By: Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory
When it comes to the workplace, women in leadership is good for business, which means it is good for men too.
Businesses with women on their boards financially perform better. A 2014 report by Credit Suisse found that companies with women on their boards have outperformed those without by 5 percent over the prior 2 years. They also have recovered faster from the global economic crisis.
Better performing businesses means more staff, more money and subsequently more happiness. The Credit Suisse report also found that companies with women at board levels paid out higher dividends. So, it stands to reason that if we continue to omit women from positions of leadership, we are depriving everyone of better fiscal results. This is bad not only for the frustrated women who find themselves at an impasse in their careers but also for the men whose results and even pay packets are not as stellar as they could be.
Consider also that the female of the species is usually more naturally collaborative and that the workplaces and businesses of the technological revolution will demand more and more of this skill. As complexity increases, we will become more interdependent and this skill will not be optional. The harsh truth is, just like the blacksmiths and chimney sweeps of the last major workplace revolution, many of our businesses won’t make it, well at least not in their current forms. If we are to adapt to the new paradigm in which we find ourselves we will need those skilled in the art of true collaboration. Having more women on your side will prove rather important for us all.
Our future customers will likely be women. It is predicted that women will hold around three quarters of the entire planets wealth. Boston Consulting Group estimate that we will see the largest transference of wealth in the history of our planet in the next ten years, all of it going to women. So if our businesses are to connect and capture this new female consumer having some insiders at our helms will be rather handy indeed.
Furthermore, as technology permeates our lives, our work and our homes, we will also continue to merge — making balancing our male to female ratio everyone’s issue and not just women’s. Male or female, many of us are questioning the hours and weekends we work and wondering whether or not they are sustainable. You only need to look to workplace disengagement, staff turnover, and the number of people leaving large corporations in search of something better to see this. Right now, it is mostly women leading the charge around this conversation (perhaps given the often pressing needs of motherhood and the biological fact women have the baby and need, and in most cases want, some time out to enjoy it).
In truth, many men want a better balance, more home time and the chance to see their friends and loved ones too. So, having women in positions of power who truly want to make work better for us all is vital if things are to change.
Finally, we have a skills shortage looming. In most of the Westernized world we have aging population and people are living longer. This means there simply are not enough people working and paying taxes to sustain our current economic models. We all need women working and leading for sheer logistics alone.
Business needs all the help it can get if it is to survive this revolution. Having businesses that are performing at their optimum, workplaces that are collaborative and that we can live with is good for both women and men. Warren Buffet recently said that women were the great economic hope for the US; he asked Americans to imagine what the economy might be capable of with 100% of its talent truly harnessed. He is right, without more female leadership we all might miss out.
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Kieran Flanagan & Dan Gregory are behavioral researchers and strategists, specializing in behaviors and belief systems–what drives, motivates and influences us. They have won business awards around the world for Innovation, Creativity and ROI working with such organizations as Coca-Cola, Unilever, News Corp and the United Nations in Singapore. They are passionate advocates for the commercial power of creativity and a return to more human engagement, cultures and leadership. Published by WILEY, Kieran and Dan’s new book Selfish, Scared & Stupid is available in paperback RRP $22.95 from www.selfishscaredandstupid.com.