Tuesday, January 25, 2005

When It Comes To The Talent Of Women In Business, The Glass Is More Than Half-Full

In The Center For Women's Leadership

While corporations worry about how to keep women in their leadership pipelines, they might do well to take a cue from the women who are running businesses for answers. 

The 2003 Woman-Led Businesses in Massachusetts survey -- conducted by The Center for Women's Leadership at Babson College and The Commonwealth Institute -- of more than 250 women chief executives found a rich pool of leadership role models.  These women CEOs lead firms generating more than $7.5 billion in revenues across an array of industries; from high tech to apparel, from construction to office products, from professional services to manufacturing. 

A couple of highlights from the survey:

• Woman-led companies are growth oriented.
• Further, the focus on growth takes a long-term view. 
• To support that growth focus, woman-led businesses have built organizations that look a bit different. 
• The talent pipelines at these firms are full and succeed in advancing women.

• Women CEOs have been highly successful in weaving together their business careers and private lives.

√ Note: Companies questioning how to enhance the pool of women managers ready to take on senior management positions might do well to take a cue from women chief executives. A few suggestions are clear.  Focus on building collaborative value, seek consistent growth through customer focus, and be sure there are at least a few senior executives to model the ways in which women successfully lead.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A taste of freedom

In Arizona Republic Online

This article on 15 Afghan women visiting the Valley to study business makes you really appreciate the freedom we have here in the United States to pursue just about anything, including entrepreneurship.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A New Class of Global Entrepreneurs: Americans Under 50!

In Forbes.com

My goodness ... are we contradicting ourselves? Today, Forbes reported in an article, "Home Grown Seed Money," that most entrepreneurial activity is carried out by people aged 25-34! The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor released a survey that was conducted by Babson College and the London School of Business. The survey concludes:

• Most entrepreneurial activity is carried out by people aged 25-34 regardless of the income level of their home country. Low-income countries have the most entrepreneurial activity across all age groups, followed by high-income countries. Most people launching a business are already employed.

If you are thinking about starting a business, you might want to check out the article. It finishes up by stating that self-funding and informal investment fuels development of 99.9% of new businesses.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A New Breed of Entrepreneurs: Americans Over 50

In USAToday.com (1/18/05) and WSJ (3/18/04)

Interesting how it took USA Today ten months to catch up to the WSJ's article, "Over-50 Set Minds Its Own Business." In that article (link unavailable -- I am referring to a clip I saved), it claims that the over-50 set are switching the word retirement for entrepreneurship. What I mean by that is instead of retiring, people over 50 are hell-bent on starting their own businesses. Hurray! It goes on further to support that claim with research conducted for AARP, a Washington-based membership group of people age 50 and older, by Rand Corp., a think tank in Santa Monica, CA.

What's the upshot: People are "doing this (practicing and then engaging in entrepreneurship) as a transition to retirement, or they tend to be working longer than those who are in wage-and-salary jobs," said Lynn Karoly, a senior economist with Rand and co-author of the study.

Now USA Today indicates older workers are coming to entrepreneurship's rescue, chasing self-employment because of:

• Corporate layoffs. Boomers want the security of being their own bosses when corporations are slashing payrolls, tossing fiftysomethings into a dicey labor market.

• Shifting values. Older workers want more flexible schedules to spend time with aging parents or on hobbies while easing into retirement.

• Aging Americans. The number of Americans age 50 and up will soar by 31 million by 2020, to 118 million, the Census Bureau predicts.

• Innovative technology. Many start-ups by older entrepreneurs are one-person ventures in home offices with a dizzying array of technology that didn't exist or was too pricey 20 years ago.

• Business savvy. Many corporate workers, entering their 50s, leverage management skills and retirement benefits to invest in start-ups.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Stereotypical "Old White Guys" Still Serve On Most Corporate Boards

In The Idaho Statesman

An interesting article entitled, Albertsons leads the way for women, explains why there are not more women serving on corporate boards. Here are a couple of snippets from it:

• Larry Johnston, chairman, president and CEO at the grocery chain Albertsons, said putting more women in charge of large companies makes economic sense.

• "Women have insight into our customers that no man -- no matter how bright, no matter how hard working -- can match," said Larry Johnston, chairman, president and CEO at Albertsons. "That's important when 85 percent of all consumer buying decisions made in our stores are made by women. As we pursue a customer-focused approach to growth, the insight, knowledge and expertise of women is invaluable -- at every level in the organization."

• "It was a bunch of old white guys making erroneous assumptions and erroneous conclusions about women and the multi-cultural consumers that make up the majority of Albertson's customers," Flickinger said.

• "Companies must broaden their requirements for board directors," she said. "The number of women ENTREPRENEURS has skyrocketed — over 44 percent of the privately-owned firms are now owned by women. The problem is that current board directors aren't in the networks where women business achievers gravitate."

• There also continues to be a "glass ceiling" in corporate America where women can only progress so far in a company and many aren't given the opportunity to reach the executive ranks (... which brings us back to the reason for this blog!).

When you read the article, be sure to check out the right sidebar which highlights the top 5 largest companies and what percentage of women they have on the company's board as well as the snapshot at the impact women have on business.