Nowadays, leaders want rapid and effective results but using the same mindset. This means that the results are really fragmented and with a very low impact on the clients and the organization. Cultural Transformation by Leaders is possible?
When I refer to the same mindset is just pushing the results instead of creating and promoting a new environment where there is a different sense of purpose and a new way of collective performance towards better results.
The beginning of each year is a time where leaders have to be open-minded in order to rethink how they lead their teams, what lessons learned were in place and what new opportunities arise in the horizon.
Creating an agile culture means developing three main focus that are very important for the client and the expected outcomes.
1. The first focus is related to having a sense of direction for the organisation.
Having a sense of direction means getting clarity and alignment about what the client needs and the organization priorities. Leaders can lose a sense of direction by adding too many priorities dispersing the focus toward the client.
Leaders have to demonstrate a new level of excellence with creative ideas of how to exceed client´s expectations from the beginning till the end.
Design thinking is a very useful approach because it develops and promotes critical thinking skills within the teams and the clients so that there is a significant improvement in the product and service as well as the picture of the success of the organization.
2. The second focus is related to getting a sense of connection between the middle-level managers, their teams with the clients.
Having a sense of connection requires creating and developing new habits of execution among different teams in an environment of mutual support and collaboration.
For this second focus is necessary to implement a cultural transformation project at the strategic and middle management level so that an environment of cross-functional accountability gets in place and allows the breaking of silos, eliminating waste of time, rework and conflicts among the different functions and concentrate the work toward the needs of the client.
On the other hand, Agile helps concentrate on the achievement of the milestone of the client’s needs in a very rapid and consistent way especially at the middle manager level and their cross-functional team.
The sprint review and the team retrospective are scrum artefacts that, if done in a consistent and effective way, develop a set of two excellent habits of execution that accelerates the course of the project.
3. The third focus has to deal with the sense of continuity.
The organization has to create the conditions for sustaining the results and develop a productive cycle each year. In order to be consistent, the leader must execute certain key factors such as
1. Updating their picture of success and client’s expectation in a periodic way.
2. Measure and prioritise all habits of execution.
3. Eliminate major barriers that can interfere with the continuous improvement of execution and team interactions. In this case, the theory of restrictions can work as an excellent approach .
4. Lastly, the leaders have to develop competencies and new habits for creating self-development teams in a constant way and recognize their efforts.
There is no doubt: The Climate Movement took off thanks to NGOs and Activists, leaving the academia full of critics for inaction, excess of ego and pointless debates. Despite the failure of academia on calling to action for climate change, or even promoting a meaningful change, this time every intervention needs to be supported.
A letter signed by more than 100 economists published in the Guardian outlines how the “carbon economy” amplifies racial, social and economic inequities, and lays out a strategy for improving this situation. “From deep-rooted racism to the Covid-19 pandemic, from extreme inequality to ecological collapse, our world is facing dire and deeply interconnected emergencies.
But as much as the present moment painfully underscores the weaknesses of our economic system, it also gives us the rare opportunity to reimagine it. As we seek to rebuild our world, we can and must end the carbon economy,” they write.
The effects on Climate Change have been more deadly all around the world, this “exposes the hard reality of climate change”. It adds:
“Experts argue that every country must fundamentally rethink how it prepares for similar disasters as the effects of global warming accelerate.”
They call on:
1. Governments must actively phase out the fossil fuel industry.
2. Institutions of financial power must end their fossil fuel investments and funding.
3. People must build political power to advocate for a fairer economic system.
4. Policymakers to recognize the role that meaningful climate action has to play in rebuilding our world – to recognize that a healthy economy and society require a healthy planet.
This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you. Lessons from Indigenous to resist the crisis.
If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.
When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.
There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand — the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning.
You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.
This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.
This is what is asked of you: Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals.
What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do, serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day. Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and love.
Learn about the resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven’t stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time. You do not help at all being sad and without energy.
You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world. You need to be well and strong.
And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.
White Eagle, Hopi indigenous: Lessons from Indigenous to resist the crisis
White Eagle is the name given to the wise teacher and philosopher who guided the
formation of the White Eagle Lodge. The name White Eagle in the Native American
tradition is symbolic and means a spiritual teacher.
The white eagle soars far into the heavens above the emotions and turmoils of the earth and sees things from a different perspective.
No true spiritual teacher ever makes claims about themselves – they come in simplicity and humility.
Coursera, the popular platform of online education, just released the Global Skills 2020 Index (GSI). The index compares the mastery of skills in ten industries and eleven areas of study in 60 countries worldwide, turning Switzerland, Finland and Austria the Cutting Edge Global Skills learners in the world. Tech vs Mindfulness, where should you invest your time and money?
The GSI aims to develop a timely study of the changes that occurred in virtual learning from the consequences generated by the global pandemic. It states that the recovery in a post-pandemic world will rely on broad reskilling.
The report displays global rankings that were developed in core skills in business, technology, and data science. It shows that Switzerland, Finland, Austria, and Russia were the most consistent in the top five countries in the three ranking categories.
By contrast, countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Pakistan, and Nigeria are among the most lagging in essential skills in business, technology, and data science.
Top five innovative countries in essential skills
5. United Arab Emirates
In addition to this global ranking of essential skills, the report highlighted the following key ideas:
1. Countries with higher skill proficiencies are also those with higher labour force participation rates. A country’s skill proficiency across domains is positively correlated (56%), with the fraction of its working-age population active in its labour force. (Secondary data: World Bank)
2.Countries with equal internet access rates are also those of higher skill proficiencies. There is a significant and positive correlation (65%) between a country’s skill proficiency across domains and the percentage of its population using the internet. (Secondary data: World Bank).
3. The with more highly skilled talent, especially in technology skills, see higher stock returns and less disruption from COVID-19. The correlation between an industry’s skill proficiency and its stock performance in the United States in one year was 43% across all the domains of skills and 39% in the fields of technology. (Secondary data: Fidelity)
4. Of the 200 million higher education students whose studies were interrupted by COVID-19, 80% are located in countries with emerging or lagging skills. 80 % of the students enrolled in tertiary education are in countries that have closed schools due to COVID-19 and are listed in the bottom half of the world rankings for business, technology, and data science skills. (Secondary data: UNESCO)
Beyond Hard Skills.
In contrast, the same report shows that the demand for personal development skills such as confidence, stress management, and mindfulness has grown by 1200% among individual learners. People are turning to courses like Yale University’s Science of Well-Being to mitigate mental and emotional distress caused by the pandemic.
I know, there is a looooonngg and passionate discussion on how important humanities will become the most relevant field of study when the AI starts coding and engineering better than humans,
We should be teaching our toddlers how to code, build robots and develop apps.
However, we will save that conversation for another post. Right now, When we talk about job satisfaction, the same countries rank different, according to the Global Employee Engagement Index.
2. South-America: Chile (7.8/10), Perú (7.6 / 10), Brazil (7.6 / 10), Argentina (7.5 / 10)
3. Europe: Romania (7.9 / 10), Austria (7.7 / 10), Swtizerland (7.4 / 10), Turkey (7.4 / 10)
4. Africa: Nigeria (7.7 / 10), Kenya (7.4 / 10), South Africa (7.3 / 10)
5. Asia: India (7.9 / 10), Thailand (7.6 / 10), Indonesia (7.4 / 10).
Several surveys of across the world acknowledge the imperative of pack the workforce with more than hard skills. Even some employers identify lack of soft skills as the area where young job-seekers have the largest deficiency, with growing evidence that non-cognitive or soft skills are important for a range of life outcomes.
As a result, a growing number of youth programs have incorporated a soft skills training component – examples include the entra 21 program in 18 Latin American countries, or the Jordan NOW program.
But how do we measure what soft skills youth have? Let us share with you 5 tools that can help you out:
1. The World Bank STEP skills measurement exercise employs such an approach in multiple countries, measuring personality traits, grit, and behavior skills.
At The Global School for Social Leaders, we use a great tool called “Purpose-Driven Leader Self-Assessment”, a holistic approach on personal leadership and impact beyond work or professional purpose, it´s more about what really balance your life-purpose as a leader.
Roberto A. Arrucha
I work with Purpose-Driven Organizations & Entrepreneurs in 3 main challenges: 1. Powerful & Meaningful Communication, 2. Income Generation & Marketing, 3. Holistic Leadership.
Innovation requires bringing people and ideas together. But sometimes the way we communicate about our work can get in the way of collaboration. Systems Change Explained:
Eilidh is 13-year-old burgeoning expert in systems change. Just ask her.
“A system is anything organized for a purpose—kind of like my school,” she said. “And a systems map is a visual of how things are connected and work together. We can use it to understand and improve that set of things, which can improve people’s lives.”
“A system is anything organized for a purpose—kind of like my school.”
Full disclosure: Eilidh didn’t develop this definition completely by herself. She and her classmates spent about an hour last week working with 60 leaders in innovation—listening, learning and asking questions about the value of innovative tools like systems mapping. Systems Change Explained
The occasion was the “Building Innovation Into Social Impact Work” convening in Rome. Sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation, the convening brought together 60 leaders in innovation to discuss innovation tools, how they can be applied and how they need to be refined.
The tools under discussion—systems mapping, horizon scanning, scenario planning, social innovation labs, and others—hold the powerful potential to help us look at problems in new ways and identify opportunities for innovation. They can also sound a little intimidating.
That can have real consequences for our ability to create impact. The backbone of innovation is collaboration: To find innovative solutions, we need to bring people and ideas together, often in unexpected ways.
To change systems, we have to work with governments, the private sector, and academia. If we want to collaborate productively with these partners, we have to communicate clearly about the innovative process.
“The backbone of innovation is collaboration: To find innovative solutions, we need to bring people and ideas together, often in unexpected ways.”
So one of our first tasks in Rome was to explain how innovation tools work—using plain language. As a thought exercise, the workshop facilitators asked us how we would explain each tool to an adolescent. A moment later, Eilidh and her classmates walked in, and we realized they meant the exercise quite literally.
We split up into diverse teams that included philanthropists, government donors, social entrepreneurs, engineers, designers—and children like Eilidh. Our team volunteered to explain the idea of systems mapping and Systems Change Explained.
As we began to describe what a system is, Eilidh quickly compared it to the way her school works. Using that analogy, the abstract idea of systems maps became much more concrete. We discussed the people who influence her “system”—parents, teachers, principals, and other students.
She talked about the issues within the system that she’d like to address—physical activity time, school day length, and the curriculum. And we mapped out her school “system” on a whiteboard, noting how different elements of the school affect each other and where someone would have to start if they wanted to change it.
While the language we use to describe tools like systems mapping can be complex, the ideas were straightforward for Eilidh. For example, she called out the parts of the system that were sensitive to others—more physical education time could mean less English instruction.
She noted the parts of the system that were rigid—her International Baccalaureate program is highly structured and puts constraints on the rest of the curriculum.
And she noted the power dynamics between actors. “Parents have power because we’re their kids. The teachers have power because we’re their students,” she said. “But students don’t have much of a say.”
Other experts at the workshop faced the task of crafting adolescent-friendly descriptions of similarly daunting tools—rapid prototyping, design thinking, accelerators, and incubators. Most found that the exercise wasn’t just child’s play. It helped us communicate with each other more clearly—and that’s the first step to collaboration.
When we shared lessons learned, a few actionable ideas rose to the top:
1. Break abstract ideas down into actions. It’s often easier to understand a tool if we describe how it works, rather than what it is. We believe innovation is deliberate practice, so it follows that we should articulate the actions that make up that practice.
Use concrete examples. Most social innovation tools are forged through experience—iteration, collaboration, and revision. So we shouldn’t hesitate to use specific examples to help bring their value to life.
2. Beware of double meanings & assumptions. The terms we use to describe tools can have different meanings to people from different backgrounds. A “system map” can have slightly different qualities to a designer than it does to a social entrepreneur.
When collaborating with partners, we shouldn’t assume that everyone embraces the same definition of key ideas.
3. After the exercise, Eilidh and her classmates went back to school (for their teacher’s sake, we hope none were too inspired to “disrupt systems” right away). But they helped us realize an important lesson: collaboration and clear communication go hand in hand—and we have to be deliberate about both.
Kippy Joseph, former Associated Director at Rockefeller Foundation
“Because mindsets and paradigms guide behaviors, changing them can have a profound impact… People who manage to intervene in systems at the level of paradigm hit a leverage point that totally transform systems.” — Donna Meadows, lead author, Limits to Growth²
1. Beyond GDP: Towards SDGs and Wellbeing.
While development efforts showcase success stories, such as the decrease in the number of people living in extreme poverty, the current paradigm is unable to fully explain successes and failures of development interventions. As we increasingly live beyond our planetary boundaries, inequality and mental health issues have been rising, and happiness and wellbeing remain elusive for many around the world.
Furthermore, given the number of crises — from climate change to COVID19 — alongside the ambitious nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is an urgent need to investigate the effectiveness of the 20th-century human development paradigm for the 21st century.
While the current human development approach shifted the development focus from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to a somewhat broader perspective some 30 years ago, we have not made major progress since to truly advance human development in a holistic manner.
Calls for a more holistic human development paradigm are supported by the Beyond GDP movement as well as other wellbeing initiatives around the world,³ and the need has also been recognized by the United Nations’ General Assembly (resolution 65/309: Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development, 2011). Global mindsets are very similar to paradigms in that they are the source of manifesting systems. As Achim Steiner, UNDP’s Administrator stated:
“We are now on the verge of shifting into an economic paradigm that is not about communism or capitalism; it is about recalibrating equity and sustainability into a development paradigm.” ⁴
2. Key Questions
Based on the need to rethink human development, the following key questions come to mind:
How can we shift towards a holistic development mindset that advances physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing?
Are we willing to leapfrog to an enlightened paradigm that recognizes and develops humans as multi-dimensional beings?
How to harmoniously advance the wellbeing of both people and the planet?
We protect and develop what we cherish, what we feel part of and connected with. Therefore, how can we nurture three essential connections: with our inner being, our communities and Mother Nature? The opportunity to create a new paradigm for the 21st century comes from combining current science with timeless wisdom. Could the root causes and transformative power of human development be within us?
3. Inspiration from Bhutan
Some countries have not fallen into the trap of blindly pursuing GDP and materialistic growth. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) awarded Bhutan with a Special Award of Recognition for holistically advancing human development in 2019.⁵ Bhutan famously declared Gross National Happiness (GNH) to be more important than GDP.
GNH is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which is based on 9 pillars that balance material and non-material values.
It is noteworthy that GNH is not to be confused with a shallow understanding of fleeting happiness. Rather, GNH is a multi-dimensional approach which some argue is more holistic than the SDGs, given that it also entails dimensions such as psychological wellbeing, time use, community vitality, amongst others. The COVID19 crisis has amplified the importance of mental health.
Even before the crisis began, a staggering 800,000 people die due to suicide every year globally.⁶
Furthermore, Bhutan is heralded as a global example of a carbon-negative country that lives in harmony with nature. It is a biodiversity hotspot and is often seen as a leader in sustainable tourism. Its strong emphasis on health and protecting communities is seen as a success factor and has allowed the country to notably handle the COVID19 crisis.
It is evident that Bhutan’s enlightened development approach and leadership has led to extraordinary poverty reduction while protecting the environment.⁷
“Our generation is called upon to rethink, to redefine the true purpose of growth and, in doing so, to find a growth that is truly sustainable.
We must never forget that, for lasting peace and happiness in this world, the journey forward has to be one that we must all make together… It all starts with leadership of the self”.⁸— His Majesty the 5th King of Bhutan, 2011
4. The Blind Spot: Mindsets
The strong focus of development assistance on external factors and measurable progress has left aside an understanding of internal factors and potential hidden root causes. Internal factors such as mindsets can play a transformative role in people’s, nations’ and humanity’s development journey.
While there has been researching on behavioural insights, self-empowerment, personal development, leadership and transformation in some specialized fields such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and neuroscience, there has been no — or minimal — direct connections made to human development approaches. There is indeed a significant knowledge gap on inner dimensions, which are more difficult to measure — such as people’s mindsets.
These ‘soft’ inner factors have, so far, not been well considered in the field of human development, in contrast to ‘hard’ indicators such as income levels, life expectancy and years of education.
This underscores the need for a new holistic approach that takes the interaction between internal and external factors into account, for development to be transformative and advance sustainable wellbeing for people and planet. As Nobel peace prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus illuminates: “Unless we change our mind we cannot change the world.” ⁹
5. The Key Role of Mindsets
Mindsets are the invisible leverage point to be included in a new 21st-century human development paradigm. Mindsets are made up of our deep beliefs, attitudes and values; they frame our thinking and therefore determine our behaviour, life experiences and journey.
They influence how people lead their lives, how they vote, what personal, educational and professional opportunities they pursue, and what they make out of crises, challenges and opportunities. Even national policies and global development goals spring off national and global mindsets.
For example, during the COVID19 crisis, we can perceive staying at home as being forced into lock-down or consider it as voluntarily protecting our vulnerable elderly. Mindsets are not, of course, a panacea and external factors should not be negated altogether.
However, by acknowledging the role of inner dimensions, foremost mindsets, we emphasize the agency that people have in realizing their true human potential. History is full of change-makers and social leaders who have overcome and changed their external circumstances and structures and therefore written history.
6. Need for a Global Mindset Shift: Holistic Development for Planetary Wellbeing.
It is widely accepted that the SDGs cannot be achieved by business as usual. For behaviour and actions to be different, they require a new way of thinking, a new mindset and a sense of urgency for transformational change. The urgency to shift towards a development paradigm that finally translates the ‘beyond-GDP’ aspiration into a wellbeing and sustainability mindset with its corresponding concept and measurements are increasing.¹⁰
In systems thinking and leadership, shifting mindsets is considered the highest leverage point to change a system, even higher than policies and goals. Shifting the global mindset towards a wellbeing economy can be inspired by examples from Bhutan, Costa Rica and New Zealand, amongst others.
This indeed also reflects the call by UN Deputy Secretary-General for a “New paradigm shift to replace the traditional sustainable development approach to realize the 2030 Agenda”.¹¹
7. Suggestions for Mindset Shifts.
While we are largely unaware of mindsets due to their intangible nature, mindsets can be changed. Pressing issues such as greed, violence and discrimination also start in our mind, and in the minds and hearts are the keys to transformational development.
Six mindset shifting suggestions:
1. Sustainable transformation happens from the inside out. 2. Mindsets matter. They play an important role in human development at the individual, collective and global level. 3. Mindsets can be shifted by increasing awareness, fostering self-reflection and self-responsibility. 3. Solutions need to be co-created which requires a mindset shift of development practitioners themselves. 4. Current development approaches are too materialistic; therefore they need to move beyond overly focusing on GDP and economic development. 5. A new holistic development paradigm should include inner, collective and planetary wellbeing.
While the above-mentioned points indicate the important role of mindsets, there is a blind spot in the academic and development literature. This calls for further research exploring the role that mindsets play in human development, towards sustainability, transformation and wellbeing for people and planet.
About the Author:
Jürgen Nagler is the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Bhutan. He has over 20 years’ experience in successfully delivering global, regional and field projects with the UNDP, UN Global Compact, international NGOs and private sector.
He joined the United Nations after a 10-year career with international companies and founding an international grassroots NGO. He completed first-class Bachelors in Business Administration (Germany) and Masters in International Development (Australia).
Jürgen has a passion for transformative development towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is researching the role of mindsets for holistic human development, in a personal capacity. Jürgen can be contacted at jjnagler[at]gmail.com.
This article was originally published for the International Science Council and UNDP’s Human Development Report Office global experts’ call for new perspectives on human development.
Forthcoming Study on Mindsets
If you would like to receive a free copy of a mindsets study, which will be published in 2021, please register at www.wellbeingmindset.org.
Addendum: Wellbeing Mindset
What is a wellbeing mindset? Following the publication of this article, I’ve developed the following working definition, feedback welcome: “A wellbeing mindset means the whole of attitudes, believes and values of a person or group of people that fosters wellbeing. Wellbeing of a person, group of people, the whole of humanity, other sentient beings such as animals, and/or planet Earth.”
1. Attributed to multiple wisdom teachers, foremost the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. See a similar translation for the Buddha at Easwaran, Eknath (2007), “The Dhammapada: Classics of Indian Spirituality.”
2. Meadows, Donella (1999). “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.”
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For the first time in history, a major political party in the United States has several women who have declared their candidacy to be their party’s presidential nominee. But TV pundits have been questioning whether, despite the progress indicated by the huge influx of women elected into Congress last fall, the U.S. is ever going to elect a woman to the country’s highest leadership position.
This is baffling to us, especially in light of what we see in our corporate research. In two articles from 2012 we discussed findings from our analysis of 360-degree reviews that women in leadership positions were perceived as being every bit as effective as men. In fact, while the differences were not huge, women scored at a statistically significantly higher level than men on the vast majority of leadership competencies we measured.
We recently updated that research, again looking at our database of 360-degree reviews in which we ask individuals to rate each leaders’ effectiveness overall and to judge how strong they are on specific competencies, and had similar findings: that women in leadership positions are perceived just as — if not more — competent as their male counterparts.
Still, the disturbing fact is that the percentage of women in senior leadership roles in businesses has remained relatively steady since we conducted our original research. Only 4.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 2% of S&P 500 CEOs are women. And those numbers are declining globally.
There are of course many factors that contribute to this dearth of women at senior levels. For centuries, there have been broad, cultural biases against women and stereotypes die slowly. People have long believed that many women elect not to aspire to the highest ranks of the organization and take themselves out of the running (though recent research disputes that). Lots of research has shown that unconscious bias places a significant role in hiring and promotion decisions, which also contributes to the lower number of women in key positions.
Our current data presents even more compelling evidence that this bias is incorrect and unwarranted. Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.
As you can see in the chart below, women were rated as excelling in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. In fact, they were thought to be more effective in 84% of the competencies that we most frequently measure.
According to our updated data, men were rated as being better on two capabilities —”develops strategic perspective” and “technical or professional expertise,” which were the same capabilities where they earned higher ratings in our original research as well.
Women are rated better than men on key leadership capabilities
According to an analysis of thousands of 360-degree reviews, women outscored men on 17 of the 19 capabilities that differentiate excellent leaders from average or poor ones.
Drives for results
Displays high integrity and honesty
Inspires and motivates others
Establishes stretch goals
Collaboration and teamwork
Connects to the outside world
Communicates powerfully and prolifically
Solves problems and analyzes issues
Technical or professional expertise
Develops strategic perspective
Note: The t-values of all data are statistically significant.
Interestingly, our data shows that when women are asked to assess themselves, they are not as generous in their ratings. In the last few years we created a self-assessment that measures, among other things, confidence. We’ve been collecting data since 2016 (from 3,876 men and 4,779 women so far) on levels of confidence leaders have in themselves over their careers and we saw some interesting trends.
When we compare confidence ratings for men and women, we see a large difference in those under 25. It’s highly probable that those women are far more competent than they think they are, while the male leaders are overconfident and assuming they are more competent than they are. At age 40, the confidence ratings merge. As people age their confidence generally increases; surprisingly, over the age of 60 we see male confidence decline, while female confidence increases.
According to our data, men gain just 8.5 percentile points in confidence from age 25 to their 60+ years. Women, on the other hand, gain 29 percentile points. One note: This is what we see in our data though we recognize that there are studies that come to different conclusions on whether women truly lack confidence at early stages in their career.
These findings dovetail with other research that shows women are less likely to apply for jobs unless they are confident they meet most of the listed qualifications. A man and woman with identical credentials, who both lack experience for a higher level position, come to different conclusions about being prepared for the promotion.
The man is more inclined to assume that he can learn what he’s missing, while in the new job. He says to himself, “I am close enough.” The woman is inclined to be more wary, and less willing to step up in that circumstance.
It’s possible that these lower levels of confidence at younger ages could motivate women to take more initiative, be more resilient, and to be more receptive to feedback from others, which in turn makes them more effective leaders in the long run.
We see a similar trend in women’s perceptions of their overall leadership effectiveness, with their rating rising as they get older. This data is from a study that includes 40,184 men and 22,600 women and measures the overall effectiveness rating of males and females on 49 unique behaviors that predict a leaders effectiveness.
Again, women at younger ages rate themselves significantly lower than men but their ratings climb — and eventually supersede those of men — as they get older.
This data continues to reinforce our observations from our previous research — women make highly competent leaders, according to those who work most closely with them — and what’s holding them back is not lack of capability but a dearth of opportunity. When given those opportunities, women are just as likely to succeed in higher level positions as men.
Keep in mind that our data is mostly perceptions of current and past behavior and performance. That’s different than a promotional decision that involves movement to a higher position and involves taking a bigger risk. If 96 out of 100 people currently serving in comparable positions are male, and you are making the decision about who to promote, and you have a highly qualified female and a highly qualified male, what are you inclined to do? It may seem safer to choose the man.
Leaders need to take a hard look at what gets in the way of promoting women in their organizations. Clearly, the unconscious bias that women don’t belong in senior level positions plays a big role. It’s imperative that organizations change the way they make hiring and promotion decisions and ensure that eligible women are given serious consideration.
Those making those decisions need to pause and ask, “Are we succumbing to unconscious bias? Are we automatically giving the nod to a man when there’s an equally competent woman?” And, as our data on confidence shows, there’s a need for organizations to give more encouragement to women. Leaders can assure them of their competence and encourage them to seek promotions earlier in their careers.
Is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy.
Es el presidente de Zenger / Folkman, una consultora de desarrollo de liderazgo.
In October 2019, following a landmark legal case, Mexico’s tax administration was forced to publish information on almost every case of tax rebate and cancellation issued from 2007 to 2015.The publication of this data, which included cases involving many of Mexico’s wealthiest and well-known personalities, sent shockwaves through Mexican society. Outraged citizens flooded social media with images of the ostentatious spending of tax-rebate recipients. The public outcry had swift results: later that month, in a sweeping move, the Mexican parliament passed a bill nullifying all tax rebates and cancellations going forward.
This process was a victory for transparency and accountability—and an example of how civil society can play an effective role in advancing an agenda of equality and inclusion.
The NGO Fundar, the key force behind the campaign to release the tax data, has been a longstanding advocate for increasing citizen access to information on public finances. Fundar was established following the Mexican peso crisis and economic recession of 1994-1995. As Fundar activists recall, at the time it was impossible for the public to tell with any degree of accuracy how much money was being collected and spent by the public sector.
Driven by a demand for greater transparency and participation, Fundar has spent the following decades serving as a bridge between society and the public sector, strengthening public desire for accountability and emphasizing the value of citizen engagement in fiscal oversight. With limited available resources, Fundar had to anticipate what they could do to make a telling difference, and decided to engage in strategic litigation to seek the publication of tax data.
Fundar’s victory in the legal case came at a fortuitous moment, given the changing political environment in Mexico. The new administration of President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (or AMLO, as he is popularlyknown) has made the fight against corruption as a political priority. Crucially, the definition of corruption has been expanded to encompass tax evasion, a shift that has been captured and formalized in new anti-corruption legislation. These concrete steps to address widespread corruption complement a broader vision of building popular support for fiscal reforms.
At just 13 percent, Mexico has the lowest tax-revenue-to-GDP ratio among all OECD countries. That figure will have to increase to allow for sustainable implementation of the government’s ambitious social spending agenda. However, the political scope for increasing tax revenues is limited. Upon entering office, Obrador’s government formulated a three-prong program:
No new taxes
No new debt
“Republican austerity of the state” (reduction of privileges associated with political power)
As a result, the only source of new revenue will come from clamping down on corruption, tax evasion, and individual tax privileges. The public outcry following the publication of the tax exemptions in October has bolstered the government’s case for focusing on this approach.
The disclosure of tax privileges was an NGO-led initiative, but it helped create widespread political support among Mexican citizens for the removal of unfair tax distortions. Fundar’s success shows how NGOs can prove to be valuable allies for governments that are pursuing inclusive, pro-social agendas. Another key lesson from Fundar’s work is the importance of messages that are both clear and vivid. The arresting images of the lavish lifestyles of the rebate recipients was more effective in changing public opinion than any dry text or decontextualized numbers could be.
Like the recent successful campaign to increase the minimum wage in Mexico, the removal of tax exemptions demonstrates the constructive overlap between a reformist government’s agenda and the complementary work of civil society actors. Fundar’s success at leveraging strategic litigation, public outreach, and the changing political environment provides another model for how civil society can play an effective role in winning future reforms—both in Mexico, and beyond.
I don’t want to simply dismiss Greta haters as a bunch of old white guys who taunt her “weird looking face with weird voice” like bullies on a playground.
There are also many serious environmental advocates who worry that Greta is simply projecting “anti” messages. That “resistance is futile.” That the strikes around the world, inspired by her, are wasted effort. That only direct change in “The System” matters.
In my career as an environmental activist at JUCCCE, I have decided very consciously not to protest anything. Not to strike. Not to be against people.
Only to provide solutions and align incentives, like a management consultant working with decision-makers. This has worked well for me in China. So to-date, I was both in admiration of Greta’s persistence and also not very engaged in participating in the strikes.
Today, as we head into UN Climate Action Week, I want to make a stronger stand to support Greta by helping people understand the deeper consequences of what she has activated in the world.
What people see as organizing “resistance,” I see as Greta tapping into her extraordinary inner strength to “draw strong boundaries.” She is holding her own to show that she does not subscribe to the current system, to the false hope of capitalism, to false practices that separate us from nature.
She is at once allowing these to exist, and at the same time creating an unbreakable container of her truth.
Her truth is her knowledge of the Earth we could be living on, and of the world, she wants to live in. This truth, like a jar full of fireflies, shines brightly and transparently. This brilliant light is what has attracted the attention of people around the world.
Some people see her as a “tool being used as a puppet” by billionaires. I see that her light has attracted a lot of unwelcome bugs, but that her truth jar is impenetrable from outside forces. I see a human whose belief in her essential nature has allowed her to say “NO” very clearly to these forces.
She is teaching us how to say “NO” while allowing these people to exist. Greta knows exactly what she is doing. We need not worry about her falling prey as a victim to corporates or bullies or puppeteers. Nor do we need to be her savior.
These people say she is not advocating for “real” change, but instead supporting light solutions that tweak, but do not transform the System. They say she is just a greenwasher.
But Greta is not responsible for our reality. Only you are responsible for your reality. Only I am responsible for creating my own reality. We are all culprits in creating this collective reality.
Greta is simply holding up a lighted magnifying mirror to our own faces, to trigger us into more action ourselves. Instead of asking “is Greta doing enough of the right thing?” let us ask ourselves “our we doing enough of the right thing?”
Some people see a child who is ungrateful for education, and they wish that she would have more respect for teachers. I see a human who is practicing the pinnacle of life education: teach learn, learn teach.
She has started a global conversation that children are now having as peers with adults, and that adults need to learn to have with children.
That’s why I love watching Greta and George Monbiot side-by-side, as child and elder, putting out a call for all of us to protect “the magic of trees”.
What some people see as a child, I see as an old soul who has tapped into the very nature of the Universe. She is a very grounded old soul who, despite her Aspergers, is anchored enough in her body to communicate and relate to regular human beings.
In fact, I surmise it is exactly due to her Aspergers that she is able to see more clearly than the majority of humans. Being on the spectrum has definitely allowed her to channel her tremendous energy in a focused manner.
If I were to have one wish for the continued rise of Greta, it would be to have all further dialogue with her in spaces of nature. Forests are her stadiums.
Animals are her cheerleaders. Oceans are her magic carpet. She needs to regenerate her strength from nature, and Nature draws strength from her.
Nature is the only protector she needs from negative forces. Earth is the conductor of her light. Let us continue to commune with Greta in nature.
The inner strength she has shown in holding space for all of us is magnificent. By activating herself, her truth, her light, she has enabled other humans around the world to activate each other.
More children will start to use platforms in this way and command their own space. At the end of the video “Nature Now,”
She ends with the most important lesson for all humans: that “Everything counts. What you do, counts.” She’s trying to get us to “wake up” to the fact that all humans matter. Young or old, humble or powerful, we can manifest the world we want.
By Peggy Liu with Chloe Hudson
Peggy Liu is an environmentalist. www.juccce.org, www.foodheroes.org
Chloe Hudson is an intuitive healer. www.worldpeaceprojects.global
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