Having gender balance in your leadership teams is no just an important challenge, something “nice to have,” but rather an urgent issue.
Executive leaders need to escalate the urgency of getting more women into leadership so that your organizations can leverage the perspectives of both genders to make more money.
Here are four reasons you should tackle this issue NOW:
1. You are leaving money on the table and forfeiting your strategic advantage if you don’t have women well represented on your boards and senior management teams.
2. Hardwiring in the brain is different for men and women. The physical differences are associated with natural tendencies in thinking, communicating, and problem solving that are all needed in business. Men and women demonstrate these traits in varying degrees. Successful organizations have leaders who exhibit the characteristics of both genders.
3. There is absolutely no reason you should not have gender balance in your senior leadership. You don’t need it to be fifty-fifty to start realizing the benefits, but you likely need more women in leadership than you have now. While there aren’t studies to verify exactly what percent of female leaders are needed for better financial performance, Credit Suisse reports that companies with women in a third of leadership roles saw average returns increase to more than twenty-five percent. When leadership is balanced, average returns rise to twenty-eight percent (though based on a much smaller sample size).4
4. Defy the norm. Throw out old policies and practices that get in the way of attracting and retaining women. If you want the best talent, you have to compete with organizations that already get it and know how to leverage talent in a 24/7 connected world. Many companies have already implemented flexible work schedules for parents trying to have a career and raise a family. Baby Boomers who were satisfied with working eighty-hour workweeks and relocating their family frequently for upward moves are being replaced with Gen Xers and Millennials who will trade some amount of money for flexibility and family stability. Companies that will win their efforts are those that provide the work/life integration they demand.
Want to know more? Find out how you can begin the conversation within you own organization, and the specific actions you can take to have more gender-balance in your leadership teams as described in my new book, Money on the Table, available here.