At a recent event in Washington, D.C. for my latest book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results (McGraw-Hill), I was honored to have in attendance senior executives from such highly successful companies as Marriott, Merck, IBM and PPD. Several of these executives shared their insights and perspectives on leadership and what it’s going to take to lead effectively in the 21st century.
I opened the event by highlighting the dramatic shifts taking place in our work environments and across the world, as well as the business case for Integrated Leadership, which calls for embracing and leveraging the broader spectrum of human intelligence in our organizations and teams. Dottie Brienza, Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Talent Development for Merck, then shared some terrific thoughts on Integrated Leadership and the importance of having balanced leadership teams: “Numerous research studies show that organizations with a greater number of women in senior executive positions are more profitable, have greater market share and are better able to compete and grow. Businesses that have fewer women, frankly, are leaving money on the table. It simply doesn’t make good business sense to leave women out. This is not because women are better than men. It’s because women bring something fundamentally different to the table that allows businesses to operate more holistically.”
Dottie makes a great point. What is concerning, however, is that we have been talking about the need for more women in leadership for decades, and yet we still haven’t made as much progress in this area as we should have. Only 4.2 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs. That’s only 20 women compared to 480 men, and astoundingly, 11 of those 20 women were appointed in 2011 and 2012. At this rate, women won’t be equally represented in senior leadership for decades.
This is not about advancing women to the senior leadership ranks because it’s the right thing to do. Organizations should build gender-balanced leadership teams because it leads to better decision making, better outcomes and better business results. Dottie concurs: “Men and women each represent only have of the leadership equation, and we need both. How many businesses would survive in the long term if they were missing half of their sales forecasts or half of their manufacturing deliverables or half of what’s been promised to investors? If we operate only from half of our knowledge, half of our insights, half of our intuition, we will be limited. We will be able to relate to only a narrow slice of the world, and we’ll miss all kinds of opportunities that are crucial to our success. And as a result, we will miss a critical chance for the continuous learning that will keep us at the top of our industry and give us that competitive advantage we need to remain there in the future. That’s why I believe every organization needs Integrated Leadership.”
Dottie is just one of many business leaders who recognizes the importance of leveraging the full spectrum of human intelligence. Successful organizations, now and in the future, will be led by fully engaged, balanced teams of men and women working together synergistically to produce extraordinary results. It’s time to change the paradigm and focus on what men and women can do together. Our organizations cannot thrive without the diverse insights, perspectives and thinking that both men and women bring to the table.
Does your team include a wide enough spectrum of leadership traits, thinking and behaviors, and are they able to capitalize on the broader spectrum of human intelligence?
Make Room for Her is available wherever books are sold.
Learn more about Integrated Leadership and its Connection to the Broader Spectrum of Human Intelligence by registering to attend SHAMBAUGH’s May 9th Leadership Forum in Atlanta, GA!
For more information about SHAMBAUGH’s upcoming Leadership Programs, Becky’s Keynote Offerings, Coaching and their signature Women In Leadership and Learning Program (WILL) visit www.shambaughleadership.com