Boys Need Us to Help Free Them from the Tyranny of Gender Norms, Too

Originally posted on

When we talk about gender rights or gender equality, we invariably focus on girls and women. And that makes sense. It’s the female sex that for too long had been held back, denied even the most basic rights and opportunities, and constricted within a far smaller sphere than historically has been available to boys and men.

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10 Power Women Brands

Southbank Centre

[Originally posted on]

As I get ready to travel to Istanbul to talk about women and their future—very bright—for the Turkish Ad Age Women to Watch event sponsored by MediaCat, and as I notice more and more conversation around the women whose personal brands keep trending, I have tried to devise a list of those I must keep studying. In compiling this group below (listed alphabetically) through my selectively objective lens, I have admittedly missed tens of tens of those moving mountains when it comes to gender equality. Continue Reading →

Corporate Branding Digest, Dec. 16, 2014

Hearing Every Voice in the Room
(The New York Times, 06.12.14)

How IBM brings ideas forward from its teams.

The Mantle of Leadership Is Passing to Millennials—Get Ready
(Forbes, 12.11.14)

There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the workforce. Further, 50% of those Millennials are already in leadership positions. Unfortunately they’re not ready. They have not received the training and development they need; and especially have not received the experience-based learning they need to develop the leadership skills that are most important in the world they are creating. It’s time for the Baby Boomers to stop fretting about managing Millennials and to focus on developing those Millennials’ leadership skills.

Leadership Lessons from the Most Successful Football Coaches of All Time
(Entrepreneur, 23.10.14)

These days, you’re more likely to find me in a conference room with an iPad than on the field in football pads, but I’ve played and watched enough football to know that you never reach legendary status without winning beliefs.

What It Takes to Manage Diverse Groups
(Fast Company, 22.10.14)

Research tells us diversity enables teams to work at full potential. The differences in gender, race, generation, culture, education, values, and economic background all play a hand at digging up different angles, examining not-so-obvious details, and constructive conversation surrounding the task at hand.

“Changing a corporate culture is a five-year effort.” —Lyle Heidemann

Corporate Branding Digest, Sept. 3, 2014

Is Effective Leadership Simply a Matter of Combining the Gender Stereotypes?
(Fast Company, 21.08.14)

Grounded leaders are able to do away with traditional leadership stereotypes based in gender roles.

How the Internet of Things Changes Business Models
(Harvard Business Review, 29.07.14)

As the Internet of Things (IoT) spreads, the implications for business model innovation are huge. Filling out well-known frameworks and streamlining established business models won’t be enough. To take advantage of new, cloud-based opportunities, today’s companies will need to fundamentally rethink their orthodoxies about value creation and value capture.

The Blossoming Relationship Between Marketing and Engagement in the New Customer Journey
(Forbes, 28.07.14)

It’s clear to those of us who live at the intersection of technology and customer relationships that customers have radically changed the way they interact with brands. Traditional CRM tools are no longer sufficient because it’s not about managing customer relationships anymore—it’s about creating and optimizing engagement across a vast range of digital touchpoints.

7 Things Well-Liked People Always Do
(Inc., 27.06.14)

They like you, they really like you! Or do they? Likeability can make you a better manager and leader. And you’ll like being more likeable.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” —Steve Jobs

Corporate Branding Digest, Aug. 13, 2014

Comcast’s PR Nightmare Can Befall Midsized Companies: Your Company Could Be Next
(Forbes, 19.07.14)

Midsized company CEOs enjoying growth should be warned by Comcast’s PR nightmare over its horrendous customer service. They could be next. Midsized companies are particularly vulnerable to such operational meltdowns since they often lack resources, lack operational experience, and often have a sales culture that values growth over resilient, top quality operations that can absorb inevitable surprises.

How 6 Countries Compare on Executive Gender Balance
(Harvard Business Review, 18.07.14)

All countries are not equal—in gender as in much else. Our Annual Country Scorecards show how national culture and legislation impacts companies’ progress on gender balance. Where many European and North American companies have been on a slow but steady gender-balancing journey, big business in much of Asia is (at best) only just waking up to the issue. Here is a short travelogue of corporate gender balancing across a few key countries, based on data from the top 20 Fortune Global 500 companies in each one.

4 Ways to Get a Group Moving Productively
(Inc., 26.06.14)

It’s hard enough to get one person going, but moving a group presents exponential challenges. Here Inc. columnists share how to get them rolling.

8 Important Lessons from the World’s Most Successful People
(The Muse, 31.03.14)

Do you ever wish you could have Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg on speed dial whenever you came upon a difficult time in your career? While this might not be physically possible, there are tons of lessons that you can easily pick up from those who have been successful.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead

Corporate Branding Digest, July 18, 2014

Leadership Crisis: HR Executives Identify Leadership Development as Top Priority for 2014
(Bulldog Reporter, 18.07.14)

Leadership development is the number one priority for human resources leaders globally, according to “Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance,” a survey by Right Management, a career and talent management division of ManpowerGroup. Among the more than 2,200 senior HR leaders globally who participated in the survey, 46 percent identified leadership development as the top priority for 2014. At the same time, only 13 percent have confidence in the strength of their leadership pipelines to fill critical openings.

Pave Your Own Path, Play to Win: Top Advice for Women Leaders
(Forbes, 26.06.14)

What does it take to close the gender gap and get more women into the senior roles? Plenty! Of course there is a long list of things that need to change before we see as many women sitting at the senior decision making as we do men. Needless to say, closing the gender gap has become an increasingly more accepted business imperative for many companies today.

Leadership, Accountability and the D-Day Letter Ike Never Sent
(Entrepreneur, 04.06.14)

Late on June 5, 1944, on the eve of the Allied invasion of Normandy, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had a lot to ponder. He had given the order for nine divisions of American and British troops to cross the English Channel and land on the beaches of Normandy. It was the largest invasion ever attempted, and obviously a huge risk. Succeed, and the Allies would have a foothold in Europe and could march to Berlin. Fail, and the Germans would have a secure western front for years and could turn their attention on holding back the Russians.

Great Leaders Build a Culture of Courage in a Climate of Fear
(Forbes, 25.03.14)

Fear has always been a potent human emotion. Whether in a society or a corporation, fear can spread like wildfire and sabotage the brightest minds, the biggest organizations and the most robust economies. Which is why, in today’s competitive, accelerated and uncertain marketplace, creating a “culture of courage” that emboldens employees to rise above their fears is vital to creating and sustaining competitive advantage. With the latest Gallup figures categorizing over half of the workforce as disengaged, and nearly one in five workers as “actively disengaged,” organizations need leaders who not only engage employees, but move them to think more daringly, to take smarter risks, and to challenge the very assumptions that may have undermined their success to date.

“You have to be very nimble and very open-minded. Your success is going to be very dependent on how you adapt.” —Jeremy Stoppelman

Corporate Branding Digest, June 13, 2014

3 Priorities for Leaders Who Want to Go Beyond Command and Control
(Bloomberg, 28.05.14)

It’s cliché to say that “command and control” leadership is no longer relevant in most organizational contexts. But—especially in large, global, diverse organizations—what should it be replaced with? Leaders increasingly need to model traits that reflect the values and culture of the organization in which they operate. It’s nearly impossible to capture all those traits—every organization will have a different set of norms and customs. But there are at least a few essential leadership traits that we find common in many firms today.

Leadership Lessons from the Trenches of Silicon Valley
(Entrepreneur, 28.05.14)

There’s nothing more worthless than a perfunctory board or executive meeting where everyone just goes through the motions and no strategic decisions are made. Over the years, I swear there were times when I thought my head would explode from sheer boredom.

The Freakonomics Authors’ New Approach to Creative, Productive Thinking
(Fast Company, 12.05.14)

The phenomenally successful Freakonomics platform—two bestselling books, a blog, a No. 1 podcast, a radio show, and a consulting business—was built on the principle of looking at the world through the filter of economic theory.

Act Now to Shrink the Confidence Gap
(Forbes, 26.04.14)

There’s been distressed chatter about the gender confidence gap ever since journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman began promoting their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know. I like to see studies that show how women are thinking and acting in comparison to men. Sometimes it’s easy for us to assume that others are holding us back and there’s nothing we can do. Sometimes they are, but instead of blaming others, I believe we can make more progress by arming ourselves with good information and using it to improve our aim for success.

“As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.” —Indra Nooyi

Corporate Branding Digest, June 5, 2014

The Innovation Strategies that Lead to Success (Infographic)
(Inc., 29.05.14)

Most companies acknowledge that innovation is vital to achieving success, yet more than half of businesses don’t have any innovation strategies in place. The reality is that there are some true roadblocks—like resource and budget constraints—which get in the way of focused innovation efforts. However there are other factors, such as strong and visionary leadership, that can foster innovation within a business.

5 Ways to Avoid Miscommunication with Your Employees
(Entrepreneur, 21.05.14)

It’s official. Employee engagement is the new black. I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about it lately, as have others. The very notion of how leaders and employees engage has slowly morphed away from “companies have to do this because employees want it” to “companies have to do this even though employees don’t trust it 100 percent.” I’m not saying employees don’t seek engagement; I’m simply saying many have reasons to doubt corporate engagement programs as they stand today. We are still in a process of finding what really works.

4 C’s of Enlightened Leadership
(Forbes, 22.04.14)

The other day I talked to a CEO of a successful startup about key ingredients for success. We agreed that leadership is the most important component of building a thriving business. But we found that there is a difference between an average leader and a self-aware or enlightened leader. So then the question arose: what are the key characteristics of an enlightened leader? Below is my take. What’s yours?

Closing the Gender Divide: Why Confidence and Leaning in Alone Won’t Cut It
(Fast Company, 04.03.14)

Research shows that women tend to underestimate their worth, even when they perform better than their male counterparts. But cultivating confidence is just one small part of the fix.

“It’s not the facts and figures. It’s not the left brain. It is the stories you tell to communicate the vision that you’re trying to get the organization to rally around.” —Meg Whitman

Corporate Branding Digest, March 17, 2014

Gender Parity Is a Leadership Issue
(Bloomberg Businessweek, 07.03.14)

If acknowledging a problem is the first step toward finding a solution, the events commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8 at least show that global business leaders are working toward greater gender parity in both the C-suite and the boardroom. To date, more than 670 business leaders have signed the CEO Statement of support for the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles.

3 Powerful (and Ethical) Leadership Lessons from ‘House of Cards’
(Inc., 05.03.14)

“House of Cards” has been called power-trip porn—and with good reason. Its main character, Frank Underwood, is the king of two-faced trickery. He’ll give you a vigorous greeting with one hand and stab you in the back with the other. Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is the guy who will somehow convince anyone to do anything, no matter the cost. And perhaps that is why he reminds so many people of the worst PR professionals they’ve ever known.

How to Find the Millennials Who Will Lead Your Company
(Forbes, 02.03.14)

Their days are jam-packed but their doors are open. Here’s how four leaders of our Most Innovative Companies value their employees like family.

7 Ways to Run Your Business Like a Successful NFL Team
(Work, 03.01.14)

If you’re a fan of football, then you can appreciate the comparison of sports and business. After all, teams are companies, and the most successful among them have unique corporate cultures and passionate customer bases that allow them to succeed even during tough times. Take the New Orleans Saints, who are once again in the National Football League (NFL) playoffs this year following an 11-5 regular season record. How did they build this culture?

“The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” —James Cash Penney