specialized corporate experience as well as The corporate problem is that the pool of from their valuable experience in the public qualified women candidates as currently sector. Another valuable contribution that perceived, is inadequate. Thus, two things many women directors can make is to enmust happen: the visible pool of candidates hance the morale and the productivity of must be enlarged, and expectations of them women in their companies, not only by must be clarified.
their presence on the board as role models Role models: examMaking a contract but by communicating actively with them ples to be imitated.
The area of board responsibility has and thus understanding and addressing the been vastly expanded. A greater range special needs and problems women face.
of experience and an infinitely broader Moreover, on the horizon is an enormous perspective are needed today than in the role that women can perform on boards by past. The sine qua non for directorship can Sine qua non: an helping to analyze and seek solutions to the no longer be chief executive experience or essential element, problems of the two-career family. The the equivalent. It must now be the highest condition that cannot forward-looking chairman has this in mind level of intelligence and motivation. There be done without.
in recruiting new directors for his board.
is no shortage of either among women.
One positive aspect of women's presence However, the chairman's expectations of in the boardroom is that their desire to learn the new director must be realistic, clearly and their position as representatives of a analyzed and defined, and well communinew phenomenon have allowed them to ask cated to her. She, in turn, must agree to questions more freely than men, whose accept the responsibility to fulfill those history of participation has led to the asexpectations.
sumption that they are more knowledgeable about matters discussed and issues raised than they necessarily are.
41 For both men and women, the move all, is today a highly permeable one. Just Permeable: that can from a functional position to the position of as a degree of regulation by government be passed through.
director entails a shift from a primary con- and the voices demanding greater ac- cern with management to a primary con- countability are growing, so the corporation cern with policy. Many outside male direc- recognizes that it must be increasingly contors also face a necessary transition in Transition: gradual or cerned with the environment in which it perspective. formal change. functions and with the human as well as the consumer needs of the people.
On the way up the corporate ladder, when the needed expertise and perspective It is true that conditions are changing in are both in place, the signals are clear. No many ways, but it should be remembered Polarized: concenconflict about the nature of the function one that most directors, of both sexes, are over trated around two is paid to perform occurs. But when the 50 years old. They grew up in a highly opposite or contrasting transition is made from staff to board, the polarized society. Women learned that the positions (here, conwoman needs guidance and encouragement traditional role of women was to maintain trasting ideas about from the chairman. the home and to work, often as volunteers, the roles of men and in efforts to improve the community. The women).
I would not argue that less should be majority of men were socialized quite dif- Socialized: adapted to expected from women or that they should ferently so that they would perform the the needs or requireseek special concessions as women. Concessions: somefunction of ensuring the financial well- ments of society, esI would urge, however, that if the contribu- thing admitted, granbeing of their families. pecially as one grows tion of some women is what has been tradi- ted, or allowed espeup.
tionally viewed as a “female” contribution cially after discussion (e.g., in the areas of corporate social re- or a difference of This difference is reflected in the career sponsibility), the chairman should applaud opinion. development of most of even the outstandher for it – and encourage her to applaud Applaud: express ingly successful women of the generation herself for that contribution. approval of. now in their fifties. It is reflected in the If, however, the contribution of some careers of women now on corporate boards:
women is what has been traditionally 25 % are in education and 22 % are in govviewed as a male contribution, they should ernment, law, and the nonprofit sector.
be equally applauded. In short, the chal- Women are thus uniquely positioned to lenge of the chairman is to ignore gender perform this function, not because they are and encourage all the strengths women women, but rather because they are joining have to emerge and express themselves in boards now at a particular time. “They are,” the boardroom. as Fletcher Byrom, chairman of Koppers, says, “a group whose time has come.” The challenge for women By serving as a bridge between the cor- The wall surrounding the corporate poration and the community and having an community, if it can be claimed to exist at understanding of the one within the context 43 of the other, women can bring new per- A company's ability to be responsive to spectives and responses to the role of the social change is no longer solely a matter corporation and the conduct of business. of corporate conscience. The effectiveness of a corporation in coping with external The Catalyst* program factors and society's needs affects how it is In its nonprofit role, Catalyst is expanperceived by its key constituencies (i.e., by Constituencies:
ding its concern with women directors its customers, employees, and investors) groups having a spethrough a program designed to help women and how well it can implement its corporate cial interest and power bring new insights to corporate boards.
strategies over time. Social change is no (direct or indirect) The Catalyst Women Directors' Prolonger a matter merely for charitable atten- over someone.
gram, for which Revlon, Inc. has provided tion but has become a factor that can influ- funding, will help business be more responence a company's growth and even sursive to the changing needs-of society by:
vival. The Women Directors' Program, in • Raising awareness about emerging society acting as a channel of communication beissues that may affect the business commutween corporate leaders and leaders in nity.
other fields, serves corporate society both • Serving as a channel of communication by helping it to anticipate emerging social between corporate leaders and those who issues and by enhancing the special contriare leaders in thought and action on these bution that women directors individually issues.
and as a group can make to the boards on • Providing a forum for sharing knowledge Forum: occasion or which they serve.
about these issues. place for exchange of Selecting women candidates Network: here, an in• Acting as a sounding board for govern- views or knowledge.
Identifying and choosing women for formal organization of ment and business. Sounding board (or corporate directorships is difficult. Al- like-minded persons The program will, in this its second year, sound board): a means though there are approximately 3,500 (for example, women) invite corporate, government, academic, fi- for causing an opinion women whose achievement and/or level of who help each other nancial, and international leaders to partici- or plan to be widely employment might qualify them for con- advance in status or pate in a series of symposia, each focusing heard.
sideration as directors, the vast majority are position; “old boy neton a topic of crucial significance to the cor- Symposia (plural of unknown to most corporate leaders. In ad- work” refers to the inporate world. Some examples include long- symposium): conferdition, the network through which they formal organization of term inflation, increased government regu- ences for discussion of might be reached – the “new women's” men who have long lation, the aging population, and the energy a subject.
equivalent to the “old boy” network – has been in the same kind shortage and their effects on business.
not yet been widely established. of business, think alike, and do favors for each other, especially getting * Catalyst, of which Ms. Schwartz is founder and president, is a national nonprofit better pay and position organization that promotes the productive utilization of women in corporations and the for each other.
45 The Catalyst Corporate Board Resource Dossiers: collections In the former connection, one of the (CBR), which is chaired by Coy G. Eklund, of various papers for a most delightful comments I have heard is president and chief executive officer of specific purpose, es- from Alice F. Emerson, who said:
Equitable Life Assurance, whose own pecially for showing “I didn't realize how strange I looked to the board includes four women, represents an and describing the other directors until a second woman was attempt to organize just such a network qualifications of a added and sat across from me at the table.” along rational, objective lines. Catalyst has candidate for a job.
researched and identified a comprehensive Cross-indexed: reTEXT national collection of accomplished women ferred from one part of Why I am Not A Manager who are potential candidates for corporate a file to another. In boards. CBR currently contains the dos- this case, you could Here's what you get: pressure from above and resentment from siers of 837 of the most outstanding look up female candibelow. Who needs it women in the country, dossiers cross- dates by geographic By Robert J. Samuelson indexed by geography and field. location or field of work.
IN 1997, REPORTS THE LABOR DEPARTMENT, THERE In a sense, CBR was launched before its Were 18 million executives, managers and administrators in the United time, insofar as the supply of well-known, States. I am not one of them. I have never “managed” anyone or anyaccomplished women was sufficient to Accomplished:
thing. No one works for me or is supervised by me. This is the way it's meet the early, limited demand. However, skilled, well trained.
always been and almost certainly, will always be. At various employers, in the years ahead, it is likely that the no one has ever hinted that I deserved greater power and responsibility.
movement to recruit women directors will Perish the thought.
All this may explain why I have a certain grudging respect for Currently 365 corporations, including managers. I am obviously unfit to do whatever it is they do. They seem every one of the top ten, have added to relish responsibility, while I dread it. They have, or feign, confiwomen directors. Of the corporations, dence, while I shudder at putting a subject and verb in every sentence.
2 have four, 5 have three, and 50 (including What also baffles me is why people want to be managers. Granted, 1 of the top 10) have two.
some rewards aie tempting: power, money, status and (possibly) the respect of co-workers. But the drawbacks seem as plain: resentment It has become difficult to think of a board from below, pressure from above: loud criticism of failures; silence without women. Two factors will further Expedite: speed up over successes. No thanks.
expedite the process of assimilation: the progress of; help Now, “manager” is a marvelously elastic tide. It covers a lot of 1. The disappearance of the novelty along; assist; facilitate.
ground, from exalted CEOs (chief executive officers) to plant managers of having a woman on the board. Assimilation: absorpto school principals – to produce managers at supermarkets. Almost half 2. The recognition of the contribution tion, integration, beof all managers now (44 percent) are women, says the Labor Departwomen can make, with the clarification and coming a part of anment. In 1997, it counted 711,000 marketing and advertising managers, realization of the incentive to recruit other group.
535,000 building and real-estate managers, 108,000 personnel managwomen that I mentioned earlier.
47 ers. But along the spectrum of pay and power, many managers face two “Profit Patterns” reminds us that some companies have clobbered contradictory demands. others in head-to-head competition. In 1989, both Apple Computerand First, they're supposed to get results – to maximize profits, im- Microsoft had stock-market capitalizations (the value of all their shares) prove test scores or whatever. Everyone must “perform” these days and of about $4 billion. By 1998. Apple was still worth about $4 billion, be “accountable” (which means being fired, demoted or chewed out if while Microsoft had zoomed to $220 billion. But Microsoft benefited as the desired results aren't forthcoming). much from the blunders of rivals as from its own efforts. IBM let MiSecond, they've got to motivate or manipulate their workers. crosoft keep the licensing rights for the original PC operating software.
Gone is the era when machines determined how most work was done. Big mistake. And Apple didn't license coproduction of its computers;
Jobs today are looser. They require initiative or allow leeway. If work- this stymied sales and software development.
ers do poorly, the organization suffers. So managers have to command Companies should spot how’the strstegic landscape is changing’, and coddle. They're supposed to be sensitive to workers' problems and says the book. This is a bit abstract. Microsoft's real lesson is simpler:
“feelings.” They should be nice and not nasty. Petty tyrants are disap- pray for dumb competitors. If IBM and Apple had been smarter, Bill proved. Gates might be a nobody.
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