Lessons Learned from the C (Courage) Suite

LEssonsLearnedAs a professional crush-hunter, always on the prowl for new thinking, I must confess my latest crushes are two women CEOs.

We can learn a lot from Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Ellevate Network Chair, Sallie Krawcheck.  Both women demonstrate some real reasons how women can and are changing the face of business in what I call the C-Suite: The Courage Suite

Lesson 1: Conventional Leadership Really is Dead. 

Yeah this is so 2014?!  After my viral post on bad leadership last year, we agreed that there are ton of duds and KIAs (Know-It-All's) out there.

Here's a KIA/know-it-all kind of approach to turning around a company.  "Let's reduce the workforce in half."

In the book released yesterday on Mayer's turnaround, Marissa throws out conventional leadership tactics often taken in tough times to reduce workforce to cut costs.  She bravely defended a bottoms up "get fit" approach.  Mayer taught her board, employees and investors to go long by getting deeply involved in talent management looking at how she could tune her workforce to be better performers.  Smart move.  Most would have slaughtered the lot and then spent a fortune to gain talent back.  Marissa knew better to invest in her greatest assets instead of dumping them.  Marissa also did simple things like roll up her sleeves and got engaged. (Imagine if all our CEOs and leaders got engaged. Maybe we'd have a workforce that cared?)

Speaking of getting engaged...

Lesson 2:  Investing Drives Growth.

In Sallie Krawcheck's interview with our friends at BizWomen, she throws down the gauntlet and speaks a language we all need: abundance not scarcity.

Sallie says it's time to create the right business and political climate for women. The Wall Street executive has always been bullish on women saying that it's time we invest in them!  Her mantra? Get women engaged, drive diversity in our companies and see our GDP grow.  Krawcheck also advocates to drive a new kind of culture for women advocating the US should go for paid maternity leave.  I couldn't agree more.  A GenXer myself, I've never seen adults work harder than my peers who are all raising kids now and caring for elderly parents.  I'd go a step further and advocate paternity leave.   If we want to see growth, we need to invest in ourselves, our future and be abundant in our thinking.

What do Mayer and Krawcheck have in common in their thinking?

Have courage and invest 'in the long'

Too often people see the short term effects of decisions.  "How much will this cost?" "We need to show immediate results."  Both women know sustainable long term growth and real results come a relentless focus, courage during uncertain times and plain old fashion "roll up the sleeves and get it done"

Feed yourself and you tell me what you think.  Check out the Yahoo book and Sallie's women's network, Ellevate.  Join Sallie and I and other members of Ellevate on January 20 for a public jam session on finding your professional mission.   Register here.

 Who are some of your professional crushes flexing their C-suite muscles?  I'd love to hear your stories.

Individual photos taken from Wikipedia.

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