I know I have been lucky all my life even when times have been challenging (both personally and professionally) – and to be honest I believe the key to having ‘luck’ is believing in yourself and trusting that wherever you are, you are lucky to be alive. Sometimes in today’s world where ‘constant disruption’ is the most consistent aspect of our lives, many people feel unlucky. I feel enormously lucky to be a mature capable business woman in a world that needs ‘wise women’ at the top… and where men in business and in life…and in politics… are looking for a solution to a problem that has passed its sell-by-date!
At the Post Bureaucratic Network Conference Monday 21st February, the talk was about how we all deal with ‘constant disruption’ as the core nature of our problems and how we needed to build solutions based on transparency, technology and decentralization from the keynote speaker, David Cameron. Maybe so, I pondered on who deals with ‘constant disruption’ best and so the lucky ones in this moment in time.
Women are naturally brilliant at managing ‘constant disruption’ and all of those issues quoted above. Women only have to enter the realm of motherhood/parenthood to know that – to be running several roles at once, to have dependents in your life from elderly parents to sick or disabled family members, and hold a business role or run their own affairs – to know about how to manage ‘constant disruption’! And this is not to say men can’t do this some of the time; however it’s not so natural biologically for men who function best when focused on one task at a time. Men are essential to operational excellence and great when managing risk or certainty, and reducing collateral damage from the recessional fall out, however men generally don’t take the major dependency roles in the ‘home service arena’.
Once again it occurs to me that although men and women are designed to run this world together, this simple fact does not appear to speed up the changes we need. We want more women at the top but aren’t prepared to change the baseline rules and the language and behaviour that many male boardrooms exhibit. This is not about men at fault but about understanding that as well as the needs of the market we need to value the needs of women alongside men who have been in charge over 200 years, it is their natural default position. We moan about the numbers of women and quote ‘quotas’ from Norway and soon Spain and France. We keep on about the ‘glass ceiling’; yet we don’t think about a new script. Women and men together can change the plan – but this needs to be a conversation together. We could change the numbers and the quality of women in business easily if we redraw the script and build a new stage for the corporate world. The play might perform better and gain more applause from the audience. In many women-run business the evidence is already of more success and more longevity.
We need to go back to the drawing board if we are serious about changing main stream business at the top and right through. With a few simple changes in perspective, we can create, together, a desirable sustainable future where I hope we appreciate how lucky we all are to be the resources we naturally are.
Do we believe this yet? NO. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation … and I would be happily out of a role! We would already have the ‘right’ numbers of women at the top and in politics. We would have adapted the blueprint of business to encompass such things as multi-roles, dependency, maternity, parenthood, sickness and so much more that women are usually the prime owners.
I believe that we still have not entered the real conversation at the heart of our ‘troubles’ in a way that men listento women and women hear men. The core question is how do men and women truly share this world, what responsibilities come naturally and which are necessities we co-own? What needs are central to men and differently central to women – and what does business require to serve all for sustainable growth and healthy living for all in our society.
Is that a ‘pie in the sky’ idealistic view? Maybe, but I don’t apologize for this. I have too many magical conversations across so many sectors now that I know change is afoot and luck is on its way – if we look to notice it!
I believe we can co-create a great world where business and life co-exist and profit both social needs and material requirements. We can observe that when people value their own personal well-being and have healthy relationships, they work better, their brains function faster and when working well together as a community, they produce more innovative and successful results.
”Love and meaning” are freely available on this menu and so we are lucky as (if we choose) we can alter the course of our world, and each choose to utilize our natural value to its full – or to die. Sounds drastic but I see too many people in major businesses who are tired of the corporate stories, unsure of what their next step is, feel doomed to years of misery, men and women jaded with the lack of luck – or so they believe. Yet it is sitting right there inside them.
Was I born lucky? YES I chose a family who laughed, lived, loved and last a long time together. My mother is a lively 92, a wise and intelligent woman; my father (the wisest man I knew) died at 91 – I have a large family, brothers and sister, nephews and nieces, and my own two fabulous children. I am also very lucky to be blessed with an enjoyable motherhood period (past now), a long ex marriage, and now grand motherhood where my wisdom can give to and learn from a new generation who see the world afresh! Between my many roles (several in business and several in life), I observe my luck and am grateful daily for my path which is often challenged by ‘constant disruption’. I aim to do more, give back more, laugh more! I have an instinctive courage to keep going even when told I am being too optimistic!
As Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry said “do you feel lucky?” well I do – how about you? What choices will you notice, what luck will you take, it’s all around you – just take a look.