Stop fixing women – start building sustainable businesses

Women are 60 per cent of the talent pool. They make 80 per cent of consumer buying decisions. They will soon earn some $18 trillion (£14.5 trillion) globally. They run countries from Germany, to the UK and Scotland. They run companies like Pepsi, Lockheed Martin and Glaxo Smith Kline. Companies that have more of them outperform those that have fewer.
So it’s time to stop repeating that women lack confidence, need to lean in, aren’t ambitious enough (or are too ambitious). Enough already.
Even if it is sometimes true, it’s not the source of the problem, it’s a symptom. Instead, we should be asking what’s the matter with organisations and leaders that can’t attract, retain and develop the majority of the world’s educated talent and connect with a feminising market.
Smart companies understand that gender balance builds sustainable organisations, better positioned to adapt to 21st century realities.

Start with leaders
Leaders need a bit of help on gender, whatever their sex. Leadership teams can start by aligning on the rationale for gender balance (they aren’t). If they don’t buy it, they won’t sell it. Then build skills in understanding the impact of their own leadership styles and preferences. It’s the only way to avoid unconscious self-replication.

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