“Women on Board” – who’s really blocking progress – men or women?

There is a huge gapping hole between past and future. Business still struggles to make sense of the changes required and the focus on “Women on Board” highlighted once more by Cameron through Lord Davies’ reporting on numbers of women rising to the top, yet again showing slow progress and many major organisations resisting the call.

Business is confused, and in many places, stagnant where women are concerned; while in some arenas, business thrusts ahead without substantial impact coming from women. Why still little change at the top, and at all levels? Why still no significant flood of females stepping into major numbers at the top and succession plans to the boardrooms of the UK?

I believe we are stuck because we still have the “same old ‘same old’ conversations” about the players and not the playing field. Specifically, I fear that that many women’s initiatives and achievements have alienated men and pushed them to a corner. My challenge to women is to keep on forging ahead with more positive success stories and prominent acts of female judgement and achievements; while remembering to include and educate men into meaningful (realistic and practical) conversations that create useful inclusive collaboration; and aiding the co-creation of a new blueprint for success and a language that feeds business performance (measured in service and profits) and society (measured in health and wellbeing).

While not wanting men or women to sacrifice any advantages gained over the last 6 decades, I truly do not see why women need lose touch with their emotional savvy, intellectual mastery and their loving female power in relationship energy. When this is mixed with a strong operational task focused male energy, the mix is more successful. “The future of business is emotion” says Patrick Dixon, Futurist. “We need masculine and feminine contributions to collaboration that ensure that the rise of women integrates with the best of men”.

I do not believe, as is often written, that women are the only salvation of the economic crisis – although I do know that women can bring huge value and highly intelligent commercial input to the economy with their ability to integrate emotional intelligence into monetary value, service and wealth. However I am concerned that this is not attained at any price that robs us of our female natural wisdom. If women can stand firm on all that is good for the heart and soul of business as well as minds and bodies, especially in an era where markets demands the best service. I believe this will fuel a passion for a more meaningful wide view of ‘wealth’ – that of authentic health and wellbeing, wide spread growth in family and community value, a ‘better life’ as well as a more sustainable economic environment for all.

However immediately we do need to see what is happening for MEN. They are not included in the conversation unless focused on women. What is happening for them? In a recent survey carried out by Corporate Heart earlier this year; some insights emerged;

Looking at the gap between what men think ‘most men’ agree on, and their own personal view, we uncover:

The “unspoken conversation” 83% see themselves as ‘relationship focused’ leaders rather than ‘tough guys’.

A desire for change 60% said they would like work to be different yet continue to work in the same old way.

Actions differ under pressure 50% on average, behave as “tough guys” yet hide their true emotions to get the job done!

These highlights and the comments and insights in the full report show us that men are shifting their views however not talking about it with other men. Possible shy of our PC world, men don’t know how that conversation should be structured. In working with groups of men now, we find a huge change in their mindsets occurs once the new blueprint is explored. It gives them a framework to see the whole picture as men and women integrate their talents at work together.

My intention is to support men and women – and in particular for women across the world to get talking WITH men (not against them) with a WISE mind set, a REALISTIC yet loving manner, an INCLUSIVE collaboration, AUTHENTIC female dialogue and PRACTICAL result. Vice versa, my current work is developing MEN so they can open up meaningful dialogue WITH women so that work-life is more successful for both sides.

Rather than playing the ‘male’ game of the last century and endangering our female species, I urge women to honour our collective gift of “soft power” and our diverse talents of service, collaboration, ingenuity, organisation, multi-tasking, innovation and entrepreneurial creativity.

My greatest fear is observing the growing changes over generations of women who are being moulded into hybrid models of ‘male behaviour’ unnaturally rather than using their natural masculine mindset appropriately alongside their feminine life perspective and female biological drivers. Women can be and are great business leaders and wealthy and yet still value their natural role as women who care, love and nurture our world, grow future generations, and be mindful of our environment and its future sustainability. Men are biologically primarily designed to be tough, warriors, competitors, providers; their natural testosterone drives that energy to go out, provide and hunt – and over the last century to build wealth in material form; they too seek to grow a world fit for their children and many want to nurture and grow into their family role in an equal role. However still many men don’t and aren’t necessarily as suited to stay home as women.

Can the two sides get together to forge a new conversation?

This is the conversation I desire to develop along with a new ‘gender dynamic’ blueprint where ‘building profit’ takes on a wider ‘wealth’ meaning aligned to emotional ‘life’ requirements. This is a conversation to forge a truly global collaboration that safeguards our threatened world; and to evolve a truly authentic socially responsible, sustainable future without losing the financial buoyancy we need to revive our economic stability.