I’ve been doing a lot of work lately on my own business psychology. Just like in our personal lives, if left neglected our business psychology can turn to business psychosis. I’ve been refocusing my business goals and strategy and cleaning up any dysfunctional client or vendor relationships. When I’m in this mode I usually turn to great thought leaders in business and in life, and I go in search of new ones. That’s when I discovered Jay Abraham.
I’m sure many of you will be shocked, but I had never heard of Abraham… there are so many business greats and so little time. I came across him on a copy editor Facebook group and went to his site. I (naively) found myself shocked. Look at his home page… do you see anything shocking? Perhaps you don’t, but I was dismayed that every single business leader lauding Abraham’s talents is a man. All but one were white men, so perhaps I should be pleased that there was a wee bit of diversity with Daymon John in there, but give me a break.
The reason it turned me off to such a degree is that there are tons of brilliant women thinkers in the business world. Here are just a few of them.
Donna Dubinsky. A key Apple employee in the early days, a big advocate and brain behind Palm’s success, with many more successes that helped transformed the digital word.
Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook CEO and Lean In author.
Mara Swan. Executive Vice President, Global Strategy & Talent, ManpowerGroup. Swan is executing a women’s leadership diversity push that is working and enthusiastically backed by both genders.
Inda Nooyi. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo.
Irene Rosenfeld. CEO of Mondelēz International
Jill Kronath. Sales Thought Leader, Speaker, Author
Virginia Rometty. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM
Ursula Burns. Chairman & CEO of Xerox
Meg Whitman. President & CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Oprah. I am sure that there is no need for a description.
Marissa Mayer. Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo! The amount of negative attention Mayer gets is unnerving, considering that she was brought into Yahoo! to do exactly what she has done. And people call Trump a business success after 4 bankruptcies.
Anne Sweeney. Former co-chair of Disney Media, President of the Disney–ABC Television Group, and the President of Disney Channel
Brene Brown. Scholar, Author, and Public Speaker
Susan Cain. Speaker and Author of the non-fiction book Quiet.
Kelly McGonigal. Health Psychologist and Ted Speaker
Elizabeth Gilbert. Author, Essayist, Biographer, and Novelist
Why It Matters to You If These Minds Are Ignored
I speak and write about diversity as part of my regular work life and life mission. The reason I chose it as one of my focuses is because I am a champion of fairness, but the reason people listen to me is because studies show that diversity makes businesses better. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez conducted his own research into diversity in the workplace and how far we still have to go. In his study Menedez sites a 2014 McKinsey report that researched hundreds of companies globally:
Companies in the top quartile of racial or ethnic diversity were 30% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median.
The diversity of gender, race etc. creates a more creative, less group-think culture. It creates a more engaged culture too.
If you distil it down it is this simple: diversity in business has positive ramifications on employee engagement, productivity, and in the end, the bottom line.
What Is the Next Step?
If we recognize that a lack of diversity in leadership positions throughout the business and thought leadership space is a fact. And if we recognize that we are doing our businesses a disservice by leaving women out, there is only one thing to do: stop doing it. But it won’t happen by simply making a general commitment to think about women leaders more often. It will only happen if we build this commitment into our daily and weekly business practices.
My own next steps are to learn more about the women on this list who I’m not familiar enough with. That includes subscribing to their blogs and email newsletters and reading some of the books they’ve written. Just keeping them in my thought leadership radar means that their way of thinking will seep into my work life. I am also intent on writing about the thought processes of women leaders while working in my professional capacity as a writer. I will recommend more women as keynote speakers and interview more women for the various series I am involved in. I will encourage all of my clients to do the same.
If just a percentage of business leaders read this post and decide to incorporate similar practices into their work life, they will be working in the interest of fairness, but even more to the point, they will be making their businesses stronger, more competitive, more creative, and more profitable.
If you’d like to receive updates for new posts please subscribe here: