SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 11
Download to read offline
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 11




o r g a n i z a t i o n    p r a c t i c e



Changing
companies’ minds
about women
Joanna Barsh and Lareina Yee



Leaders who are serious about getting more women
into senior management need a hard-edged approach to
overcome the invisible barriers holding them back.


The problem
Your company has trouble retaining
promising women or promoting them
into top jobs. Structural changes,
such as “flextime,” aren’t helping enough;
they do little to address the invisible
but powerful beliefs, held by many man-
agers, that subtly, and unintentionally,
hamper women’s careers.

Why it matters
A bevy of research highlights strong
statistical correlations among large num-
bers of senior women, financial per-
formance, and organizational health. The
bottom line: companies gain hard
business benefits from a more diverse
senior team.

What to do about it
There are no sure answers yet. But
the experience of companies making
progress suggests that injecting greater
rigor into people processes—more
data, thoughtful targets that push
women into the consideration set for
key roles, a company-specific business
case for women, better sponsorship
approaches—can make a difference.
2




    Despite significant corporate commitment to the advance-
    ment of women’s careers, progress appears to have stalled. The
    percentage of women on boards and senior-executive teams remains
    stuck at around 15 percent in many countries, and just 3 percent
    of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.


    The last generation of workplace innovations—policies to support
    women with young children, networks to help women navigate
    their careers, formal sponsorship programs to ensure professional
    development—broke down structural barriers holding women back.
    The next frontier is toppling invisible barriers: mind-sets widely held
    by managers, men and women alike, that are rarely acknowledged
    but block the way.


    When senior leaders commit themselves to gender diversity, they really
    mean it—but in the heat of the moment, deeply entrenched beliefs
    cause old forms of behavior to resurface. All too often in our experience,
    executives perceive women as a greater risk for senior positions, fail
    to give women tough feedback that would help them grow, or hesitate
    to offer working mothers opportunities that come with more travel
    and stress. Not surprisingly, a survey we conducted earlier this year indi-
    cated that although a majority of women who make it to senior roles
    have a real desire to lead, few think they have meaningful support to
    do so, and even fewer think they’re in line to move up.


    Our ideas for breaking this cycle are directional, not definitive. They
    rest on our experience in the trenches with senior executives, on
    discussions with 30 diversity experts, and on the reflections of leaders
    we’ve interviewed at companies that have been on this journey for
    years. These companies include Pitney Bowes, 38 percent of whose vice
    presidents are women; Shell, where more than a quarter of all
    supervisors and professional staff worldwide are women; and Time
    Warner, where more than 40 percent of the senior executives in its
    operating divisions are women and where the share of women in senior
    roles has jumped 30 percent in the past six years. Great progress,
    but even these three companies are the first to admit how much further
    they have to go.


    Their collective experience suggests to us that real progress requires
    systemwide change driven by a hard-edged approach, including targets
    ensuring that women are at least considered for advancement, the
    rigorous application of data in performance dialogues to overcome prob-
3




 lematic mind-sets, and genuine sponsorship. Committed senior
 leaders are of course central to such efforts, which can take many
 years. We hope our suggestions, and the real-life examples that illus-
 trate them, will stir up your thinking about how to confront the
 silent but potent beliefs that probably are undermining women in your
 organization right now.



 Invisible, unconscious, and in the way

 For evidence of the problem, look no further than the blocked, leaky
 corporate-talent pipeline: women account for roughly 53 percent
 of entry-level professional employees in the largest US industrial corpo-
 rations, our research shows.1 But according to Catalyst, a leading advo-
 cacy group for women, they hold only 37 percent of middle-management
 positions, 28 percent of vice-president and senior-managerial roles,
 and 14 percent of seats on executive committees. McKinsey research
 shows similar numbers for women on executive committees outside
 the United States—from a high of 17 percent in Sweden to just 2 percent
 in Germany and India.2 Our analysis further reveals that at every
 step along the US pipeline, the odds of advancement for men are about
 twice those for women. And nearly four times as many men as women
 at large companies make the jump from the executive committee
 to CEO.3


 To understand what’s going on, look to the words that appeared
 most frequently in open-ended responses to our recent survey as expla-
 nations for poor retention and promotion of women: “politics,”
“management,” “the company,” “people,” and “the organization.” These
 forces manifest themselves in myriad ways. We’ve all heard endless
 variations on the mind-sets that set women up for failure:


“She’s too aggressive” (or “too passive”). Whether a woman is perceived
 as aggressive or passive, that’s different from the judgment a man

1	
  The entry-level figure is from our April 2011 report, Unlocking the full potential of women
 in the US economy. Read an executive summary or download the full report on the
 McKinsey  Company Web site.
2	
 The full report, Women at the top of corporations: Making it happen, part of McKinsey
  Company’s Women Matter 2010 series, is available on the McKinsey  Company
 Web site. The differences among countries reflect significant variance in their starting
 points and cultural norms—which, for example, can make it difficult for a woman to
 outearn her husband.
3	
 Part of the reason is that almost twice as many executive-level women as men (60 percent
 versus 35 percent) occupy staff roles that are less likely to lead to the top job.
4




     would face, and she often doesn’t receive the coaching a man would to
     help her assimilate into the company’s culture.


    “I don’t want to tell Bob he didn’t get that job.” There’s a limited pool
     of senior positions, and leaders are not comfortable telling protégés
     they have groomed for years that someone else is getting the spot.


    “I don’t know how to talk to or mentor her.” Men tend to sponsor other
     men, find it harder to build relationships with people when they share
     fewer common interests, and sometimes are nervous about forging
     a close relationship that could seem inappropriate.


    “If I put a woman in that role and she fails, it’ll set back all women.”
     Mind-sets like this one inadvertently treat men as individuals and
     women as representative of their whole gender.


    “A woman isn’t right for that role.” Long-held stereotypes about the
     relative strengths of men and women survive, at least in vestigial form.


     In the face of these silent but potent forces, it’s little wonder the careers
     of many promising women die on the vine. Slowly but surely—despite
     the best intentions of HR departments and individual executives—the
     experience of women starts to diverge from that of their male peers:
     Less opportunity for professional growth. Unintended performance bias
     and softer feedback. Fewer sponsors offering fewer opportunities and
     less advocacy. Lowered ambition. Greater satisfaction with staying put.
     Attrition and a fresh start at a different company.4


     A word about the role women play in this vicious cycle: they start out
     ambitious. Most young women, like young men, hope to move to the next
     level, and women who reach more senior levels retain that ambition
     (exhibit). That said, women also turn down advancement opportunities
     for varied reasons, ranging from commitments outside work to risk
     aversion for positions that demand new skills to a desire to stay put in
     roles that provide personal meaning. In addition, mothers with more
     than one child are much more satisfied with staying put, our survey
     shows, though they remain highly confident about their performance
     and abilities.


     Subtle changes in these attitudes toward advancement are another
     powerful benefit of changing how companies “think about women

    4
     Our data show that like the men we surveyed, most women who leave a job move to another
     rather than exit the workforce.
Q4 2011
 Mind-sets
                                                                                                                        5
 Exhibit 1 of 1




 Like their male counterparts, most young women want to move up.
 Many of those who advance retain that ambition.

 Desire to move to the next level, % who agree or strongly agree



                            Young                Young              Women of all ages
                            men                  women
                              98
                                                   92
                                                                          79                   83




                                   Aged 24–34                       In early stage     In early to middle
                                                                    of career1         management


1 Entry-level, nonmanagement roles; excludes administrative, maintenance, or other support services.

 Source: Feb 2011 McKinsey survey of 1,000 women and 525 men currently working in large corporations or professional-
 services firms; McKinsey analysis




                             around here.” By addressing the mind-sets holding women back,
                             corporate leaders can reshape the talent pipeline and its odds, increasing
                             the number of women role models at the top and, in turn, making
                             it likelier that more women will retain their ambition.



                             Changing companies’ minds

                             No program or initiative can be the “silver bullet” to advance women into
                             senior roles. Rather, the whole organization must change. That’s hard
                             work; it will take years and, potentially, even a generational transition.
                             This goal requires a serious commitment from busy leaders, whose
                             natural tendency is to discuss the issue, create a plan, and hand it off
                             to HR. And it requires real engagement up and down the line,
                             including engagement from women.


                             To make these changes, corporate leaders need to see them as no less
                             important than a major strategic or operational challenge, such as
                             falling market share or changing the corporate cost structure. And like
                             efforts to address those challenges, efforts to advance women can’t
                             just be add-on programs. They must be integrated into the organization’s
                             daily work through goals, performance monitoring, processes that
                             force tough conversations, and serious skill building.
6




     Undertaking such a transformation in difficult economic times, when
     there are fewer opportunities to go around, may seem like a recipe
     for failure. But the fact is that these changes never will be easy and that
     a few companies, including those we focus on below (Pitney Bowes,
     Shell, and Time Warner), have managed to stay on course through both
     good times and bad.


     Make it personal
     Make no mistake: as a senior executive, you are already inf luencing
     your company’s approach. If you’re not paying much attention to
     the issue of women’s advancement, you’re ensuring that things won’t
     change. As Shell’s executive vice president of global supply and
     distribution, Peggy Montana, says, “When you look at corporate mind-
     sets, change starts at the top. I haven’t seen change in diversity start
     from middle management.”


    And if you’re personally committed, you can catalyze change that will
     improve not only your company’s treatment of women but also, in
     all likelihood, its business results. 5 In the early 1980s, Pitney Bowes
     CEO George Harvey learned that the most productive newly hired
     salespeople were women, many of whom had previously been school-
     teachers. Curious to know the explanation, he visited sales offices
     late in the day and discovered women “writing personal notes to their
     customers with a lot of conviction”—a practice that, further inquiry
     revealed, seemed to be driving sales.


    According to Pitney Bowes executive vice president Johnna Torsone,
     Harvey’s recognition of the value of these committed women touched
     off a wave of change. Torsone says Harvey became “determined to
     open up an environment that allowed people to come in who hadn’t had
     a true opportunity on a level playing field.” They would be motivated,
     he reasoned, and their success would “increase the competitive environ-
     ment for the men and for everybody else in the organization.” The
     end result, Torsone explains, “was an HR strategy based on business.”

    5
     For evidence of the strong correlation between women at the top and stronger financial
    performance, see Georges Desvaux, Sandrine Devillard-Hoellinger, and Mary C. Meaney, “A
    business case for women,” mckinseyquarterly.com, September 2008.
7




Make no mistake: as a senior executive,
you are already influencing your company’s
approach. If you’re not paying attention
to the issue of women’s advancement, you’re
ensuring that things won’t change.


         This is a powerful idea that resonates with our experience: strong as
          the general business case for women is, companies are more likely to
          transform mind-sets if they build their own case. That case should
          be grounded in the impact women are having at your own organization—
          whether hard business results or indirect benefits, such as building
          better teams. Harvey’s commitment also highlights the importance of
          having leaders start this journey by changing their own mind-sets:
          all transformations start with the self; leaders influence everyone else
          in the organization through their attitudes and actions.6


          Change the conversation
         It’s one thing for executives to commit themselves to change. It’s another
          to actually make progress. A starting point is making sure enough
          women are being considered for advancement, to boost the odds that
          some will get through. Broadening the conversation ensures that
          high-talent women aren’t “underexposed,” compared with men, as senior
          executives talk through promotion possibilities. While putting one
          woman on the promotion slate will not change the discussion, focusing
          on metrics will. And though most companies are loath to consider
          quotas, they’re far from the only way to introduce a hard edge to the
          ongoing talent dialogue.


         6
          For more on the role of senior leaders in catalyzing change, see Joanna Barsh, Josephine
          Mogelof, and Caroline Webb, “How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results,”
          mckinseyquarterly.com, October 2008; and Carolyn B. Aiken and Scott P. Keller, “The CEO’s
          role in leading transformation,” mckinseyquarterly.com, February 2007.
8




         Pitney Bowes, for example, focused on the front end. For a number of
         years, every list of candidates for promotion there had to include 35 per-
         cent women and 15 percent minorities, equal to their representation
         in the workforce at the time. Harvey chose this approach because “he
         felt that white men had been disproportionately advantaged and had
         gotten complacent,” Torsone explains.


         Shell focused on outcomes, setting a long-term target for women at the
         top: currently, 20 percent of the company’s senior executives world-
         wide. So far, women hold just over 15 percent of those positions, up from
         10 percent in 2005. The company includes an assessment of progress
         against this target in all senior executives’ reviews and presents the over-
         all results in its annual report.


         At Time Warner, chief diversity officer Lisa Quiroz explains that each
         division is required to have a succession plan and a robust promo-
         tion slate for its top layers of management. The CEO and the HR chief
         review the plans and slates every year for diversity, among other cri-
         teria. This review also includes specific discussions about how individual
         women are being prepared for their next role, including rotation
         among the company’s divisions and between staff and line roles. For
         more than a decade, a noticeable part of each divisional CEO’s bonus
         has depended on meeting the company’s expectations for diversity.


         Will men raise concerns? Maybe. They did early on at Pitney Bowes,
         despite support for diversity from the top. “George [Harvey],” Torsone
         explains, “brought challenge and passion to the focus, but it felt alien-
         ating to the men. That was not the intention, and so it had to evolve.
         When I came in, we broadened our efforts to upgrade talent devel-
         opment, making it better for everyone. We still see resistance from men
         occasionally, but the overall culture changed, and those attitudes are
         really disappearing.”




Any top-down talent review process
conducted primarily by senior men can
unintentionally reinforce the status
quo. Bottom-up survey data can help shake
things up.
9




And what about women? Shell’s Montana says her response to fears from
women that they’re getting jobs just because of their gender is, “Get
over it. I’ve never seen a selection panel pick somebody on the basis of,
‘She’s not really qualified, but we need a female in this job.’ It just
doesn’t happen. We’re running a business, and we’re not taking undue
risks. It’s never going to be a risk-free exercise. But neither is it for
the rest of the population.”


Use data to create transparency and challenge
entrenched mind-sets
Most companies collect some data on diversity. Yet few track the
results in enough detail to help executives gain a real understanding
of what’s going on in their own departments or business units and
how their mind-sets may be contributing. Furthermore, many compa-
nies track data only at the executive level, not down to the front line.
They therefore have no idea what their pipeline really looks like, let alone
how to improve it. PepsiCo, by contrast, tracks the progress of women
at all levels and shares the results throughout its talent review processes.
As a result, the full pipeline of female talent—not just the senior ranks,
which are much harder to influence rapidly—is highly visible.


When the findings are impossible to overlook, leaders can use them to
make the invisible mind-sets visible and then manage these mind-
sets to remove their influence. Pitney Bowes carefully rates and scores
each division’s diversity plan and, like Time Warner, includes in
its bonus decisions an executive’s success in promoting diversity. Further-
more, Torsone says, from the time this process was started, during
the 1980s, the CEO “would talk about it at every operating and manage-
ment review.”


Of course, any top-down talent review process conducted primarily
by senior men can unintentionally reinforce the status quo. Bottom-up
survey data can help shake things up, however. Each year, Shell asks
all employees to answer a survey with 61 questions, ranging from how
they like working at the company to whether they feel able to speak
up freely. The company uses the results from five of these questions to
measure the inclusiveness of the work culture and how it changes
year to year. Shell also analyzes the responses of groups such as men and
women, different nationalities, and different tenures to see whether
their experiences diverge.


One way the company uses the results is to measure the effectiveness of
supervisors in creating an environment where everyone feels engaged
10




     and able to excel. The results flag outliers: parts of the organization
     where everyone can thrive and those areas where some or all employees
     feel stymied (those are addressed by specific follow-up plans). Over
     the years, Shell has seen the gap between men’s and women’s experiences
     shrink—a positive trend. There’s still the question of whether gender-
     based attitudes influence responses to surveys like these. In our experi-
     ence and in Shell’s, though, they are much better than nothing.


     Rethink genuine sponsorship for women
     For men and women alike, effective sponsors can make careers through
     ongoing, in-the-moment support. Sometimes that means supporting
     women in stretch roles. In the words of a female executive at a financial-
     services firm, “The head of the business offered me a big promotion
     that entailed a move, but then he said, ‘We’re going to make 100 percent
     sure that you don’t fail. We have your back, so take this promotion.’
     He called the executive who would become my new boss to extract that
     commitment, and that made it a lot easier for me to take on this
     scary, big step.”


     At other times, the best thing a sponsor can do is offer tough love. Shell’s
     Montana says she has “held some people back from the next level
     until they had more of an operational PL role. I felt that if they didn’t
     have it, at least in a reasonably early time in their career, it would
     hold them back once they had the opportunity for more senior levels.”


     Clear as the benefits are, so are the challenges of sponsorship for
     women: many male executives feel more comfortable sponsoring men
     or simply don’t know how to be effective sponsors for women. Take
     one common kind of sponsor we’ve met in dozens of workshops—the
     “relentless coach” who pushes the sponsoree to the breaking point.
     While many men recall this grueling experience with gratitude and even
     affection for the sponsor, it doesn’t work well for many women, espe-
     cially those who carry the burden of responsibility at home in addition
     to their work. Another valuable, but often controversial, kind of
     sponsor is what we call the “devil’s advocate.” We all value being chal-
     lenged to make our work better, but many women find that constant
     questioning drains their confidence and energy. With self-awareness
     and training, sponsors can learn to adapt their styles to the individ-
     ual and situation at hand.


     Effective sponsors are deeply, personally engaged, down to the level
     of small details, whose importance adds up. Time Warner’s Quiroz
     describes true sponsorship as “someone being planful about what you
11




                      do, who you’re exposed to, what development programs you go to, who
                      you have lunch with, whether you’re getting feedback or being assigned
                      a coach.” At her company, leaders work hard to make women’s careers
                     “intentional.” One key: making sure that sponsorees attend Time Warner
                      women’s leadership programs, where participants interact with top
                      management and learn to overcome their own limiting mind-sets and
                      behavior. So far, among the more than 300 leaders who have attended
                      Time Warner’s program for senior women, 22 percent have been pro-
                      moted, compared with only 11.8 percent of all women at a similar level
                      in the company.




                      We hope you draw inspiration from these examples. If you’re ready
                      to start challenging the broadly held mind-sets holding women back
                      in your organization, first become conscious of your own beliefs
                      and how they affect your behavior and decisions. Then, as you help your
                      company move forward, remain vigilant: every time a senior exec-
                      utive leaves or enters an organization, its culture can—and does—shift.
                      It is up to the senior team to help new executives become active
                      participants in this journey and to make regular efforts to inject the
                      energy that the organization as a whole will need to change its mind
                      about women.


                     The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Heather Sumner
                     to the research behind this article.


                     Joanna Barsh is a director in McKinsey’s New York office, and Lareina
                     Yee is a principal in the San Francisco office.



Copyright © 2011 McKinsey  Company. All rights reserved.
We welcome your comments on this article. Please send them to
quarterly_comments@mckinsey.com.

More Related Content

What's hot

Hvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
Hvorfor vi elsker Steria dameneHvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
Hvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
Odd Inge Bjørdal
 
GC Looking to a brighter future
GC Looking to a brighter futureGC Looking to a brighter future
GC Looking to a brighter future
David A.A. Ross
 
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on BoardsThe Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
Cate Goethals
 
2016 AAL Culture Survey
2016 AAL Culture Survey2016 AAL Culture Survey
2016 AAL Culture Survey
Rob Nielsen
 
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
L Bonita Patterson
 

What's hot (19)

USP-D White Paper Women in Management
USP-D White Paper Women in ManagementUSP-D White Paper Women in Management
USP-D White Paper Women in Management
 
What Lies Beneath
What Lies BeneathWhat Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath
 
The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management
The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior ManagementThe CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management
The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management
 
Hvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
Hvorfor vi elsker Steria dameneHvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
Hvorfor vi elsker Steria damene
 
Diversity in the C-Suite: The Dismal State of Diversity Among Fortune 100 Sen...
Diversity in the C-Suite: The Dismal State of Diversity Among Fortune 100 Sen...Diversity in the C-Suite: The Dismal State of Diversity Among Fortune 100 Sen...
Diversity in the C-Suite: The Dismal State of Diversity Among Fortune 100 Sen...
 
BBP_11_24
BBP_11_24BBP_11_24
BBP_11_24
 
GC Looking to a brighter future
GC Looking to a brighter futureGC Looking to a brighter future
GC Looking to a brighter future
 
People Power in IMIS, UK
People Power in IMIS, UKPeople Power in IMIS, UK
People Power in IMIS, UK
 
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on BoardsThe Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
The Better Boards Report - Exploring the Impact of Women on Boards
 
Chairman and CEO: The Controversy over Board Leadership Structure
Chairman and CEO: The Controversy over Board Leadership Structure Chairman and CEO: The Controversy over Board Leadership Structure
Chairman and CEO: The Controversy over Board Leadership Structure
 
Women in Leadership
Women in LeadershipWomen in Leadership
Women in Leadership
 
Women Empowerment-Facilitating Indian Women for Leadership through share lear...
Women Empowerment-Facilitating Indian Women for Leadership through share lear...Women Empowerment-Facilitating Indian Women for Leadership through share lear...
Women Empowerment-Facilitating Indian Women for Leadership through share lear...
 
Why great leaders have a coach behind them
Why great leaders have a coach behind them Why great leaders have a coach behind them
Why great leaders have a coach behind them
 
How HR can get to Board Room
How HR can get to Board RoomHow HR can get to Board Room
How HR can get to Board Room
 
2016 AAL Culture Survey
2016 AAL Culture Survey2016 AAL Culture Survey
2016 AAL Culture Survey
 
Equinox Partners - 15Five Leader's Guide
Equinox Partners - 15Five Leader's GuideEquinox Partners - 15Five Leader's Guide
Equinox Partners - 15Five Leader's Guide
 
Women into leadership
Women into leadership Women into leadership
Women into leadership
 
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
14 Jun - Behavioral Accountability (MH SHRM REPRINT)
 
Inside-Out Collaboration: An Integrated Approach to Working Beyond Silos
Inside-Out Collaboration: An Integrated Approach to Working Beyond SilosInside-Out Collaboration: An Integrated Approach to Working Beyond Silos
Inside-Out Collaboration: An Integrated Approach to Working Beyond Silos
 

Viewers also liked (7)

都市圈研究
都市圈研究都市圈研究
都市圈研究
 
Solution[1]
Solution[1]Solution[1]
Solution[1]
 
Unit 7 PowerPoint
Unit 7 PowerPointUnit 7 PowerPoint
Unit 7 PowerPoint
 
Prsa philly 1.0[1]
Prsa philly 1.0[1]Prsa philly 1.0[1]
Prsa philly 1.0[1]
 
Mητρώο βελαϊτών
Mητρώο βελαϊτώνMητρώο βελαϊτών
Mητρώο βελαϊτών
 
The gender dividend
The gender dividendThe gender dividend
The gender dividend
 
Epi7
Epi7Epi7
Epi7
 

Similar to 2011 09 changing_companie'smindsaboutwomen (2)

changingthegame2012
changingthegame2012changingthegame2012
changingthegame2012
Leslie Traub
 
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
PMI_IREP_TP
 
A anga mahesh
A anga maheshA anga mahesh
A anga mahesh
PMI2011
 
Make Way for Women
Make Way for WomenMake Way for Women
Make Way for Women
Karen Chand
 

Similar to 2011 09 changing_companie'smindsaboutwomen (2) (20)

McKinsey Global Survey results: Moving mind-sets on gender diversity: To ens...
McKinsey Global Survey results: Moving mind-sets on gender diversity:  To ens...McKinsey Global Survey results: Moving mind-sets on gender diversity:  To ens...
McKinsey Global Survey results: Moving mind-sets on gender diversity: To ens...
 
Women in the workplace 2016
Women in the workplace 2016Women in the workplace 2016
Women in the workplace 2016
 
The Gender Gap At The Top: What's Keeping Women From Leading Corporate America?
The Gender Gap At The Top: What's Keeping Women From Leading Corporate America?The Gender Gap At The Top: What's Keeping Women From Leading Corporate America?
The Gender Gap At The Top: What's Keeping Women From Leading Corporate America?
 
Prove It You Have To Be Kidding
Prove It You Have To Be KiddingProve It You Have To Be Kidding
Prove It You Have To Be Kidding
 
Women in leadership
Women in leadership Women in leadership
Women in leadership
 
Women in the Workplace 2015
Women in the Workplace 2015Women in the Workplace 2015
Women in the Workplace 2015
 
Closing the Women's Leadership Gap: Who can help?
Closing the Women's Leadership Gap: Who can help? Closing the Women's Leadership Gap: Who can help?
Closing the Women's Leadership Gap: Who can help?
 
changingthegame2012
changingthegame2012changingthegame2012
changingthegame2012
 
The female CEO-Reputation Premium? Differences & Similarities
The female CEO-Reputation Premium? Differences & SimilaritiesThe female CEO-Reputation Premium? Differences & Similarities
The female CEO-Reputation Premium? Differences & Similarities
 
Linkedin diversity-inclusion-report: Moving the Needle for Women Leaders
Linkedin diversity-inclusion-report: Moving the Needle for Women LeadersLinkedin diversity-inclusion-report: Moving the Needle for Women Leaders
Linkedin diversity-inclusion-report: Moving the Needle for Women Leaders
 
White paper 2018 - 2019 LEE HECHT HARRISON ( LHH ) Elevating women in leader...
White paper 2018 - 2019  LEE HECHT HARRISON ( LHH ) Elevating women in leader...White paper 2018 - 2019  LEE HECHT HARRISON ( LHH ) Elevating women in leader...
White paper 2018 - 2019 LEE HECHT HARRISON ( LHH ) Elevating women in leader...
 
What are the primary barriers to womens leadership? 7 Best Points | CIO Women...
What are the primary barriers to womens leadership? 7 Best Points | CIO Women...What are the primary barriers to womens leadership? 7 Best Points | CIO Women...
What are the primary barriers to womens leadership? 7 Best Points | CIO Women...
 
Top 7 Reasons why we need more women in leadership roles.pdf
Top 7 Reasons why we need more women in leadership roles.pdfTop 7 Reasons why we need more women in leadership roles.pdf
Top 7 Reasons why we need more women in leadership roles.pdf
 
Women as Mentors Does She or Doesn’t She? A Global Study of Businesswomen and...
Women as Mentors Does She or Doesn’t She? A Global Study of Businesswomen and...Women as Mentors Does She or Doesn’t She? A Global Study of Businesswomen and...
Women as Mentors Does She or Doesn’t She? A Global Study of Businesswomen and...
 
Millennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic Storybook
Millennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic StorybookMillennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic Storybook
Millennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic Storybook
 
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
Aangamahesh 131008015750-phpapp01
 
A anga mahesh
A anga maheshA anga mahesh
A anga mahesh
 
Make Way for Women
Make Way for WomenMake Way for Women
Make Way for Women
 
Purpose. Power. Presence. Leadership essentials for women.
Purpose. Power. Presence. Leadership essentials for women.Purpose. Power. Presence. Leadership essentials for women.
Purpose. Power. Presence. Leadership essentials for women.
 
Women in Leadership.pptx
Women in Leadership.pptxWomen in Leadership.pptx
Women in Leadership.pptx
 

More from WomenCeo

Conferencia maite ballester
Conferencia maite ballesterConferencia maite ballester
Conferencia maite ballester
WomenCeo
 
Album fotos
Album fotosAlbum fotos
Album fotos
WomenCeo
 
Taller 11 de julio
Taller 11 de julioTaller 11 de julio
Taller 11 de julio
WomenCeo
 
Llopis reseña web
Llopis reseña web Llopis reseña web
Llopis reseña web
WomenCeo
 
Women ceo c gy e 19042012
Women ceo c gy e 19042012Women ceo c gy e 19042012
Women ceo c gy e 19042012
WomenCeo
 
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
WomenCeo
 
Women of tomorrow nielsen
Women of tomorrow nielsenWomen of tomorrow nielsen
Women of tomorrow nielsen
WomenCeo
 
Women leaders, a compeittive edge
Women leaders, a compeittive edgeWomen leaders, a compeittive edge
Women leaders, a compeittive edge
WomenCeo
 
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariadoVii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
WomenCeo
 
Women in economic decision making in the eu
Women in economic decision making in the euWomen in economic decision making in the eu
Women in economic decision making in the eu
WomenCeo
 
La mujer directiva_en_españa
La mujer directiva_en_españaLa mujer directiva_en_españa
La mujer directiva_en_españa
WomenCeo
 
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitasLiderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
WomenCeo
 
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
WomenCeo
 
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
WomenCeo
 

More from WomenCeo (20)

Conferencia maite ballester
Conferencia maite ballesterConferencia maite ballester
Conferencia maite ballester
 
Album
AlbumAlbum
Album
 
Album fotos
Album fotosAlbum fotos
Album fotos
 
Fotos
FotosFotos
Fotos
 
Taller 11 de julio
Taller 11 de julioTaller 11 de julio
Taller 11 de julio
 
Llopis reseña web
Llopis reseña web Llopis reseña web
Llopis reseña web
 
Plan 2012
Plan 2012Plan 2012
Plan 2012
 
Women ceo c gy e 19042012
Women ceo c gy e 19042012Women ceo c gy e 19042012
Women ceo c gy e 19042012
 
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
Women in the boardroom deloitte 012011
 
Women of tomorrow nielsen
Women of tomorrow nielsenWomen of tomorrow nielsen
Women of tomorrow nielsen
 
Women leaders, a compeittive edge
Women leaders, a compeittive edgeWomen leaders, a compeittive edge
Women leaders, a compeittive edge
 
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariadoVii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
Vii informe foro buen gobierno y accionariado
 
Women in economic decision making in the eu
Women in economic decision making in the euWomen in economic decision making in the eu
Women in economic decision making in the eu
 
La mujer directiva_en_españa
La mujer directiva_en_españaLa mujer directiva_en_españa
La mujer directiva_en_españa
 
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitasLiderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
Liderazgo efectivo quid qualitas
 
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
362 trayectorias-laborales-de-las-mujeres-que-ocupan-puestos-de-alta-cualific...
 
Liderazgo efectivo, Womenceo (Quid Qualitas).
Liderazgo efectivo, Womenceo (Quid Qualitas).Liderazgo efectivo, Womenceo (Quid Qualitas).
Liderazgo efectivo, Womenceo (Quid Qualitas).
 
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_16.6.11
 
Women_Ceo_Acta reunión_5.5.11
Women_Ceo_Acta reunión_5.5.11Women_Ceo_Acta reunión_5.5.11
Women_Ceo_Acta reunión_5.5.11
 
WomenCeo_Ponencia_5.5.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_5.5.11WomenCeo_Ponencia_5.5.11
WomenCeo_Ponencia_5.5.11
 

Recently uploaded

Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
bleessingsbender
 
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
DUBAI (+971)581248768 BUY ABORTION PILLS IN ABU dhabi...Qatar
 
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
Klinik kandungan
 
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
yulianti213969
 
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot - Greenville HUG.pptx
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot  - Greenville HUG.pptx2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot  - Greenville HUG.pptx
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot - Greenville HUG.pptx
Boundify
 

Recently uploaded (20)

Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
Abortion pills in Jeddah ! +27737758557, cytotec pill riyadh. Saudi Arabia" A...
 
PHX May 2024 Corporate Presentation Final
PHX May 2024 Corporate Presentation FinalPHX May 2024 Corporate Presentation Final
PHX May 2024 Corporate Presentation Final
 
Moradia Isolada com Logradouro; Detached house with patio in Penacova
Moradia Isolada com Logradouro; Detached house with patio in PenacovaMoradia Isolada com Logradouro; Detached house with patio in Penacova
Moradia Isolada com Logradouro; Detached house with patio in Penacova
 
GURGAON CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN GURGAON ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
GURGAON CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN GURGAON  ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDEGURGAON CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN GURGAON  ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
GURGAON CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN GURGAON ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
 
Understanding Financial Accounting 3rd Canadian Edition by Christopher D. Bur...
Understanding Financial Accounting 3rd Canadian Edition by Christopher D. Bur...Understanding Financial Accounting 3rd Canadian Edition by Christopher D. Bur...
Understanding Financial Accounting 3rd Canadian Edition by Christopher D. Bur...
 
Progress Report - UKG Analyst Summit 2024 - A lot to do - Good Progress1-1.pdf
Progress Report - UKG Analyst Summit 2024 - A lot to do - Good Progress1-1.pdfProgress Report - UKG Analyst Summit 2024 - A lot to do - Good Progress1-1.pdf
Progress Report - UKG Analyst Summit 2024 - A lot to do - Good Progress1-1.pdf
 
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
Contact +971581248768 for 100% original and safe abortion pills available for...
 
JIND CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JIND ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
JIND CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JIND ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDEJIND CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JIND ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
JIND CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JIND ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
 
Goal Presentation_NEW EMPLOYEE_NETAPS FOUNDATION.pptx
Goal Presentation_NEW EMPLOYEE_NETAPS FOUNDATION.pptxGoal Presentation_NEW EMPLOYEE_NETAPS FOUNDATION.pptx
Goal Presentation_NEW EMPLOYEE_NETAPS FOUNDATION.pptx
 
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
Jual obat aborsi Hongkong ( 085657271886 ) Cytote pil telat bulan penggugur k...
 
Pre Engineered Building Manufacturers Hyderabad.pptx
Pre Engineered  Building Manufacturers Hyderabad.pptxPre Engineered  Building Manufacturers Hyderabad.pptx
Pre Engineered Building Manufacturers Hyderabad.pptx
 
Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon's $5.5m Seed deck
Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon's $5.5m Seed deckPitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon's $5.5m Seed deck
Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon's $5.5m Seed deck
 
JHANSI CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JHANSI ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
JHANSI CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JHANSI ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDEJHANSI CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JHANSI ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
JHANSI CALL GIRL ❤ 8272964427❤ CALL GIRLS IN JHANSI ESCORTS SERVICE PROVIDE
 
Progress Report - Oracle's OCI Analyst Summit 2024
Progress Report - Oracle's OCI Analyst Summit 2024Progress Report - Oracle's OCI Analyst Summit 2024
Progress Report - Oracle's OCI Analyst Summit 2024
 
10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024.pdf
10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024.pdf10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024.pdf
10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024.pdf
 
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
obat aborsi bandung wa 081336238223 jual obat aborsi cytotec asli di bandung9...
 
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot - Greenville HUG.pptx
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot  - Greenville HUG.pptx2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot  - Greenville HUG.pptx
2024 May - Clearbit Integration with Hubspot - Greenville HUG.pptx
 
Arti Languages Pre Seed Teaser Deck 2024.pdf
Arti Languages Pre Seed Teaser Deck 2024.pdfArti Languages Pre Seed Teaser Deck 2024.pdf
Arti Languages Pre Seed Teaser Deck 2024.pdf
 
Home Furnishings Ecommerce Platform Short Pitch 2024
Home Furnishings Ecommerce Platform Short Pitch 2024Home Furnishings Ecommerce Platform Short Pitch 2024
Home Furnishings Ecommerce Platform Short Pitch 2024
 
HomeRoots Pitch Deck | Investor Insights | April 2024
HomeRoots Pitch Deck | Investor Insights | April 2024HomeRoots Pitch Deck | Investor Insights | April 2024
HomeRoots Pitch Deck | Investor Insights | April 2024
 

2011 09 changing_companie'smindsaboutwomen (2)

  • 1. S E P T E M B E R 2 0 11 o r g a n i z a t i o n p r a c t i c e Changing companies’ minds about women Joanna Barsh and Lareina Yee Leaders who are serious about getting more women into senior management need a hard-edged approach to overcome the invisible barriers holding them back. The problem Your company has trouble retaining promising women or promoting them into top jobs. Structural changes, such as “flextime,” aren’t helping enough; they do little to address the invisible but powerful beliefs, held by many man- agers, that subtly, and unintentionally, hamper women’s careers. Why it matters A bevy of research highlights strong statistical correlations among large num- bers of senior women, financial per- formance, and organizational health. The bottom line: companies gain hard business benefits from a more diverse senior team. What to do about it There are no sure answers yet. But the experience of companies making progress suggests that injecting greater rigor into people processes—more data, thoughtful targets that push women into the consideration set for key roles, a company-specific business case for women, better sponsorship approaches—can make a difference.
  • 2. 2 Despite significant corporate commitment to the advance- ment of women’s careers, progress appears to have stalled. The percentage of women on boards and senior-executive teams remains stuck at around 15 percent in many countries, and just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The last generation of workplace innovations—policies to support women with young children, networks to help women navigate their careers, formal sponsorship programs to ensure professional development—broke down structural barriers holding women back. The next frontier is toppling invisible barriers: mind-sets widely held by managers, men and women alike, that are rarely acknowledged but block the way. When senior leaders commit themselves to gender diversity, they really mean it—but in the heat of the moment, deeply entrenched beliefs cause old forms of behavior to resurface. All too often in our experience, executives perceive women as a greater risk for senior positions, fail to give women tough feedback that would help them grow, or hesitate to offer working mothers opportunities that come with more travel and stress. Not surprisingly, a survey we conducted earlier this year indi- cated that although a majority of women who make it to senior roles have a real desire to lead, few think they have meaningful support to do so, and even fewer think they’re in line to move up. Our ideas for breaking this cycle are directional, not definitive. They rest on our experience in the trenches with senior executives, on discussions with 30 diversity experts, and on the reflections of leaders we’ve interviewed at companies that have been on this journey for years. These companies include Pitney Bowes, 38 percent of whose vice presidents are women; Shell, where more than a quarter of all supervisors and professional staff worldwide are women; and Time Warner, where more than 40 percent of the senior executives in its operating divisions are women and where the share of women in senior roles has jumped 30 percent in the past six years. Great progress, but even these three companies are the first to admit how much further they have to go. Their collective experience suggests to us that real progress requires systemwide change driven by a hard-edged approach, including targets ensuring that women are at least considered for advancement, the rigorous application of data in performance dialogues to overcome prob-
  • 3. 3 lematic mind-sets, and genuine sponsorship. Committed senior leaders are of course central to such efforts, which can take many years. We hope our suggestions, and the real-life examples that illus- trate them, will stir up your thinking about how to confront the silent but potent beliefs that probably are undermining women in your organization right now. Invisible, unconscious, and in the way For evidence of the problem, look no further than the blocked, leaky corporate-talent pipeline: women account for roughly 53 percent of entry-level professional employees in the largest US industrial corpo- rations, our research shows.1 But according to Catalyst, a leading advo- cacy group for women, they hold only 37 percent of middle-management positions, 28 percent of vice-president and senior-managerial roles, and 14 percent of seats on executive committees. McKinsey research shows similar numbers for women on executive committees outside the United States—from a high of 17 percent in Sweden to just 2 percent in Germany and India.2 Our analysis further reveals that at every step along the US pipeline, the odds of advancement for men are about twice those for women. And nearly four times as many men as women at large companies make the jump from the executive committee to CEO.3 To understand what’s going on, look to the words that appeared most frequently in open-ended responses to our recent survey as expla- nations for poor retention and promotion of women: “politics,” “management,” “the company,” “people,” and “the organization.” These forces manifest themselves in myriad ways. We’ve all heard endless variations on the mind-sets that set women up for failure: “She’s too aggressive” (or “too passive”). Whether a woman is perceived as aggressive or passive, that’s different from the judgment a man 1 The entry-level figure is from our April 2011 report, Unlocking the full potential of women in the US economy. Read an executive summary or download the full report on the McKinsey Company Web site. 2 The full report, Women at the top of corporations: Making it happen, part of McKinsey Company’s Women Matter 2010 series, is available on the McKinsey Company Web site. The differences among countries reflect significant variance in their starting points and cultural norms—which, for example, can make it difficult for a woman to outearn her husband. 3 Part of the reason is that almost twice as many executive-level women as men (60 percent versus 35 percent) occupy staff roles that are less likely to lead to the top job.
  • 4. 4 would face, and she often doesn’t receive the coaching a man would to help her assimilate into the company’s culture. “I don’t want to tell Bob he didn’t get that job.” There’s a limited pool of senior positions, and leaders are not comfortable telling protégés they have groomed for years that someone else is getting the spot. “I don’t know how to talk to or mentor her.” Men tend to sponsor other men, find it harder to build relationships with people when they share fewer common interests, and sometimes are nervous about forging a close relationship that could seem inappropriate. “If I put a woman in that role and she fails, it’ll set back all women.” Mind-sets like this one inadvertently treat men as individuals and women as representative of their whole gender. “A woman isn’t right for that role.” Long-held stereotypes about the relative strengths of men and women survive, at least in vestigial form. In the face of these silent but potent forces, it’s little wonder the careers of many promising women die on the vine. Slowly but surely—despite the best intentions of HR departments and individual executives—the experience of women starts to diverge from that of their male peers: Less opportunity for professional growth. Unintended performance bias and softer feedback. Fewer sponsors offering fewer opportunities and less advocacy. Lowered ambition. Greater satisfaction with staying put. Attrition and a fresh start at a different company.4 A word about the role women play in this vicious cycle: they start out ambitious. Most young women, like young men, hope to move to the next level, and women who reach more senior levels retain that ambition (exhibit). That said, women also turn down advancement opportunities for varied reasons, ranging from commitments outside work to risk aversion for positions that demand new skills to a desire to stay put in roles that provide personal meaning. In addition, mothers with more than one child are much more satisfied with staying put, our survey shows, though they remain highly confident about their performance and abilities. Subtle changes in these attitudes toward advancement are another powerful benefit of changing how companies “think about women 4 Our data show that like the men we surveyed, most women who leave a job move to another rather than exit the workforce.
  • 5. Q4 2011 Mind-sets 5 Exhibit 1 of 1 Like their male counterparts, most young women want to move up. Many of those who advance retain that ambition. Desire to move to the next level, % who agree or strongly agree Young Young Women of all ages men women 98 92 79 83 Aged 24–34 In early stage In early to middle of career1 management 1 Entry-level, nonmanagement roles; excludes administrative, maintenance, or other support services. Source: Feb 2011 McKinsey survey of 1,000 women and 525 men currently working in large corporations or professional- services firms; McKinsey analysis around here.” By addressing the mind-sets holding women back, corporate leaders can reshape the talent pipeline and its odds, increasing the number of women role models at the top and, in turn, making it likelier that more women will retain their ambition. Changing companies’ minds No program or initiative can be the “silver bullet” to advance women into senior roles. Rather, the whole organization must change. That’s hard work; it will take years and, potentially, even a generational transition. This goal requires a serious commitment from busy leaders, whose natural tendency is to discuss the issue, create a plan, and hand it off to HR. And it requires real engagement up and down the line, including engagement from women. To make these changes, corporate leaders need to see them as no less important than a major strategic or operational challenge, such as falling market share or changing the corporate cost structure. And like efforts to address those challenges, efforts to advance women can’t just be add-on programs. They must be integrated into the organization’s daily work through goals, performance monitoring, processes that force tough conversations, and serious skill building.
  • 6. 6 Undertaking such a transformation in difficult economic times, when there are fewer opportunities to go around, may seem like a recipe for failure. But the fact is that these changes never will be easy and that a few companies, including those we focus on below (Pitney Bowes, Shell, and Time Warner), have managed to stay on course through both good times and bad. Make it personal Make no mistake: as a senior executive, you are already inf luencing your company’s approach. If you’re not paying much attention to the issue of women’s advancement, you’re ensuring that things won’t change. As Shell’s executive vice president of global supply and distribution, Peggy Montana, says, “When you look at corporate mind- sets, change starts at the top. I haven’t seen change in diversity start from middle management.” And if you’re personally committed, you can catalyze change that will improve not only your company’s treatment of women but also, in all likelihood, its business results. 5 In the early 1980s, Pitney Bowes CEO George Harvey learned that the most productive newly hired salespeople were women, many of whom had previously been school- teachers. Curious to know the explanation, he visited sales offices late in the day and discovered women “writing personal notes to their customers with a lot of conviction”—a practice that, further inquiry revealed, seemed to be driving sales. According to Pitney Bowes executive vice president Johnna Torsone, Harvey’s recognition of the value of these committed women touched off a wave of change. Torsone says Harvey became “determined to open up an environment that allowed people to come in who hadn’t had a true opportunity on a level playing field.” They would be motivated, he reasoned, and their success would “increase the competitive environ- ment for the men and for everybody else in the organization.” The end result, Torsone explains, “was an HR strategy based on business.” 5 For evidence of the strong correlation between women at the top and stronger financial performance, see Georges Desvaux, Sandrine Devillard-Hoellinger, and Mary C. Meaney, “A business case for women,” mckinseyquarterly.com, September 2008.
  • 7. 7 Make no mistake: as a senior executive, you are already influencing your company’s approach. If you’re not paying attention to the issue of women’s advancement, you’re ensuring that things won’t change. This is a powerful idea that resonates with our experience: strong as the general business case for women is, companies are more likely to transform mind-sets if they build their own case. That case should be grounded in the impact women are having at your own organization— whether hard business results or indirect benefits, such as building better teams. Harvey’s commitment also highlights the importance of having leaders start this journey by changing their own mind-sets: all transformations start with the self; leaders influence everyone else in the organization through their attitudes and actions.6 Change the conversation It’s one thing for executives to commit themselves to change. It’s another to actually make progress. A starting point is making sure enough women are being considered for advancement, to boost the odds that some will get through. Broadening the conversation ensures that high-talent women aren’t “underexposed,” compared with men, as senior executives talk through promotion possibilities. While putting one woman on the promotion slate will not change the discussion, focusing on metrics will. And though most companies are loath to consider quotas, they’re far from the only way to introduce a hard edge to the ongoing talent dialogue. 6 For more on the role of senior leaders in catalyzing change, see Joanna Barsh, Josephine Mogelof, and Caroline Webb, “How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results,” mckinseyquarterly.com, October 2008; and Carolyn B. Aiken and Scott P. Keller, “The CEO’s role in leading transformation,” mckinseyquarterly.com, February 2007.
  • 8. 8 Pitney Bowes, for example, focused on the front end. For a number of years, every list of candidates for promotion there had to include 35 per- cent women and 15 percent minorities, equal to their representation in the workforce at the time. Harvey chose this approach because “he felt that white men had been disproportionately advantaged and had gotten complacent,” Torsone explains. Shell focused on outcomes, setting a long-term target for women at the top: currently, 20 percent of the company’s senior executives world- wide. So far, women hold just over 15 percent of those positions, up from 10 percent in 2005. The company includes an assessment of progress against this target in all senior executives’ reviews and presents the over- all results in its annual report. At Time Warner, chief diversity officer Lisa Quiroz explains that each division is required to have a succession plan and a robust promo- tion slate for its top layers of management. The CEO and the HR chief review the plans and slates every year for diversity, among other cri- teria. This review also includes specific discussions about how individual women are being prepared for their next role, including rotation among the company’s divisions and between staff and line roles. For more than a decade, a noticeable part of each divisional CEO’s bonus has depended on meeting the company’s expectations for diversity. Will men raise concerns? Maybe. They did early on at Pitney Bowes, despite support for diversity from the top. “George [Harvey],” Torsone explains, “brought challenge and passion to the focus, but it felt alien- ating to the men. That was not the intention, and so it had to evolve. When I came in, we broadened our efforts to upgrade talent devel- opment, making it better for everyone. We still see resistance from men occasionally, but the overall culture changed, and those attitudes are really disappearing.” Any top-down talent review process conducted primarily by senior men can unintentionally reinforce the status quo. Bottom-up survey data can help shake things up.
  • 9. 9 And what about women? Shell’s Montana says her response to fears from women that they’re getting jobs just because of their gender is, “Get over it. I’ve never seen a selection panel pick somebody on the basis of, ‘She’s not really qualified, but we need a female in this job.’ It just doesn’t happen. We’re running a business, and we’re not taking undue risks. It’s never going to be a risk-free exercise. But neither is it for the rest of the population.” Use data to create transparency and challenge entrenched mind-sets Most companies collect some data on diversity. Yet few track the results in enough detail to help executives gain a real understanding of what’s going on in their own departments or business units and how their mind-sets may be contributing. Furthermore, many compa- nies track data only at the executive level, not down to the front line. They therefore have no idea what their pipeline really looks like, let alone how to improve it. PepsiCo, by contrast, tracks the progress of women at all levels and shares the results throughout its talent review processes. As a result, the full pipeline of female talent—not just the senior ranks, which are much harder to influence rapidly—is highly visible. When the findings are impossible to overlook, leaders can use them to make the invisible mind-sets visible and then manage these mind- sets to remove their influence. Pitney Bowes carefully rates and scores each division’s diversity plan and, like Time Warner, includes in its bonus decisions an executive’s success in promoting diversity. Further- more, Torsone says, from the time this process was started, during the 1980s, the CEO “would talk about it at every operating and manage- ment review.” Of course, any top-down talent review process conducted primarily by senior men can unintentionally reinforce the status quo. Bottom-up survey data can help shake things up, however. Each year, Shell asks all employees to answer a survey with 61 questions, ranging from how they like working at the company to whether they feel able to speak up freely. The company uses the results from five of these questions to measure the inclusiveness of the work culture and how it changes year to year. Shell also analyzes the responses of groups such as men and women, different nationalities, and different tenures to see whether their experiences diverge. One way the company uses the results is to measure the effectiveness of supervisors in creating an environment where everyone feels engaged
  • 10. 10 and able to excel. The results flag outliers: parts of the organization where everyone can thrive and those areas where some or all employees feel stymied (those are addressed by specific follow-up plans). Over the years, Shell has seen the gap between men’s and women’s experiences shrink—a positive trend. There’s still the question of whether gender- based attitudes influence responses to surveys like these. In our experi- ence and in Shell’s, though, they are much better than nothing. Rethink genuine sponsorship for women For men and women alike, effective sponsors can make careers through ongoing, in-the-moment support. Sometimes that means supporting women in stretch roles. In the words of a female executive at a financial- services firm, “The head of the business offered me a big promotion that entailed a move, but then he said, ‘We’re going to make 100 percent sure that you don’t fail. We have your back, so take this promotion.’ He called the executive who would become my new boss to extract that commitment, and that made it a lot easier for me to take on this scary, big step.” At other times, the best thing a sponsor can do is offer tough love. Shell’s Montana says she has “held some people back from the next level until they had more of an operational PL role. I felt that if they didn’t have it, at least in a reasonably early time in their career, it would hold them back once they had the opportunity for more senior levels.” Clear as the benefits are, so are the challenges of sponsorship for women: many male executives feel more comfortable sponsoring men or simply don’t know how to be effective sponsors for women. Take one common kind of sponsor we’ve met in dozens of workshops—the “relentless coach” who pushes the sponsoree to the breaking point. While many men recall this grueling experience with gratitude and even affection for the sponsor, it doesn’t work well for many women, espe- cially those who carry the burden of responsibility at home in addition to their work. Another valuable, but often controversial, kind of sponsor is what we call the “devil’s advocate.” We all value being chal- lenged to make our work better, but many women find that constant questioning drains their confidence and energy. With self-awareness and training, sponsors can learn to adapt their styles to the individ- ual and situation at hand. Effective sponsors are deeply, personally engaged, down to the level of small details, whose importance adds up. Time Warner’s Quiroz describes true sponsorship as “someone being planful about what you
  • 11. 11 do, who you’re exposed to, what development programs you go to, who you have lunch with, whether you’re getting feedback or being assigned a coach.” At her company, leaders work hard to make women’s careers “intentional.” One key: making sure that sponsorees attend Time Warner women’s leadership programs, where participants interact with top management and learn to overcome their own limiting mind-sets and behavior. So far, among the more than 300 leaders who have attended Time Warner’s program for senior women, 22 percent have been pro- moted, compared with only 11.8 percent of all women at a similar level in the company. We hope you draw inspiration from these examples. If you’re ready to start challenging the broadly held mind-sets holding women back in your organization, first become conscious of your own beliefs and how they affect your behavior and decisions. Then, as you help your company move forward, remain vigilant: every time a senior exec- utive leaves or enters an organization, its culture can—and does—shift. It is up to the senior team to help new executives become active participants in this journey and to make regular efforts to inject the energy that the organization as a whole will need to change its mind about women. The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Heather Sumner to the research behind this article. Joanna Barsh is a director in McKinsey’s New York office, and Lareina Yee is a principal in the San Francisco office. Copyright © 2011 McKinsey Company. All rights reserved. We welcome your comments on this article. Please send them to quarterly_comments@mckinsey.com.