Women aiming for leadership roles might not take the risks that men take to increase their visibility, they just learn more and do more and think they will be seen. However, more often than not, they aren’t. They still hear (over and over), ‘we choose the best people for a job’. Women even come to believe this is true. It’s not. The common selection process for women is often unconsciously biased. Incumbent leaders often choose people like them. So, men choose men.
The Dattner Group understands this. And it’s painful. However, we are stubbornly optimistic that we can help with the change.
We think, in part, the problem is driven by an underpinning fear that women need to do more to be seen, to be more qualified, more able relative to men, to achieve more to be promoted, than their male counterparts. Perhaps this is true. But it is also true that we are in a time of transition. 2,000 years or more of conditioning is not going to change overnight. So, the question we ask ourselves over and over, is ‘what will help the change?’.
Joel Barker said in his old-but-good short video on the Narrative of Purpose, that paradigms don’t shift from within (attributed to Thomas Kuhn). Einstein said that ‘the mind that creates a problem, rarely solves it’. Therefore, we believe we all must step outside the existing paradigm and propose changes that today might seem outrageous in order to encourage people to think differently.
We challenge business to tackle this problem with new thinking. What can business do, to address the gap in leadership?
The Dattner Group leadership practice focuses on three principles:
Women leading is good for all of us. So #IWD2019 is not a celebration of equity for us, it is a pounding drum, a fierce sign of hope, a loving embrace of all that is possible in our world with these magnificent, generous, loving and clever people in significant decision and policy making roles everywhere.