promoting women outperform the competition.
Companies with women in top leadership positions have “stronger relationships with customers and shareholders and a more diverse and profitable business.” (University of California at Davis study).
On Sunday, 10/10/10, Christiane Amanpour interviewed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. (Article and video here). Here’s a key excerpt:
“You were a former CEO. Do you think women have a different way of approaching business or approaching the public sphere?” Amanpour asked.
“Yes,” said Lagarde, who is the only female finance minister in the Group of Seven industrialized countries. “I think we inject less libido, less testosterone …”
“Less libido?” Amanpour asked.
“Yes. And less testosterone into the equation,” Lagarde replied. “It helps in the sense that we don’t necessarily project our own egos into cutting a deal, making our point across, convincing people, reducing them to, you know, a partner that has lost in the process. And it’s probably over generalized what I’m saying. And I’m sure that there are women that operate exactly like men,” she said.
“But, in the main, and having had nearly 30 years of professional life … and getting closer to 60 than 50, I honestly believe that there is a majority of women in such positions that approach power, decision-making processes and other people in the business relationship in a slightly different manner,” she said.
The world really is different when there is genuine diversity in the decision-making rooms. And when women are in on those decisions, the impact is unmistakable.
As of tomorrow, Andrew Sullivan will have been blogging for 10 years. His current home, The Daily Dish, is hosted by The Atlantic. His output is way beyond human. I can barely keep up with Bob Morris on our own blog, and Andrew Sullivan makes Bob look like a weekend hobbyist.
Sullivan is a conservative, accused of going too far left, and always thoughtful. (except for his crazy tangents, like those regarding beards…)
This blog is focused on business subjects – primarily thoughts that connect to and /or flow from business books and business authors. But I read widely, and if you have never read Andrew Sullivan, you would find his column coming up to his 10th anniversary worth the read. Just think – 10 years of blogging! With substantial thoughts to share time and time and time again. You simply have to admire that.
So, congratulations, Andrew.
“One Job of the Coach is to Correct,” says Randy – “I Don’t Agree,” says Cheryl… Time for Some Dialogue
a : a large usually closed four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage having doors in the sides and an elevated seat in front for the driver
a : a private tutor
b : one who instructs or trains <an acting coach>; especially : one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and directs team strategy <a football coach>
So, the other day at Take Your Brain to Lunch, I am in mid-presentation, and I say something like this: “the purpose of a coach is to tell me what I am doing wrong.” I referred to athletic coaches, people hired by the likes of Martina Navritilova and other “individual” stars. I am convinced that such an athlete cannot watch himself/herself, and thus needs a coach to watch, find the flaws, and correct. I used to play tennis (back in the days when rackets were made of wood, tennis balls were white, and the tiebreaker had not yet been adopted), and I know that’s what my coaches did for me. They saw my flaws, pointed them out, and drilled correction into me.
And I got better. (I would have gotten much, much better if I had practiced they way my coach told me to. But that’s another story).
Anyway, Cheryl Jensen, my blogging team member and the leader of Take Your Brain to Lunch, who is a personal coach, tells me I’m wrong. She says that a coach should not look for areas to correct, but instead should… well, let her tell you.
By the way, I disagree with Cheryl. Thus, this dialogue…
Cheryl, your turn.
As much as I try to avoid ever correcting people in public for fear of embarrassing them or damaging a relationship, I did indeed disagree publicly with Randy last week. When we traded time at the microphone, I offered a very different perspective. Randy is correct in that I am a professionally trained coach by The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), the governing body of professional coaching. Our official definition of coaching is “Coaching is a partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
Another cornerstone idea from our CTI training is “People are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.” This means coaching is not about fixing what’s broken. It is about helping the client look and find what’s already within and then directing that talent, energy, and focus towards their goals. There are 3 main reasons I coach: to facilitate learning, create movement towards client goals so they can improve their performance and enjoyment from life which of course includes work. So the whole idea of looking for what’s broken and then offering advice is totally counter culture from professional coaching to me. Rather than offer answers, we offer questions for the client to explore their areas of interest. Rather than offer advice, we ask questions to create options the client wants to implement. Rather than assign responsibility, we offer opportunities that will facilitate additional learning and new insights.
Have you done a culture check recently?
Definition: A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time
Recently, Howard Schultz, chairman, president and C.E.O. of Starbucks, was interviewed by Adam Bryant of the New York Times. (Bob excerpted this interview for our blog here). Here’s a key excerpt from that interview:
Bryant: What is your advice to an entrepreneur who asks you: “I’m just starting a company. How do I create a culture?”
Schultz: I would say that everything matters — everything. You are imprinting decisions, values and memories onto an organization. In a sense, you’re building a house, and you can’t add stories onto a house until you have built the kind of foundation that will support them. I think many start-ups make mistakes because they are focusing on things that are farther ahead, and they haven’t done the work that has built the foundation to support it.
Culture is the way things really work, the way decisions are really made, e-mails really composed, promotions really earned and meted out, and people really treated every day. Culture is a company’s DNA, the sum total of its history, values, aspirations, beliefs, and endeavors, the operating system, if you will, that defines and influences what occurs at the synapses between everyone working together in a group, large or small.
Unlike an operating system, however, just inserting a piece of code-such as a compliance program or an innovation team–cannot change a culture; cultures are alive; they evolve and change over time.
Just what is the culture you have, and what is the culture you want? The culture creates so much within an organization, and a good, well-liked, respected, consistent culture is a morale builder and success generator.
Have you done a culture check recently?