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Karuna Gopal


Karuna Gopal – Women As Leaders



Photo Credit - www.usa.edu




A few years ago in a UK daily, I came across a statement made by the Prime Minister of UK. It read like this: “Businesses need to create better working conditions for women or the UK will miss its economic targets for the next decade”. What a powerful statement implying that the economy of UK will experience a dip if it doesn’t capitalize on the capabilities of its women!

In the last five years most Management journals have been publishing articles by experts who share a common view point that “Women ways of managing are more appropriate in this Millennium”. Globally, in the corporate world today, hiring women is being increasingly seen as a bottom-line issue related to corporate success.

So, why are we getting this special attention? Why is it that organizations are becoming more passionate about mainstreaming women? Why is it that “Diversity Managemen” in the corporate world has graduated from a mere fashion statement to a passionate commitment? Why are countries looking at women as bankable assets that can drive their economies?

Probably, a peek into our very own ways of working does give some answers:

While most academic brains are busy analyzing our leadership styles and theorizing about what makes us tick - is it ‘Transformational style of leadership as opposed to Transactional style’ et al - we, on the other hand are busy leveraging the proximity of our head and heart. As far as we are concerned, the heart and head live on the same street. They car pool, play and work together. We engage them in an Aikido dance. We certainly don’t believe in ring fencing their activities! ooh la la pardon experts.. 

Management gurus including Tom Peters announced to the world that intuitive, irrational feminine ways are proving to be useful in driving organizations today. Well, we do take logic on a tizzy, toss it around, ruin its shape, redefine the contours and voila we have fuzzy logic - logic that lost it’s rigidity but logic that actually works!

Ask Marketing experts about Salami style of selling and of course the biggest beneficiary, the Aviation sector about Fuzzy Logic. Our style has practical value not only in the business world but also in saving lives. Business leaders across the world would certainly agree with me that when technology intensive CRM & Business Intelligence software let us down, intuition comes to our rescue. So does women style! 

If the silver tongued salesman turned Marketing Expert Zig Zeigler said that “U & I are in BUSINESS - U come before I do” to explain the importance of customers, haven’t women been doing it always?? Somehow getting a view from the other side of the fence has always appealed to us and the urge to get into the other person’s shoes had historically been our weakness. If organizations are deploying DARN formula – Discover Apologize Rectify & Novate to delight customers, hasn’t DARNing been our favourite pass time for centuries?

Women are useful not only as product designers but even as product users. Who I pray fills most feedback forms with meticulous care? Products get refined; get customized to user requirements only when companies get a feedback. We complain, therefore we improve! Ask Oracle about its product’s increasing reliability and robustness or leading airlines in the world whose service quality improvement is attributable to complaining customers – mostly women. Very soon, Lead User Processes in IT and other industries with a strong innovation drive will hire women to creatively Comment, Critique and Crib. I predict. 

Geneticists can stick to their triple X super woman formula. With sheer guts and gumption we’re silently coding our very own DNA - Design Navigate and Accomplish our goals. We never fail to surprise the world with our uncanny ability to trigger extraordinary dopamine levels - a mere change in our hair color can do that and folks by the same measure, no Firewalls of any stamina can prevent women from penetrating the success corridors! 

2,500 years ago Socrates said “If women are made equal to men, they will overtake them in no time” .. Sorry sir, there is no race here. We are working room, in the Board room. We are practicing Business dance together. Sometimes men lead and sometimes we do. We love our makeup – mental, genetic and facial. We want to be different and compellingly useful to our economies. Right now, we resemble a brilliant software with a winning loop program. We deliberately destroyed the User Manual – we wish to remain mysterious, sought after and well, we keep the strings with us, for sure, always!



 

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