The insightful Wally Bock provided a very interesting, two part answer. Firstly, he checked his personal bookcase and noted that of the 50 or so business books he has/is in the process of reading, very few of the authors were women (which is one of the main methods of building a profile). Now, a leading business blogger like Wally is bound to be high on the list of publicists wanting to raise the profiles of business authors, so while this is a personal view, it really is a telling situation. As Wally says:
In all of those fifty books, there were only three woman authors. Lisa Haneberg had two books on my shelf. Elizabeth Craig of Accenture was co-author of The Talent-Powered Organization. And Erika Anderson wrote the book I’ll be reviewing next, an excellent one called Growing Great Employees.
But it was the second part of Wally’s answer that intrigued me most. Wally pointed out that part of Tom Davenport’s assessment method included a ranking based on hits on Google and Lexis/Nexis. However, before a “potential leadership guru” could even be assessed, they needed to be on the short list of candidates:
… We don’t know who makes up the initial list of names to try on Google and Lexis/Nexis. I didn’t see it in the Journal article or in Davenport’s 2003 book. Your name won’t even get run against the indices if you’re not on the list to start with. So who picks the initial list of names? Using what criteria?
Before we start to see more women on the Top 50 list (of anything), we need to see more women represented on the unpublished short lists of those responsible for compiling the lists. We need to see more women being recognized for their outstanding contributions to business, governance and politics. In fact, we need to see more women being recognized, period.
With this in mind, I would like to enlist your help.
The team behind the Thinkers 50, the bi-annual listing of the world’s most important and influential business thinkers allow you to vote on their site. You can vote for someone who is already on the list, or you can nominate someone new. Take a few moments to think of the women leaders you find inspiring, review the list, and add the leader you most admire (there are only four women on the list as I write).
Nina Nets It Out: The next Thinkers 50 list is announced in 2009 — and I hope to see more than four women in the top 50. Make your vote count!