When we examined the profitable firms in our sample (average net margin of 6.4%), we found that going from having no women in corporate leadership (the CEO, the board, and other C-suite positions) to a 30% female share is associated with a one-percentage-point increase in net margin - which translates to a 15% increase in profitability for a typical firm.
Sit with that for a second. It's a lesson that extends beyond corporations; the more women are empowered, educated and in positions of authority, the better nations do. Less wars, less illness, higher quality-of-life, greater economic stability. That's what the evidence tells us.
Except there aren't that many women in executive positions - not in the private sector, not in government. If you listen to the arguments of a John Tory (pulling from a past quote, so his position might have changed - he's a business guy, after all) the reason for this is that women aren't as pushy and "hungry" as men are.
I will say, when I've had to negotiate, I will say to you the number of men who came to negotiate with me were much higher than women. Women don't come as often to complain, the men do.
Exactly. Men are more likely to shove their way to the front of the line and say "I deserve more. I'm better than these other people." Clearly, if they're able to compete so fiercely for themselves, then they'll do the same for a company from C-suite positions, right?
In this light, the job of funders, or employers, or boards is to sit back and wait for the most aggressive, persuasive person to come to them. If it happens to be that those people are male, that's just life right?
That's the approach that's being taken, a laissez-faire approach to awarding positions that thinks from the individual out or occasionally from the market up, without really looking at the bottom line.
If profitability really matters, then the smart executives will recognize that they need to change their methods and culture and start committing a bit of sociology.
Leaders don't wait for alphas to come to them - they grow leaders.
Consider it like talent scouting. There may be kids who are amazing at coding or basketball or whatever who live in marginalized communities and are basically told from day one of life that they have no value and don't belong in the professional world. If they show up at a professional fair, they will be dismissed out of hand, without their skills ever really being harnessed. Smart leaders go out into the world, look in unusual places and seek talent The probe for talent, they give people opportunities, the grow leaders.
If corporations really want to be profitable, and successful, and have impact and all the rest of it, they need to rethink their culture.