Shoes (or Fearlessness)

I met someone new, just for a few moments, on Tuesday.

Him: “Wouldn’t it be better if our teams walked over to talk to each other now and again !?”

Me: “You and I are going to get on!”

I don’t properly beam very often.

We met at greater length on Thursday.

We speed talked, finished each others sentences and laughed a lot. We disagreed on a few things, but agreed on many more. We despaired of the pettiness we encounter in corporate life, and of how cowardice + spurious technology + the misuse of hierarchy = unnecessary conflict.

He pointed out how much more difficult it is to dislike someone that you’ve actually met. The meeting paused while I wrote that down.

Getting better and better at what we do is a whole lot easier when we face facts, connect and collaborate. I’ve offered a pair of shoes to whoever in my team gets out there and does this most persistently and fearlessly (not the same as recklessly), doubtless making some new friends along the way.

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Look At What They Make You Give

I read a blog recently by Alison Chisnell, thehrjuggler.wordpress.com , about gender balance in senior leadership roles.

An interesting piece about how to create an environment in which women can succeed and get to the top. This ranged from support communities, coaching and explicit pathways to quotas (isnt that Latin for, “unintended consequence” ?). All potentially good stuff, but all of which need to be done continuously for the result to be sustained. I doubt many organisations could keep that up in the long term.

It reminded me of another article I read a while ago about the Dark Triad and the increasing prevalence of narcissists, psychopaths and machiavels at senior levels in many companies (I must say, not the one I work in, and I am not just saying that). A bit of googling, a witness I find it amusingly easy to lead, “Are men more prone to narcissism”, unsurprisingly leads to lots of articles that say just that, nonetheless led me to conclude that these traits are significantly more common in men than in women. My “research” also led me to conclude that writing for the FBI must be tremendously interesting.

Easy to say, but attend ruthlessly to the mix of personality traits in the top team, and my guess is you’ll find more women on boards, but as a by product of becoming a hugely more effective organisation, rather than as an end in itself. You’ll probably need the enabling pathways too for a while. Spare me the quotas… I suspect that will lead to senior women, but primarily those who behave like men. That’s not really the point is it.

A prize for anyone who spots where the title comes from.

As usual, Alison’s piece made me think. As usual, I’ve managed to comment a week after it came out and the world has moved on. So, narcissistically, I thought I’d comment on my own blog 🙂