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Fortune 500 (4)

Where Are the Women? The 30 Percent Solution

My hope is that if you’ve been following my blog, I’ve made the business case that Integrated Leadership will separate tomorrow’s successful organizations from those that will be left behind. The concept of integrated leadership—men and women working synergistically together on leadership teams and boards—is simple enough to explain but not always easy to implement. Yet when companies remember that gender-balanced leadership improves business results,they will hopefully be motivated to stay the course in striving to achieve this leadership model.

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Engaging Men Matters – Let’s Start Having the Smart Conversation!

Recently I was asked to conduct a Fireside Chat with two male senior executives of a Fortune 500 company. These Fireside Chats are designed to bring men into the Integrated Leadership conversation and explore how men and women can work in partnership to break down barriers, address gender-related stereotypes and help each other realize their roles in closing the gender gap.

The forum drew the organization’s 200 top women leaders, as well as a critical mass of male executives. With the purpose of engaging these two men in a dialogue about inclusion and diversity and why both are important, I took a deep breath and began to ask them questions. The conversation was amazing! These two men shared their perspectives about why it’s important for women to be in the leadership ranks at all levels of the organization and how having them there actually impacts bottom-line growth.

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Executive Insights on Integrated Leadership

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.”

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Better Balance Means Better Business Results

Having served as an executive for three Fortune 500 companies and running my own leadership development company for the past 20 years, I have never seen so many business leaders, across all business sectors and industries, work so hard to juggle so many challenges and opportunities. Shifting market conditions, higher customer expectations, ever-evolving workforce demographics, new business processes, constant advances in technology, and rapid social changes are causing many business leaders to rethink the kind of leadership that is needed to navigate the new terrain.

The truth is that we can no longer use the same thought and decision-making processes that we used just ten years ago…20th-century leadership models simply won’t work for 21st-century organizations and 21st-century problems. We need a different leadership model – one that is more balanced and integrated. Successful organizations of the future will be led by fully engaged, balanced teams of men and women working together. I call this Integrated Leadership.

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