A new report is released by McKinsey & Co about the lack of women in the top ranks of organisations, see the online article. In this article we read that women need more coaching and more offering of leadership training. An unanswered question is: do men also get this coaching and leadership training and is that why they reach to the top while women don’t?
What I see around me is that women seem to need coaching and training where men can do without. It can be a temporary solution to offer coaching and training in such a situation, but it is not sustainable because the question why women need more coaching and training to reach to the same level is left unanswered. All too often the source of the diversity problem is connected to the way women are (‘no ambition or planning’) or the life they live (‘because they have children’). Solving the problem then ends up with changing women’s lives and mindsets, something that was tried before and it clearly didn’t work.
The article also mentions another, more interesting line of thinking: “As part of its research, McKinsey also analyzed the makeup of executive committees at Fortune 200 companies and found women make up just 15% of the top management panels. These “women are doubly handicapped” because 62% occupy staff jobs “that rarely lead to a CEO role,” the study said. In contrast, the report found that 65% of men on the executive committee hold line jobs, which typically involve profit and loss responsibility for an operation.”
Coaching and training is nice, but risk taking is better. Perceptions connect risk taking more with men than women. Organisations must face implicit perceptions that influence nominations. Women must stop to accept the all too often offered safe road to staff jobs and ask for line jobs only. Forget about leadership training for women: women be the leader you want to be and focus your energy on risk taking responsabilities!