Tag Archives: People

What Winning Companies Get… And Others Won’t

by Sallie Krawcheck

We are in a bull market for advice to women on how to get ahead in their companies.

For most of my career, I lived it. I worked in some of the most male of companies (OK, I never worked for Twitter). I learned, through trial and error, how to communicate in a way that I could be heard (research tells me: not too tough and not too soft); how to ask for a raise (advice books say: use facts, not emotion); and how to raise my hand for the next opportunity (studies show: similarly qualified females raise their hands for the next job far less often than men.)

But, while I was making my way through the ranks, women were moving sideways in corporate America, and backwards in my industry: the number of women in financial services declined by 200,000 over the past decade, while the number of men increased by 237,000. This has been happening at a time when women’s lower risk tolerance, greater client focus and greater long-term orientation are sorely needed by the banks. Oh, and by extension, by the entire economy.

So are we trying to fix the wrong problem?

Smart companies are thinking differently. They are recognizing that the inherent differences among genders and cultures are not things to be fixed, but are instead sources of strength. It is exactly these differences that drive the higher returns, lower volatility and greater innovation that accrue to more diverse companies.

Smart companies will embrace and draw on these differences. They will put in the effort that working with people who can’t “finish each others’ sentences” requires. They will push themselves to advance the people who always show up on their slates and never get the jobs (and, we all know it, most big companies have these perennial “slate-fillers.”) They will change their evaluation systems to eliminate “cascading bias,” in which the qualities of the existing (typically white, male) leadership team are reinforced and other types of skills are undervalued.

It won’t happen quickly, and it likely won’t be dramatic. But companies that don’t take this action will increasingly lose out. They’ll lose out to the companies that “get it” and to emerging entrepreneurial opportunities. And they’ll not only lose out on talent, they’ll lose out on innately understanding their full set of customers and their needs.

In the meantime, perhaps my old industry will choose to believe that its under-representation of women employees and the fact that female customers rank it 33 out of 33 of the industries that serve them is all one big, zany coincidence. And besides, as one bank CEO said to me when I recently laid out for him stats on the economic power of women: “But don’t their husbands manage their money?”



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A Few Celebrities Public Personas and Alter Egos

Most celebrities live their lives out in the public eye. Others are aggressively private about their lives away from the cameras while some just go all out and create public personas that are absolutely nothing like the private celebrities. Who are these celebrities who bring some sort of persona into the public arena to pass them off as the real deal?

Public Personas and Alter Egos

Victoria Beckham is one of those who have created a persona that gives her a sense of cutting her private person off from the cameras. This sulky, pouty girl, who wears couture clothing and uses every sidewalk and airport as her personal runway, has admitted that the misery is the public persona she chose to create. She also admits that many people comment on her looking miserable but she does not bother with the comments because behind closed doors and away from the public eye, Beckham is extremely happy in her life. Who wouldn’t be with a gorgeous husband, happy marriage, four beautiful kids and a bank full of money?

Another celebrity who loves his public personas but is the most reclusive private person – as well as a highly intelligent Cambridge graduate – is Sacha Baron Cohen; the man behind the super cool Ali G, The Dictator and the effervescent Boris for Kazakhstan. The alter egos of Cohen’s are either his brilliant creativity running rampant or his imagination come to life. Whichever way, these characters have brought him a fortune and kept his private life private.

Then there is Beyonce’s ‘Sasha Fierce’, but that is not really considered too much of a public persona. Hers is more of an alter ego fighting against the constraints of fame. Yup, it must be really tough when you choose that way of life and are paid a fortune to do it.

Lady Gaga is hardly ever seen out in public with anything other than some or other completely surreal outfit designed with the intention of promoting Gaga as not of this earth. Gaga’s persona unabashedly wears raw meat, Kermit the Frog, police cordoning tape and D&G dresses made of metal. People clearly wonder if she is anything like her public persona behind closed doors. It is a valid question but there is an indication that the public Gaga is also the private Gaga. Photographers took photos of her on a private fishing trip with friends in Australia, and Gaga was wearing heels. Perhaps this is the real Lady Gaga.

Celebrities feel the need to protect their private lives and it is understandable that they need to keep a part of themselves away from the rest of the world. But a celebrity persona does start to wear thin sometimes and to see some of the real person behind the facade is refreshing. It is also amazing how public personas also cover up the shyness and lack of confidence many celebrities have. There is clearly money to be made in pretending to be someone else.

Vida Denning is a freelance writer who loves the sulky Beckham’s boutique dresses and adores the pouty Posh’s style.


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Is Your Anger Killing Your Art?

by Seth Godin

It’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.*

They can’t occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It’s difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.

Ironically, when you decide to teach someone a lesson they richly deserve, you often end up strangling the very source you were counting on.

(*Angry is not the same as being a jerk. For some reason, there are plenty of creative jerks–I think because they mistakenly believe that being a jerk is a useful way for some people to wrestle with their lizard brains).


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Google’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Logo

Inspired by an article Barry Schwartz wrote that didn’t say what I wanted to.

Martin Luther King, Jr Google Logo 2011Today Google has a special logo on for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  They do for most truly
significant, and some not so significant, days.

Today would have been his 82nd birthday celebration. His legacy lives on with our black president, a somewhat integrated management structure in most major industries, and at least lip service to what his dream was about.  At least in most parts of the country it is no longer fashionable to be openly racist.  Now my prayer is that our hearts will all truly reflect what we are required to “look like” on the outside.  Well America, as my late great friend would have said,  FAKE IT TILL YA MAKE IT.

Technically, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15th, but the United States celebrates the first Monday after his birthday as a national holiday for his leadership during the African American civil rights movement. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize, at that time, he was the youngest person to ever receive the prize.

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee and the free world will forever mourn his passing, and our loss.

Here is a larger version of the logo on Google’s home page:

Martin Luther King, Jr Google Logo 2011


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