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Recognizing Women With The Right Stuff

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." – Henry Ford

The movie “The Right Stuff” in short, is about the Mercury astronauts, the dangers they faced, frustrations they experienced, their personal stories, their teamwork and the nation’s technological innovation. Since then there’ve been women inside and outside of NASA with the right stuff as well.

At the time of this writing, “NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are conducting the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. The spacewalk officially began at 7:38 a.m. ET and will last for about five or six hours. The spacewalk officially began when the batteries in their spacesuits activated. Then, they exited the airlock,” (1) they’ve demonstrated they have the right stuff.

Ann Sarnoff recognized for having the right stuff recently became the first woman CEO of Warner Bros; she’ll be overseeing their worldwide operations as well as the production, marketing, and distribution of film, television, and interactive entertainment. Sarnoff says, “I accept this position excited by the opportunity to work with the most accomplished executives and teams in media, and confident about carrying this incredible heritage forward with them.”

In recent years more women are being recognized for their strong leadership abilities; it's not that this is something new, its receiving the recognition for what’s always been there that’s new.

I think of my mom choosing to raise four boys and manage to work at the same time. Raising children, keeping the home in order juggling schedules budgeting for the purchasing of everything from children’s clothes, household supplies to groceries, makes her daily routine an exercise in leadership and administrative abilities.

My mom was recognized later in life for earning her master’s in psychology in her sixties, using her degree to help people, heading the education program in her church as well as helping with the administration for their building project, she had the right stuff.

More Women with the Right Stuff

Consider Maria Barra (General Motors), Gail Koziara Bouderaux (Anthem Inc.),Ginni Rometty (IBM), Marillyn Hewson (Lockheed Martin), Corrie Barry (Best Buy), Safra A. Catz (Oracle Corporation), Phebe Novakovic (General Dynamics), Tricia Griffith (Progressive Corporation), all appear in the top 100 of the 2019 Fortune 500 rankings, twenty-five other women-led companies appear on the list. (2)

Men and Women with the Right Stuff are More Effective Together

"Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability." – Patrick Lencioni

We’re entering an era of men and women with the right stuff together at the helm of some of the largest organizations in the world today. I’m glad that the women with the right stuff overcame the adversity to be recognized for the value they add to society.

Those at the Yale School of Management say, “Women face unique challenges in the workplace, but they also add unique value and perspective. They shatter group think, improve communications dynamics, and reinvigorate companies in ways that make them more competitive. Research shows companies with a critical mass of top-team gender diversity enjoy significantly better financial performance.” (3)

By having more men and women collaborating in executive positions, we’re ensuring that the next generation of leaders will have a better understanding of genuine equality and a more balanced approach to leadership.

Barbara Annis and Richard Nesbitt write, “We see an expanding realization on the part of men—in pockets all over the globe—that sharing leadership with women produces superior performance in organizations. Virtually every financial study conducted since the 1980's on the financial performance of companies that have women on their boards and their executive teams have proven it to be true!” (4)

The Advantage of Men and Woman Collaborating at the Top

Companies with the right stuff realize the powerful synergy of men and women working side by side bringing their best selves to the table. Using our differences to our advantage is a win for men, women, their organizations, and society.

The simple science behind Men and women using their differences to successfully lead side by side:

Women Feel while Men Use Logic.

  • Men take a more fact-based approach to their environment, often scanning for threats and challenges.

  • Women tend to take a more intuitive approach because they perceive people and events more deeply and with greater memory capacity.

We Problem-Solve Differently.

  • Men tend to converge in their thinking. They define and clarify the problem and begin by eliminating and isolating issues.

  • Women often will define the problem in broader terms and examine a wider array of potential factors before going into solution mode.

  • This is why women want to talk out problems and men want to dive right into solving them. (5)

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

1. The first all-female spacewalk is underway by Ashley Strickland

2. Wikipedia list of Women CEOs of the Fortune 500

3. Yale School of Management Women’s Leadership Program

4. Results at the Top by Barbara Annis and Richard Nesbitt

5. 6 Fascinating Gender Differences Between Men and Women in the Workplace

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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