Leadership for innovation and gender-equality imperative

The Harvard Business Review always provides illuminating reads.

This reseach is quite fascinating and puts data behind unconscious bias (from both male and female managers): Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions 

In single-sex groups — men and women volunteer equally: 

In these groups men know they have to step forward if they want to find a volunteer, and women expect other women to volunteer, making them less compelled to do so themselves. Interestingly, in women’s groups the volunteering ends up being shared equally across 10 rounds, while in men’s groups it tends to fall on the same men each time.


The consequences are quite devastating when you listen to this 2015 McKinsey podcast on the gender-equality imperative which shows that Advancing women equality can add $28 trillion to global growth if fully realised, even $12 trillion if best practices were just adhered to. Regional split shows +1% additional GDP growth in US/EU to +16% in India, +14% in LatAm. Full report here.


Latest update in Oct 2019 on McKinsey podcast – What you need to know about women at work highlights that the global economy could be 11% bigger in GDP terms if we were to fully match equality and absolute parity in the workplace between women and men in terms of participation, seniority, pay. This comes from three places: about 60% from more women formally working in the workplace, another 20% from more women taking full-time roles versus part-time roles, and the last 20% of it is sector mix, so concentrating in different sectors.

“How do we help half of the world’s population have better access to participate in the global economy?”

In the United States, for example, we know that for every 100 men who receive their first promotion from the entry level to manager, only 79 women receive that same promotion […]. The disparity starts early, and then it just continues on to the top—to leadership, boards, the CEO, and top teams—where we see few women.

… And unfortunately this is how you end up with only “one in five executives at the top that are women” 😦


HBR Ideacast provides A New Way to Combat Bias at Work with Joan Williams, professor and the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. She offers specific suggestions for how bosses can shift their approach in four areas: hiring, meetings, assignments, and reviews/promotions:

It’s extremely difficult for organizations to rid their workforces of the unconscious biases that can prevent women and minorities from advancing. But it’s not so hard for individual managers to interrupt bias within their own teams.


Robert F. Smith – CEO of Vista Equity Partners, on Masters of Scale podcast with Reid Hoffman, shares how his company is hiring for diversity with hiring tests. Basically the questions asked are on strengths rather than CV. Highly recommended episode to discover this beautiful human being and hear his Morehouse commencement speech (in which he promised to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class).


Another fascinating HBS study How CEOs Manage Time – https://hbr.org/2018/07/the-leaders-calendar launched in 2006 offers the first comprehensive and detailed examination of CEO time use in large, complex companies over an extended period. I want every leader incl. me to participate to this study to get feedback on time management. Indeed “you can’t delegate it” 


This old HBR from 2012 Surviving Disruption by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen himself – aka the “father of disruption theory” with the jobs-to-be-done framework summarises disruption mapped to Jobs to be done. His view on online grocers is spot on (that’s 5 years before Amazon acquired Whole Foods). His view and voice on a16z Podcast: Disruption in Business… and Life


David Logan’s TED Talk on Tribal Leadership really resonated with me.

As he illustrates that in a stadium there is not a single crowd but tribes (groups of 20 to 150 people), this reminded me of The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mindliterally Psychology of Crowds in French that I studied back in uni.

Great tribe leaders make introductions between members of different tribes (wink to Gladwell’s connectors described in The Tipping Point)

Logan’s identified 5 stages of tribes and explains that the greatest challenge we face in innovation is moving from Stage 3 ( “I’m great. And you’re not.”)

to: Stage 4 (when individuals come together and find something that unites them that’s greater than their individual competence)

Full transcript here: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_logan_on_tribal_leadership/transcript?language=en


This fits nicely into Google’s checklist based on their 10-year study around What Makes A Great Boss: check out the 10 behaviors of Google’s best managers here