Why aren’t more women attaining senior leadership positions across corporate America? In this lesson excerpt, Jody Greenstone Miller explains why the time commitment traditionally required to attain top level positions prevents many women (and some men) from bringing their talents to the workforce. The full clip, available on Big Think+, teaches you how to create new paths to leadership by rethinking time so that the faces and values at the top of your organization more accurately reflect the diversity of the available talent pool.
Values Diversity in Theory
Jody Greenstone Miller: What’s stopping women? I believe, it’s not a mystery. It’s not rocket science. It’s that jobs today are structured to require people to work 80, 90, 100 hours a week in order to achieve success in the organization. And, to me, that is both shortsighted on behalf of organizations -- because I don’t think they’re getting the best of people and they’re limiting their talent pool -- and obviously individuals who may desire to exercise their talents, if they’re lucky enough to have them, to rise to the top in a way that, you know, they can do it with still allowing for other things in their life.
If what’s going on is that many women and some men are deciding they don’t want to lean in to the world they’re being asked to lean into, by definition, the kind of people who make the choice to do what it takes to get to the top in today’s world are gonna possess the same kind of values. They’re gonna possess the kind of values that say, “This is what matters most to me. I’m gonna do what it takes.” And there’s nothing wrong with those values, and they’re wonderful. But you only get one kind of person.
And if you’re talking about a world where elites don’t have the respect that they once had, where we have financial crises, where we have political institutions that don’t require or command the respect that they once did, one of the things you might ask yourself is, is it because we’re getting one type of person who is willing to make the kind of sacrifices that the system today requires? And that the folks who have different values and may say, “You know, I want a life that I can devote to community service for a portion of my time,” or “I want to be with my parents,” or “I want to have something that matters to me,” those people are not going to create – not have a path to leadership. So they’re not gonna have a voice. So you end up with the same kind of person and you end up with the same prism on risk, the same prism on what matters, and you don’t have the true diversity of thought that you would want for a healthy institution, whether it’s political or nonprofit or corporate.