From the Athena Doctrine to the Five Forces of Kibbutz Leadership

From the Athena Doctrine to the Five Forces of Kibbutz Leadership

In 2011, when the wall of water hit the Kinoya seafood factory in Ishinomaki, Japan, 800,000 cans of seafood were swept away. In the months and years that followed, as Japan worked to recover from the massive impact of the tsunami, a remarkable movement grew out of the devastation. Volunteers began collecting the cans. One-by-one the cans were cleaned of the sludge and debris that covered them, brought back to the factory and repackaged. About half of those recovered were saleable and were sent to stores around the country. The cans soon became known as cans of hope. However, there was a problem – the labels had been washed away. This meant that the contents were a surprise to the purchaser. Undeterred, the Japanese public began decorating the cans, leaving messages of hope and encouragement. The story of hope had taken a whole new direction. John Gerzema shares this story at the start of his TEDx talk as an illustration of a powerful leadership trend that I have observed for sometime. He calls it the “Athena Doctrine.” At the core of this is an approach to business and leadership that is breaking away from the traditional ways of working – leadership that is more collaborative, flexible and nurturing. Gerzema suggests that this style of leadership is more “feminine” than “masculine.” The Athena Doctrine was built on research carried out with over 60,000 participants in 13 countries. And one of the core findings was that 57% of adults are dissatisfied with the conduct of men. A fact with which 54% of men also agree. The most powerful aspect of this...
Women to Drive High Tech Growth

Women to Drive High Tech Growth

It seems that the global financial crisis is prompting a wide-ranging re-think on the role of women in leadership. The Shriver Report indicated that, in total, the US working populations are balancing out – with women now comprising 50% of the total for the first time ever. Yet, as Vivek Wadhwa points out, “There are too few women running high-tech companies; that’s too bad, considering evidence shows female-led businesses outperform those run by men.” But rather than waiting for the structural impact of women’s workforce participation to take effect at senior levels, women are, instead, taking matters into their own hands. Support networks and groups are being formed such as Women 2.0, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs and the Blogher network – complete with mentoring opportunities, professional networking events and conferences – and all this effort is now beginning to bear fruit. Research by Cindy Padnos, managing director of Illuminate Ventures, indicates that the performance of women in the enterprise – especially in startup businesses – has significant benefits. Not only are the high-tech companies that  women build more capital-efficient than the norm (with higher revenues and less committed capital), there are fewer failures: As the global economy regenerates, new business models are needed to stimulate economic and job growth. Investors seeking to reinvigorate bottom-line performance and to favorably impact the entrepreneurial strength of our economy would be wise to support strategies that enable high-tech start-ups that are inclusive of women entrepreneurs. But what it the opportunity for leaders? First, we need to acknowledge that we are not facing a recession – but a reset (as John Hope Bryant suggests)....

Understanding the Two Percenters

Last year’s Shriver Report (which I discussed here), noted the transformations that have taken place regarding women’s participation in the workforce. This is reinforced in a recent article in The Economist, which suggests that the “rich world’s quiet revolution” is written in the words, voices and actions of economically empowered women. Just a generation ago, women were largely confined to repetitive, menial jobs. They were routinely subjected to casual sexism and were expected to abandon their careers when they married and had children. Today they are running some of the organisations that once treated them as second-class citizens. However, the number of women who are actually running or leading these organizations are few and far between. Despite a resounding correlation between business performance and the number of women holding management and leadership positions, women remain substantially under-represented in such roles – with only 2% of the top jobs in the US and 5% in the UK being filled by women. Orit Gadiesh and Julie Coffman wonder if there is something more systemic to this situation and are running a survey to investigate. You can participate in this survey here – with the results being presented at this year’s World Economic Forum at the end of January 2010. Nina Nets It Out: In a time where expertise and experience is prized – where talent is scarce and will continue to be so, organizations with a pool of talented women will likely outperform their competitors. It’s time that we understand and begin to grow this vital two...

Are We a Woman’s Nation?

When we look at the facts and figures it seems clear that women are not just transforming the workplace, they are transforming the entire country. The recent Shriver Report indicates that for the first time, half of US workers are female – and in 40% of American families those women are the primary breadwinners. With more and more men forced to stay home, more and more women are bringing home the bacon. Women are more likely than ever to head their own families. They’re doing it all—and many of them have to do it all. When they work, it’s no longer just for “the little extras.” Their income puts food on the table and a roof over their heads, just like men’s income always did. Even a quick glance at the Shriver Report signals the widespread changes that have occurred in just a generation. Between 1975 and 2008, the “traditional” family structure (a working husband only) has more than halved, from 52% to 21%. This has impacted families and women in particular in a myriad of ways – generating political, policy and organizational challenges around flexible working hours, child care, opportunity, equal pay and family care. At the same time, it is clear that women are reaping the benefits of education – women now receive 62% of college associate’s degrees, 57% of bachelor’s degrees, 60% of all masters degrees, half of all professional degrees and just under 50% of all PhDs – a stunning turnaround since 1970, especially at the upper end where women received fewer than 10% of professional and doctoral degrees. Yet despite these indicators, and despite...

Follow Up Questions from My Conversation with Jo Miller

Last week I had an opportunity to talk with Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, and the many listeners who attended the webinar on office politics.  Our discussion prompted many questions from the listeners and in response to these questions, Jo and I took the opportunity to reply.  These questions and answers can be seen on the Women’s Leadership Coaching site by clicking here. I strongly encourage readers to click over and to explore not just the set of questions that arose from the office politics webinar, but to delve further into the Women’s Leadership Coaching site.  The webinar series is an excellent way to hear from various industry professionals on topics that are very relevant to those in the workforce. And in case you missed my discussion with Jo, you can find it...

My Conversation with Jo Miller of Women’s Leadership Coaching

Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, and I will be talking about “Winning at the Game of Office Politics” on Tuesday, February 24 2009, 11:00am-12:00pm PST Some topics we’ll be addressing include: Is it possible to navigate office politics without becoming a political animal? Learn the difference between office politics and organizational awareness. Discover the unwritten “rules of the game” at work. Understand the dynamics of power and influence in your organization. Get a copy of the presentation and listen to the podcast by clicking...