Collaborative Leadership: Now is the time to move from measurement to action!

07 of June 2019
Camellia Ilie-Cardoza

It is proven with data over many decades that, to generate sustainable societies, we need to have more women involved in the economies of their families, communities and countries, generating value through quality jobs or their ventures. 

Half of the population are women, and taking them out of economies is like flying a jet with a single engine: Not only is it inefficient, but, after a certain time, it can be disastrous.

Measuring the gaps has added value, because it has raised awareness about the seriousness of the problem and the impact for all of the inequality. Thanks to the measurement of the gaps Initiatives have begun to be taken that have produced certain advances in some areas, such as health or education.

However, the measurement of the gaps also has important limitations, because it has been focusing on symptoms, on the one hand, and has not achieved a design of comprehensive solutions with an impact on the economies of families or countries, on the other hand. So much so, that the economic gap is greater than ever: It will take 202 years for it to close completely. 

As medicine shows, a drug that solves a symptom can hide the real disease. If drugs are used to reduce symptoms, we let the disease progress silently, and when it shows up strongly, it may be too late to fight it.

Important advances have also been made to raise awareness about the unconscious bias of people, what they call experts, such as Herminia Ibarra, from INSEAD, "Second generation bias". But Neuroscience has shown that we all have biases and these are part of who we are as human beings: a mixture of genetics, education and experiences that determine a particular way of thinking.

Changing people's beliefs is a long and difficult road. In recent years, it has even been proven that gender policies have counterproductive effects on organizational cultures, generating greater conflicts and tensions, as well as rejection and strong reactions. Instead of collaborating more, we face more.

What then is the path to change? To a deep, lasting change, from respect for the essence of Being and people's beliefs?
The Theory of Broken Windows, applied successfully during the 80s in conflictive environments, has shown that the change in the environment produces natural changes in the behaviors of the people who inhabit it.

Transferring this learning to the current context, we believe that a change in the context in which we live at the family level, in which we work or coexist as a society, can help us to naturally change the behavior of all human beings that inhabit it towards a natural inclusion of all its members.

For that, instead of striving to change behaviors through discourses and policies that enforce equality -which may unconsciously feel like threats- our proposal is to change the design of policies, practices or organizational structures, to generate collaborative environments where men and women can exploit their potential and fulfill their dreams.

En of the book What works, Professor Iris Bohnet, Dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard University - with whom I had the honor of sharing a very interesting conversation a few weeks ago - gives multiple examples of these types of inclusive models. The designs of work teams, recruitment processes, pay, incentive or development policies they are the ones that are going to produce these profound changes that so many decades of measurement and diagnosis have failed to achieve.

In other words, it's time to move from measurement to action with a radical change of perspective.

Our Euro-American Conference on Collaborative Leadership seeks precisely this: to share with you practices that have worked, success stories and models that can produce the impact and social progress we need to have sustainable countries, organizations and families. It is the only way to leave our children countries where they have better opportunities.

Follow via streaming the IV edition of the Euro-American Conference on Collaborative Leadership

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