The Rise of the Feminine radio show host Gina Lazenby interviews Dr David Paul in Sydney
Five Important Elements of Feminine Leadership – shared by Dr David Paul on his interview with Gina Lazenby in the launch show
With the recent appointments of women like Theresa May as the Prime Minister in the UK and Yuriko Koike, the first female governor of Tokyo, to top political positions, and the potential presidency of Hillary Clinton, the conversation about female leaders is one that has garnered much attention and one that is critical and necessary right now. The world needs exposure to feminine leadership and perceptions need to be shifted towards a better understanding of the different qualities women bring to the table.
The radio show The Rise of the Feminine, was created with this intention, to bring a spotlight to the new potential that women can offer. Women are rising in the world today and it’s worth exploring how feminine values are being increasingly expressed more openly in business, politics and society. In the episode aired August 1st, Dr David Paul, an adviser to heads of state and a feminine leadership thought leader, was interviewed about female political leaders.
According to Dr Paul, the leadership qualities reflected in women are incredibly important considering the complex issues the world is facing right now. He believes that women have a completely new vision and society at large can, and will, benefit from this. He also goes on to give five key characteristics that define feminine leadership and how they differ from masculine leadership.
Men think sequentially and linearly while women have the ability to multitask and see an issue in multiple dimensions. “You can see that with the way that women juggle so many tasks in the household.” He said men tend to focus on the next thing, then the one after that while women’s ability to see a more holistic viewpoint helps in dealing with complexity and the inter-connected nature of issues.
Angela Merkel defines feminine leadership, especially her handling of the refugee situation. “She showed courage in the face of absolute chaos, a boldness of vision and a real decisiveness about humanity. She embodies all those qualities, a feminine leader brings to any situation as opposed to the very rational, logical, autocratic ‘this-is-the-way’ kind of approach that a male leader would traditionally bring.”
Women have the ability to bring a different language to a global conversation. Merkel’s solution to the refugee situation was led by compassion. In Theresa May’s case, she to responded the fact that people felt unheard by their leaders with her inclusive language. “In her actions so far Theresa may have shown that she has been listening, and that is also important in a feminine style of leadership.”
Dr David Paul thinks what makes feminine leaders so attractive is how they listen and equally articulate the feelings of the disenfranchised population. “From a male perspective we do a snapshot survey, because the numbers speak, and therefore we think that we have heard everybody, but when you read the mood and feel the energy, it is a different approach.”
Dr Paul also reminds us of the role of women in keeping the countries going through World War II. They kept the factories going and they held together the fabric of society. “If they had not been there then we would not have had a nation to come back to.” Feminine leadership is not just about roles in politics and business, it also embraces women’s vital leadership in communities and and home-making.
When I was in San Francisco at the Wisdom 2.0 event I interviewed speaker Jeanine Becker.
Jeanine Becker: Women are often coming from this place of “the only thing that is going to get us there is our struggle and effort”. Switching that to “how can we be pulled by our joy and pulled by our passion?” …. Maybe with no less activity, but coming from an inspired place, coming from the desire of what we want to create, rather than coming from this idea of “if I don’t keep pushing I’ll never get there”.
Gina Lazenby: it’s funny, one of the reasons that women leave corporate life is that they have a bullying boss so they get out. They don’t always give the feedback that their boss has been bullying … but you can internalise that and be your own bullying boss and be very hard on yourself. We can’t afford to do that. And I think that’s why it’s important that we as women need to be connected, working and collaborating together, celebrating together because we can’t make ourselves ill with work, we have to enjoy it. We only have this one life, we might as well have work be an expression of our best us, and be a vehicle to bring our joy to the world.
JB: absolutely. I keep thinking about what Ariana Huffington said at the wisdom 2.0 conference about how we need to spend less time crafting our resume and more time creating what would be said in our eulogy. So, what is it that we want to be known for? What is the impact we want to make…. And it’s usually something bigger, big enough that it is beyond what I can do on my own, and so then it is about pulling in the right resources to help that happen and collaborating together.
GL: and that is something that women do very well, so we need to draw on every collaborative bone in our body and find others to work with, find out who they are, what’s important to them, and so expand our businesses, not just by our effort, but also by leveraging the skills of other people.
JB: I think the part that women do really well is that they enjoy building relationships. They don’t feel the need to do it alone, there is a desire to bring in others and there is often a willingness to see value in what others are bringing. Those are the pieces that I think women do really well…
GL: …. Seeing the value in others, yes, but not necessarily seeing the value in themselves!
JB: the second part is, they have to see as much value in what they are offering, in what they are bringing to the table and then being able to hold those as being equally valuable as they problem solve together towards a solution.
GL: thank you. We’ve had some benefit here of what your law students gets at Stanford. Forget working on your own, I think the new way of doing business is really to seek out as many collaborative partners as possible so that we’re not lonely, and we’re bringing more joy and more success.
JB: yes ….. more meaning and more joy. And real business results.
Watch another video interview with Jeanine Becker where she speaks about the key ways to make collaboration work
Following a fascinating conversation with Professor Shelley Correll, head of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, I was reflecting this morning on what she said about women being held to a higher standard of niceness than men … and whether this had any impact on the just-announced resignation of UK Cabinet Minister Maria Miller MP. Her resignation, somewhat forced onto her by screaming newspaper headlines and several colleagues in Westminster, follows an investigation into her expense claims and what is now being quoted over and over again as her 32-second apology which was labelled as “graceless”.
I am wondering if it was the expenses claim and the need to pay back certain monies OR… the fact that she was not contrite enough in her apology. I am somewhat suspending judgement as I don’t know the details, only those conveyed through the media which may not have been entirely neutral. It was Maria Miller who was in charge of two very controversial areas of reform: press regulation and gay marriage, both of which seemed to make her many enemies, enemies who now seemed very vocal in her hour of difficulty. The MPs in her own party who spoke out against her were the same ones who voted against Gay Marriage.
I am wondering, in the light of what Professor Correll shared in our video interview, if Maria Miller was being held to a higher standard of niceness than if a male Cabinet Minister had issued the same brief apology? Is she out because she was not contrite, or nice enough? There are so many other occasions where ranks are closed around government leaders by their colleagues but not in the case of this woman. I have watched the apology on the BBC website and it sounds straightforward, she does not sound arrogant but more likely nervous. Her supporters say she was trying not to cry. The atmosphere in the Westminster chamber is not one that is conducive to anything but direct lucid communication, not a place to make an emotional statement.
So do watch the interview … see what you think?
Transcript of conversation
Shelley Correll: This is another one of these really hard problems ….. the unconscious bias literature shows us that women are less likely to be perceived as competent than men are. One of the things a woman might do if she feels people aren’t seeing her is to promote herself a bit
Gina Lazenby: we are told to toot our own horn!
SC: exactly. .. And so what happens when they do that, it does raise their level of competence with which they are seen, so it really does help, but at the same time people do not like self-promoting women.
What happens is they see them as more competent but at the same time they like them less. We see this with women leaders as well. Enacting a leadership role requires women to act in a more assertive, competent, confident way. In doing so people often don’t like them. They see them as pushy, selfish or bossy, and not being very likable. This comes about because one of our stereotypes about women is that we should be nice ……. we hold women to a higher standard of niceness than men.
Acting in a leadership role doesn’t look so nice to us when a woman does it but it looks perfectly fine when a man does it. So there is a trade-off there when a woman looks confident and is self promoting – people don’t like her. If she backs off and acts more meek and mild they like her but don’t see her as being very competent. And the problem is, to be effective, it is better to be seen as both competent and likable, and not have those be a trade off.
GLspoke about how reports published in the Harvard Business Review say that people now want leaders with empathy and warmth who are much nicer that previous versions ….
SC: I don’t think the changing way we view leaders is going to automatically benefit women. I think we are going to have to do more than just hope that that is going to take us somewhere.
GL: there are a lot of conversations out there following on from John Gerzema’s book about the traits people want in the modern ideal leader. 8 out of 10 traits are listed as feminine.
SC: Being empathetic is seen as being feminine and is also associated with other low status groups like ethnic minorities who are seen to be more empathetic, even if they are men, than their white counterparts. Again, this is what people say they want from leadership.
A group that is in power has the ability to redefine themselves in ways to maintain their position. I am not optimistic that this on its own will bring about higher representation of women leaders
The biggest gains that will be made is in reinforcing that when women are in leadership positions, it’s good for creativity, it’s good for team problem solving, it’s good for a company’s bottom line …. Those are the kind of things that are going to motivate firms to want to really go out and get more women. That is where the biggest attraction is.
You can pass all the laws you like about equality of the sexes but until we tackle our own internal stereotyping about what we ourselves think about men and women, progress to real and full equality will continue at the current glacial pace.
There is an almost daily conversation about advancing women to the top and getting more of them onto Boards. Forcing companies to rebalance gender at senior levels with legislation around quotas has few fans as women, and men, want everyone to succeed through merit but the odds are often stacked against women without any of us realising.
According to Professor Correll from the Michelle Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford university, an unconscious gender bias against women has replaced the blatant sexism of previous decades. It’s invisibility makes it much more difficult to counter yet its effect continues to hold women back without … and we all seem to be part of the unconscious thinking that drives our judgements and decisions.
A Leaders Club Event in London April 10th
If you are in London you can join a conversation about the steps we can all take in correcting the gender balance at the top of business. Thursday April 10th the Leaders Club has an invite – do join us – find out more on this blog posting. WATCH THE VIDEO:Transcript of my conversation with Professor Shelley Correll
Gina Lazenby: I wanted to talk to you about your work around unconscious bias, where you share the findings from sending out the same CVs, with one set had a man’s name on and the other set had a woman’s name on.
Shelley Correll: the progress that we have made around the world that is where blatant bias and sexism has gone away. What we’re left with is the more unconscious kind of bias. This is harder to deal with because it is subtle and of course unseen. The blatant stuff is easier to see and root out. At the Institute we have been doing a lot of training is to reduce the unconscious bias. One of the studies that we cite a lot is one that was done in the field of psychology, is where CV’s were sent out to universities applying for a brand new PhD faculty position in a psychology department. They got the receiving Department to rate the CV. Half of the CVs had a man’s name on, the other half had a woman’s name on. A perfect design to check out if a bias was there.
With a man’s name, the applicant is a much higher chance of success
Not only did the researchers find out that people greatly preferred the man over the woman – that is they saw him as being worthy of hire – the gap was astonishingly large. It was a 30% gap between recommending the man be hired versus the woman be hired. That was in 1995. Have things got better since? In 2012 a similar study was done in the USA for a person applying to be a Science Lab Manager. The same research design and it was sent to science faculties all over the USA. Sure enough in 2012 we found the same patterns. The faculty doing the rating said they were more likely to hire the man and the woman; if they were going to hire the man they were going to pay him a higher salary; and they said they were more likely to mentor the man should he be hired.
20 years after the study, research shows women are STILL disadvantaged
We see women being disadvantaged across all those dimensions, even in 2012, even in a Science Faculty where we might expect more objectivity. There is no reason to believe that these people set out to do bad things, it’s just that gender is affecting how they see the applicant, even without them being aware of it. And that is a really tough problem that we have been working on.
These things come about because we are quickly categorising people without even thinking about it. And if we didn’t do that then we wouldn’t be able to make it through the day. When you go to sit down in a chair you have never seen before you don’t stop and puzzle over it being chair. You couldn’t get through life without being able to take these shortcuts … that’s what’s happening here, unfortunately it is introducing bias into our evaluations. It is the kind of thing that we have to be very diligent about paying attention to – how it is that we are evaluating men versus women and very much self-monitoring our decision making.
We have to think about what we think about! GL: I think that is right, when you point out about shortcuts in our thinking. This is where we can pause and be more conscious of our thinking. On the basis that this is happening, and you have done this research in America, I am sure it will be the same in the UK … what about this question of quotas that people talk about. If I was a senior woman in a senior position in a large organisation and they talked about quotas, if I project myself out into that situation, if I got promoted I would wonder “is it because i am good or is it because I am filling up the numbers”? So I can see the resistance but the rate of change is so glacial, what do you think about the conversation about quotas?
Increasing the numbers of women is important, we need to find more creative ways SC: It really is a double-edged sword. On the one hand change has been so slow and so putting a quota up there immediately starts to change the numbers and changing the numbers are extremely important … I think we know that getting more women into positions of power is extremely important not only for equality but for our societies, for our businesses and all of that but you’re right it comes at a cost and the cost is that you as a woman might think “oh, was I really talented enough to be here?”.
Even if you think you were, those people around you might suspect that you are there because of the quota not because you are talented. And so I think that is the negative side of it … to me if there was some other way to get women into those positions without a quota that’s what I would prefer. It’s just I don’t know what that is. I think we have to manage the stigma that could become associated with women if people think they are in those positions just to fill a slot.
It reminds me of one of my colleagues here who was the first female law professor at the Stanford Law School. Someone asked her when she got the job how it felt to get the job because she was a woman, she said it feels a lot better than not getting the job because I was a woman. As that has been my experience before!
GL: You are right, it is a challenging discussion, but I think even just talking about it pushes the agenda forward. The threat of it, the possibility pushes the conversation forward.
Young people now seeking careers in more gender equitable companies
SC: In the USA, with quotas, it’s a bad word .. I think similar things that have been done are where people publish data about law firms, with the percentage of partners that are women … they put them up when students are looking for jobs and the companies respond to that because young students today want to work in places that are gender equitable. You put those numbers up there to shame people and draw attention to it. I think that helps as well.
GL: Providing information, being transparent, I think that is the key isn’t it.
Read about another conversation with Professor Correll on the Motherhood Penalty and watch the video.
Join us at the event in London on April 10th to discuss actions we can rake to start leveling the playing field.
We’ve just celebrated Mothers Day here in the UK, taking the opportunity for at least one day of the year to openly express our love and gratitude to the person who birthed us into the world and brought us up (and barring a few exceptions that’s the same person). Up and down the land restaurants will have been sold out for Sunday lunch, garage forecourts will have been stripped of flowers and the chocolate industry will have had its next huge spike in sales after Valentine’s Day. (My posting to celebrate my Mum).
It’s a pity that we don’t seem to love mothers inside the workplace(even though we’ve all had one). The commerce space and big business is apparently much less tolerant of women who have children. In my research of women, I meet so many who were advised at some point in their career (at job application or promotion time) NOT to mention, or draw attention to, the fact that they were a Mother. Why? Because it doesn’t look good to the employer.
I’ve been speaking with Professor Shelley Correll, Director of the Michelle R Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She’s been telling me about the research that points to a Motherhood Penalty. When you look into this you begin to see that it is universal and definitely is one of the things that can hold women back from the top jobs in business. I’ve just read about a study in Israel which says “the majority of women think that appearing single and childless is more attractive” to employers.
In the USA there is a particular body of research that Professor Correll refers to which shows that mothers who work get paid 5 to 7% less per child than women without children …. who have the same job, the same level of education and the same level of seniority. They are otherwise identical apart from having children. And the more they have, the worse it is for them financially.
The Institute’s own research also found strong evidence of bias against mothers. After seeing a resume for a job and then finding out that the person is a mother, what follows is that person is then 100% less likely to get the job. People see “mother” and think “less committed”. No matter what is on the profile and how relevant the information, being a mother means she looks less committed to the employer. Watch and hear my conversation with Professor Correll on video.
So there is a perception that women may be less committed to work or have too many other calls on their time or their thinking abilities are perhaps diminished. Who knows what the real reasons are but consider this ….. what if having children and being a mother actually enhanced your capacities and in some fields, made you a better worker?
Brain changes after birthing
There’s plenty of research to indicate that hormonal fluctuations create structural changes in the brain. We know this happens during puberty so there is good reason to believe that the female brain could have substantial remodeling as a result of the dramatic hormonal shifts that happen during the three big life phases of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding in order to prepare for being a mother to a dependent child. Research presented in the Harvard Business Review in 2006, shows that rat mothers outperform virgin rats in navigating mazes and capturing prey. Could it be that a higher level of commitment is needed to ensure that the young are fed and so the brain is given better skills for more successful foraging?
Mothers have to develop an extraordinary large skill set
In addition to any hormonally triggered brain adaptations, most mothers will tell you that the skills required to run a family often far exceed anything a business might require of them. Women have to learn very quickly to organise their lives and households to a much higher degree, juggling school programmes and after school activities for sometimes several children. Mediation techniques become very refined as desperate mothers develop ways to curtail arguments and ensure that fairness and peace prevails amongst squabbling siblings. In addition, there is the unquantifiable mastery of reading a child’s needs and observing how they grow, develop and flourish in the family unit, so that ultimately, they have what they individually need to reach their potential.
Parenting is expansive, opening people up to new values
I would imagine most corporate careers don’t tax people’s capacities anything like parenting does and yet there is a tendency to completely invalidate all these skills in mothers which they develop from being a parent. And we haven’t even looked into the values shift that occurs in a human as they mature and become responsible for the well-being and safe future of the next generation, who are at home doing their homework waiting for supper.
Priorities are bound to change, as is how a person sees the world and the context they bring to the decisions they make. I am guessing a parent could in fact be a much better value employee with their enhanced capacities for empathy, superior listening skills and a greater sensitivity to the future now that they have offspring who will be inheriting the legacies of their actions. Do you think that mothers, and parents, add more value to an enterprise? Watch the video and hear our discussion about the Daughter Effect and the experience of men as fathers.
Attending Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco last week meant I got to hear and meet some fascinating people. One of those was Jeanine Becker. When I heard that she taught collaboration my interest was stirred. In a world driven by competition, collaboration is one of the key feminine traits that needs to be developed. The word is increasingly being used but I don’t see that people really know how to do this. So many business partnerships and endeavours are built on collaborative effort at the outset but ultimately fail as people don’t know how to engage in a non-competitive way.
Where are the role models for collaboration? I don’t see it being taught as standard business practice. The default way of growing business is to keep a sharp eye out for what the competition are doing and then to do whatever it takes to grab a share of the market. New practices are being called for and not only are we being asked to do things differently – we are being required to set aside our egos and to change who we are being in business.
I relished the opportunity to interview Jean. We had a 30 minute discussion. This 6-minute video is the first part of our conversation (more to follow) where she explains the three key steps for collaborating successfully.
Following the previous three videos, here, during the final part of our evening on Feminine Leadership, Dr David Paul answers questions.
Question: How is credibility different to being authentic? Dr David Paul responds: Credibility is what you have earned your stripes about. For example, in the book Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell says that you earn your stripes by doing something for 10,000 hours. I wrote to him and asked him why the four zeros why not three or five? It’s a round figure but it is about the quality of what you do, how well you do it and how well you master it that gives you credibility. Anyone that you venerate ….. anyone where you think that’s amazing, they have put in those hours. That’s what we credit them with. So credibility is about earning your stripes because you can speak from a space of true expertise.
Don’t confuse expertise with experience either. They are two very very different things. One that gives you authority, the other gives you credibility. Authority is all about what it is you have learnt, what experience gives you is how to help others, how to guide, how to move them forward …. and find what’s the next step. You will prevent them from making the same mistakes because you’ve got experience. As an example, if I’ve have studied the theory of swimming I can tell you how to swim but if I can’t swim myself, I can’t save you in the water. But if I am an experienced swimmer, I will combine both my understanding of techniques as well as my experience to save you from drowning.
Most people speak from experience …. And experience is always about the past, it’s not about the future. So I cannot tell you anything about experience going forward this year but I can tell you everything about experience from today going backwards. It worries me when people ask: have you got enough experience? Would you want an eye surgeon operating on your eye with experience from 30 years ago? No, I don’t, I want the person who has the latest experience because technology has changed, ideas have changed, even the techniques of operations have changed. It is important to keep up with what the latest.
It is important for people to prove a credible history. Because if we don’t then we can’t prevent, and if you can’t prevent then you are always dealing with symptoms and not the cause. And we want to deal with the cause these days. Right now, all the global governments, especially the G8 and the G20 don’t want to look at cause. And so we’re still in a global crisis because we’re not willing to look at cause. We paper over the cause and just deal with symptoms
Keep on the cutting edge of your field To be an expert, to be at the cutting edge of what you do … expertise is all about what I know and what I need to be. Collaborating with other experts in the fields to keep me on the cutting edge. An expert is about knowing your area, and you are the only expert in your particular area because you bring your particular slant or perspective .. nobody in the world can do what you do. We each need to find what we are good at and then be an expert in that specific space. The moment you say Oh but there are thousands of people doing what I do, you have lost the cutting edge. You have not pioneered the very edge of what it is that you are good at and you are still searching.
The self-inflicted trap of feeling that you don’t know enough GL: I have personally found that advice from you to be awesome David. It’s really been very helpful because I do tend to say … there are so many people with more experience who have the thoughts that I have. I can sometimes put myself down. And then I remember that it’s about my take on something … I have my own special perspective and experience to bring to the conversation. Instead of thinking oh they know more than me, I remember what it is that I bring that is uniquely mine. It’s the female trap of not knowing enough. I see this in other women going on course after course when they know so much already. Particularly when we reinvent ourselves in later life, it’s difficult to know the moment when we are ready to “graduate”. It’s hard for women to know when they are “ready”. We are indeed ready to step out there now. The world needs us with what we have now
DP:if you don’t already know what your calling is, make 2014 the year when you at least start the journey. At least be a disruptor to people’s thinking. If you can’t be a disruptor then be a connector …. Connect people, bring them together. If you can’t be a connector, then be so radical that you transform the space that you are in. Be inspiring or be engaging. At the end of the day, we all have to be compelling …. Whatever the message is, we all have to be compelling.
Gina Lazenby opens: David you work with some very high profile women leaders … tell us something about how they got there. What makes them different to get to where they have got to? We only know them through the filter of the media, we don’t really know what they are like.
Three particular qualities of women’s leadership Dr David Paul responds:Let’s look at three particular qualities that they have. And I’m not talking about managing, I am talking about leading. Very, very different.
1 Credibility how credible are you with your message ….. And the message does not change by the way. It’s not a different message every day. It’s the credibility of the individual …. And as a result of that credibility you have the credibility of the message.
2 Connection – a bringing together of heart and mind Connection also means relationship, and collaboration. It has to be what’s called a true connection. Not just: it’s nice to meet you. Not just having strong networks but having a holistic approach to that connection. So that you are engaging the whole of me not just the mind part of me or not just the heart part of me. It’s a bringing together of the heart and mind in a very different way. If you practice that in 2014 you’ll see the difference that you will make. People will notice, they will say what has she got? I want some of that. You will be emanating the energy of true connection, people will feel this.
3 Being truly authentic The depth of that should transform every interaction when you are truly authentic. You don’t have to strive to change something, it comes to you because you are being.
GL: Have you noticed that some of the women you have worked with have become more authentic when they have moved into their top high-profile leadership position? Sometimes perhaps women try to be who they think people want them to be because the way to reach people has been through the filter of the media. So we don’t necessarily know who these women really are … it seems to me that when these women get to high places of power they become different when they are there. Are you saying that they are authentic all the way through this journey to the top and it’s maybe the way the media are presenting them?
DP:Those who we truly respect and venerate, not those who we see through the media lens …. For those there is no media lens. It is just who they are. Talking about Gandhi and Mother Theresa, you don’t see them in any different light through the media than who they truly are/were. There is an authentic beingness. It is something that transcends presentation.
GL: The last couple of years the key word has been authenticity. That’s the journey for all of us now, to get into that space, especially with the different way that we communicate now with social media. We are in direct communication with the world instead of having a PR company present our image to the world. There used to be a separation where there was the work me, and the private me. It’s all the same now. It’s not about hiding anything, it’s about who am I and how do I present myself to the world?
Authenticity is the key to a new leadership DP:When we are authentic there is no need for ego. We say that in a room full of egos, everyone goes out stupid because that is what the ego does. It prevents you from being that. And I think the connection between leadership and the collective is about being truly authentic. There is something that we have forgotten about being authentic in our journey towards profits and achieving something.
GL: It’s not in our culture and it’s not in our business training. We focus more on the image that we present to the world than we do authenticity. There is no honesty there. What I have seen in British politics is that if individuals speak as an authentic voice with messages that they feel they need to express, rather than towing the party line ….. They either have a very short a life in politics or they get towed in. Politics has not so far allowed the people to be authentic voices.
Attention to ‘Being’ is the way to authenticity DP:I think is not about allowing something it’s about being, because the moment that you allow you have to deal with so many variables … but when you are truly being you there is a level of credibility that nothing can touch. And the power of the collective is power of being authentic.
QUESTION FOR GROUP DISCUSSION …..
What are the leadership qualities of women that will help build robust structures?
What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve these better results? … see the transcript of the report back from the group.
This is the second video in the series recorded when Dr David was in London in January 2014. He spoke at a special evening on feminine leadership and was in conversation with Gina Lazenby. The transcript of the conversation is below. The dialogue was about …….
the power of changing our conversations
the personal responsibility we each need to take
the importance of individual behaviour change – break the micro patterns!
Change is beckoning… especially at the start of 2014 Gina Lazenby opens: Just referring back to this idea of a movement, and action… the change that we want to see in the world, especially now as we are entering a new year and thinking do we want another year to be the same as before?! …… change is beckoning at every quarter, everything seems to be calling for change. This can be very overwhelming ….. Where do we start? What do I do? You’ve talked about the importance of conversations, those that we have in the elevator, by the water cooler. I have been inspired to use my women’s gatherings to ask the group big questions, taking the conversation beyond what the needs of the women are to now talking about what we might do or say for example, if we had the ear of the leader of our country. We are certainly having bigger conversations. You seem to be making this accessible by saying it’s just about conversations. Speak to the small approaches that we can make it to the big problems.
The small approaches that we can make to the big problem Dr David Paul responds:Generally with change we tend to use the word “WE”. “We need to do this. All others need to do that”. The neuroscience research is showing that the word WE needs to be changed to I. “What do I need to do to change?”. It’s interesting because when you change what it is you do, you disrupt your own thought patterns which causes the change and people notice that change and say to you that you’re different from last year/last time. And this is because you have broken a pattern. I said before that we need to break the rules and change the game and part of the journey for us in 2014 is not ending up in the same space as we did at the end of 2013.
I don’t want to end up in the same space and I hope that none of us do. To change that I need to change what I do every day. I’ll give you an example: when I get up in the morning because of my patterns and my efficiency, I button up my shirt the same old way every day. Or I have the same routine in the shower every day. Can I challenge you in 2014 to do it so differently that even you are surprised by it? Why? Because you are creating new neural pathways. And when you do that I think we bring about a change. 2014 should be so vastly different to 2013 …. But that change begins with me. The familiar also holds you down to the status quo.
GL: That’s the thing about the beginning of the year… Those of us who are really engaged as change-makers, we see not only a New Year but also a new epoch, a new era … there’s a hunger for change. I know the words of Ghandi, I can hear them inside my head ….“To be the change that you want to see in the world” but I am now hearing them differently, I am thinking about the small things. I don’t normally think of those but that is what you are saying … it is the small actions that WILL make the difference. They will change our patterns and our behaviours so that we think about things differently.
DP:Also Ghandi’s message is for each individual. Be the change that you want to see. He didn’t say be the change and we ALL need to do it. It’s me, it’s I. And unless we start to do that, we are not going to see the WE. Because when we say the WE I always think that somebody else can do that.
Dr David was in London in January 2014. He spoke at a special evening on feminine leadership. The conversation with Gina Lazenby was recorded and edited into four parts. This is the first video in the series, with a transcript of the conversation. The dialogue was about …….
how will women use their power when they do get to the top?
how do we challenge the norm and change the game?
what the age of disruption means
how big movements start with small actions, the power of the dedicated few
Gina Lazenby opens: Lots of our conversations at the Brooklyn Institute in Sydney have been about women getting in to leadership positions. One of the measurements for that has been the number of women on boards (this is the case for many countries). We are there in such few numbers, and it is the same for women CEOs.
Research shows that women on boards do have an impact. Research from Credit Suisse highlighted in The Athena Doctrine book says that large companies (with a market valuation over $10 billion) with women on their Boards outperformed companies with men-only Boards by 26% over five years.
that is a great statistic to show what women can do ….
But that is not really the game …
what you have said before is being there is not enough … what do we do with the power when we are there? One of the things you talked about is challenging and changing the norms … changing and upsetting the status quo. Is that enough for us to aim to get on to boards? … and are we going to change the game when we get there?
ALSO …..This week in the newspapers .. commentary from the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, this newspaper report referred to the Age of Disruption. Brilliant new gadgets are coming on stream that will change the way we raise money, the way we monitor our health, our home security .. all these new technologies are exciting and game-changing and it says they are a “stark challenge to established ways of doing business… the major trends at the show have major potential to upset the status quo challenging the business models of large companies and raising big questions about how government runs public services and seek to control the economy”. This is a great metaphor for this conversation about women needing to challenge the status quo.
It’s time for women to challenge the norms Dr David Paul responds:You asked some very interesting questions, big questions. Changing the norm does not happen on a global scale. It happens at the level of one-to-one. And it is the power of the collective that makes the difference. So my conversation with you, as a result of what we are talking about tonight, and then your conversation with somebody else… and then their conversation … etc …… is the one that makes the biggest change. But more often than not we tend to have conversations that have no purpose apart from a discussion.
I think one of the things we need to do is rather than discussing in 2014 we need to say what can we do? What is the outcome of this discussion and every discussion then becomes a game-changer.
So that article you are talking about is where they have gone beyond discussion … they are now into Apps. So what are the Apps doing? They are actually creating moments of action, moments of Let’s Change the Game. So, for us to go forward this year I think is about breaking some of those rules. Norms are there to hold us to those rules but they have been invented a long time ago ….. It’s about breaking the rules and changing the game.
GL: One of the things that you have said to me was a wonderful phrase Radical Revolutionary Reform. I was struck by you saying that since Women got the vote, and we got together to do that, we haven’t come together as a movement of women. What I do notice when I travel is the huge number of women’s networks, organisations and communities who are gathering. There are so many more opportunities for women to congregate and connect. The woman who runs the Global PA network said that in the 1990s there were 8 to 10 women’s networks in London. Now there are more like 800+ just in London. Women are connecting globally and the Feminine Power network have had as many as 100,000 women on phone calls. in about 2010, Maria Shriver had a women’s event that was sold out to over 30,000 women in LA. There is a lot happening in this rise of the feminine. How do we create a second movement, a coordinated movement?
It’s time for a holistic movement of women (and men) all connecting together DP:I would say a holistic movement. Some of the discussions we had tonight, each one has said we need both (men and women) …. Part of that is harnessing the energy of both and a movement is always created by a small handful of dedicated individuals. It has never happened any other way. So as impressive as 30,000 women gathering in one place is, my question would be what have they done?
GL: That is a great question!
The importance of the Dedicated Few DP:And you don’t need 30,000. In fact, stats show. We only need 12 ½% of committed individuals to bring about a change. In this room that would be 2 ½ people. But imagine if ALL of us did it? That would make a difference. It’s not about the great movements and the great numbers, it’s about the commitment of the dedicated few. And massive change has happened because of that. Mahatma Gandhi in 1947, when the British were taxing the salt in India. He said, well let’s make our own salt. It didn’t take millions of individuals, all it took was a handful of people to say I can make my own salt. Break down the big goal into smaller pieces… the book you have to write, just start with one chapter so that it does not feel like a mountain to climb.
The key is to break it down into something small … then it is achievable. GL: Something that stuck with me last year as a game changer was hearing the news about the government shutdown in America. It was because the Senate could not come to an agreement. Then three weeks later there was a breakthrough. Sen Mark Pryor was speaking on television news crediting a small group of women senators who had come together to create a small working group to open up negotiations and help break the deadlock. These women were from a cross party group of 20 women senators, who regularly met for pizza supper and baby showers. They had developed relationships and formed community. This is what they were able to leverage at that moment of need when all the dialogue between the male senators had stopped. Because the men couldn’t agree their communication had degraded down to insults. Nobody was able to move forward.
Women are already changing the game
So the women asked, what would it take to move forward? What are we each prepared to give, be flexible with, in these negotiations? The women Senators led this new conversation. It was great that the male senators took time to publicly acknowledge the role of the women senators. The men said they just stood back and watched the women at work, and learned from them. We women need to do more of that. It was great that the men championed this and so publicly acknowledged the role the women played.
What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve better results? DP: Perhaps we should ask: What are the qualities that will take us forward from 2014 for the next six years until 2020? What other qualities we need to bring about the global change?
Group Discussions: What are the leadership qualities of women that will help build robust structures? It is clear that when we are in positions of power, and in quantity, we are making a difference. Recent research highlighted by the Athena Doctrine book showed that over a nine year period, hedge funds run by women outperformed those run by only men. What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve these kind of results?