(It’s International Women’s Day, and today I am launching a campaign called, A Million SMART Women. It is designed to empower women to change the course of history. We need your involvement. Join our Facebook page. Follow us on Instagram. Follow us on Twitter. Go to our Website. In the coming months, we will be rolling out a Women’s Leadership Learning Center, an Ambassador program, and much more. Please join us. The world needs you to LEAD.)
Civilization is in crisis.
Our children’s future is at extreme risk.
Our planet is dying.
The reason is too much testosterone at the top. That’s my premise as to why we need many more women in leadership. Millions more.
For all of human history males have ruled the world. That’s why nearly all human organizations from extended families to armies, countries, and corporations are hierarchical, authoritarian systems that favor and enrich aggressive, self-interested, hard-driving personalities and create cultures of whatever-you-can-get-away-with values.
This is a problem.
And the bigger problem is that you may be facilitating the personalities, achievement of goals, and cultures chosen by men that are destroying our future.
Years of neuroscience research by Dr. Helen Fisher has confirmed that when a human fetus is flooded with testosterone near the end of the first trimester of pregnancy brain architecture for most male brains leads to personalities that tend to be more aggressive, impulsive, and self interested. That’s the reason 97% violent crimes are committed by men. You read that right…97%!
Dr. Fisher found that fetal estrogen in females result in brains designed for empathy, social sensitivity, self-monitoring, and long-term, contextual thinking.
Her findings confirm what I’ve observed with leaders of our largest companies, both male and female, I have trained and coached for over three decades. Men are motivated to do whatever it takes to achieve competitive goals. Meanwhile women excel at asking, “Why is that a worthwhile goal?”
Fisher has a lot of experience in understanding the big data findings on gender differences. Her research is used by the website, Match.com. She also has collaborated with Deloitte on a workplace personality test called Neurocolor, that has been taken by hundreds of thousands of employees that confirms hierarchical workplaces reward “Driver” self-interested personalities and generally disempower collaborative, pro-social personalities.
This is a problem.
It’s time for women to reduce their facilitator roles and amplify their leadership. Because women excel at helping other people achieve their goals, most talented women get stuck in the middle of organizations, managing and supporting so the organization doesn’t collapse. But that can no longer be women’s primary contribution. It’s time to reset the agenda of our institutions and empower collaborative personalities.
Why? Collaborative personalities (women) tend to be systems thinkers who “see” the interactive effects of decisions that may have short-term benefits but disastrous long-term liabilities.
Research from McKinsey Global Institute, Deloitte, and Bain & Company all confirm that women are superior leaders if the goal is growth and innovation. MIT Research tells us the reason for this is women have more thinking versatility and harness group intelligence to come up with innovations that are more highly valued by customers. Put simply, women are more empathetic about what customers want and are more creative in coming up with out-of-the-box solutions.
But most male leaders are blind to the unique value women bring. A recent PwC Survey of board members reveals that 86% of males do not believe that women add any special value to corporate governance.
That is simply ignorant. And it comes with a cost. Fortune’s financial analysis of the thousand largest U.S. companies confirm that the 51 headed female CEOs are 37% more profitable. To systematically weed out empathetic, long term, big systems thinkers from leadership, of our most powerful institutions, has proven to be a recipe for business failure and unnecessary human suffering.
Just look at this graph developed by economist J. W. Mason.
It shows that in 1952, corporations re-invested 62% of their profits into research and development for new products, hiring, and training more people. The focus of management was growth by creating more customer value and investing in the productive capacity of their workforce. The postwar era was dominated by leaders of the “greatest generation” who lived through both the depression and World War II. The result was a strong communitarian ethic that permeated the culture because of our common traumas.
When I first started consulting I worked with leaders from that era. I vividly remember how several bragged about how many employees they had that were able to buy homes and send their kids to college and even retire with pensions. How times have changed.
With few exceptions, most CEOs today, who are members of the self-interested Baby Boomer generation, are bragging about how much money they can make with the fewest number of permanent employees.
Indeed, the graph shows that today corporations are investing only 10% of their profits in research and development and hiring. That’s a 75% decline! It is shocking and it explains everything.
Since the 1980s, which began the era of gutting our antitrust laws and the elevation of shareholder value as the only legitimate goal of business, companies have primarily grown through acquisitions rather than coming up with great new ideas.
In the past few decades, business power has gotten more concentrated. The number of listed public companies has shrunk from 7000 to 4000. Meanwhile, businesses outsource jobs, increase automation, and are, according to the Wall Street Journal, raising workplace stress to an all-time high. Virtually all the profits that used to be invested in R&D and people are now spent on three things: stock buybacks, dividends and senior executive compensation.
We now know the reason that our economy is not creating good jobs is not because corporations pay high taxes—because they don’t. It’s not because of regulation—because constraints drive creativity. No, the reason our large corporations are not creating jobs is because the risk of innovation and developing people doesn’t have the sure, immediate shareholder payoff of financial engineering. And if the goal is simply to make money for yourself and your shareholders, and your values are whatever you can get away with, the result is stagnation, environmental destruction, unnecessary workplace stress and fewer opportunities for you and your children.
Financial self-interest by business leaders has reached an emotional – mental illness. Famed economist Adam Grant of Wharton recently reported research validating that college level business education makes students more selfish and less empathetic. In the US the most common amount of money given to charities by economics professors is zero. Business and economics majors are much more likely to rate greed as “good, correct in moral” then any other major. And it isn’t just that greedy people are attracted to business. Grant’s research shows that greed multiplies by the number of economics classes taken.
This is a problem.
It is unsustainable to live in an interconnected world of 7.5 billion human beings led by people who think greed is moral, and that aggressive competitiveness is the primary qualification for leadership.
It is unsustainable to have created a world economy where the eight richest men own more then the 3.6 billion poorest people. (This is reported by Oxfam who blames increasing wealth concentration on “ aggressive wage constraint, chronic workforce overwork, global tax avoidance, exploiting supply chains and financial engineering.” In other words it’s not like the world’s most powerful people deserve their success, but rather have corrupted the system.)
It is unsustainable to waste our resources, pollute our waters, poison our air, deplete our farmland, and heat our atmosphere because it makes a few powerful people weatlhy.
We have gotten into this unsustainable downward spiral for one primary reason:
Testosterone driven brains rule the world.
And they shouldn’t.
Testosterone is lethal.
We need change NOW! Women are stuck. The numbers of women in senior leadership have not changed in 10 years. For over a decade large companies have instituted diversity and inclusion programs to attract and promote women in the workplace. These efforts have been pathetically ineffective. In spite of the fact women hold nearly 52% of all professional level jobs, they hold only 9% of top management positions. This is certainly unfair to women. But more importantly, it is unwise for all of us who desire a future of sustainable abundance. It is time to do something different. Something bold.
It’s time for women to stand together, march down to your CEOs office and tell him or her what is needed to succeed. The evidence is loud and clear as science-based studies from leading researchers have confirmed over and over, WOMEN and their unique strengths can transform enterprises to create high value innovations and higher profits that they are willing to reinvest in creating both a BETTER WORLD now and BETTER FUTURE for everyone.
The bottom line.
- Learn to lead like a woman. The future is calling you to be a leader with a clear agenda rather than a facilitator the people who are making bad decisions.
- Become a radical advocate for customer value and employee well-being. The few companies that understand this are the best companies in the world.
- It’s time for women to stand together and do something bold. It’s time for A Million SMART Women campaign to save our future.
We are not waiting for permission by corporate gatekeepers to change our cultures to promote and reward the contribution of women. Instead, A Million SMART Women is forming a collaborative community to teach and empower women right NOW to implement innovative ways to transform the business strategies and cultures of public and private enterprises to make women’s leadership ascendance and their positive impact a world-wide reality.
Our Mission Now:
Together, we are going to organize and train powerful women’s advocacy-action teams to change workplace policies, ensure pay equality, and opportunity to quality and advancement in the highest levels of leadership.
- We will train A Million SMART Women (and the men who support them) to transform the future.
- We will train women-led teams to transform each of the 500 largest U.S. companies.
- We will train women of 1000’s of smaller workplaces and 1000’s of female entrepreneurs and working stay-at-home mom’s to value and promote women who lead with the strengths of women.
We insist on women’s leadership parity because it is the only proven path to sustainable prosperity. One woman at a time, A Million SMART Women will buy-in and believe this fact to be true, and we will change the future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
Indeed, the future is female.
If it isn’t we have no future.