Written by MofecoxyMix Thursday, 10 March 2011 10:11
by Patricia Sellers
Now that's a subject that most leaders would be wise to pay more attention to.
One boss who does: Ginny Rometty at IBM (IBM).
And to her benefit. Currently in charge of sales and marketing and strategy at Big Blue--and No. 8 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list--Rometty is mentioned in Fortune's current cover story about IBM as a possible successor to CEO Sam Palmisano.
Recently Rometty spoke about culture at the Yale CEO Summit. Her talk to be so good that it's worth my sharing a few of her points here.
Culture, Rometty told the audience, has become the defining issue that will distinguish the most successful businesses from the rest of the pack.
For instance, Ford (F) got back on track by rerouting its culture. CEO Alan Mulally rallied faithful followers. And in turn, the entire organization refocused on Ford's core value: quality.
The biggest cultural challenge for corporate leaders: social media. Rometty cited Nielsen research that shows social media accounts for almost a quarter of the time Americans spend online. Social media's consumption of time spent on mobile devices? Around 50%.
So, she said, "Your message has to be a dialogue, and it has to be authentic." Especially, she added, since some research suggests that consumers trust information from each other twelve times more than they trust messages or ads from companies.
Most importantly, "You have to rethink the way you treat and talk to employees," she added.
On Facebook, Rometty said, more people "self-identify" with IBM than with any other organization. Given this reality, IBM decided to cede control to its employees--that is, let them devise behavior guidelines.
This process began in 2005, when IBM employees used a wiki to create a set of guidelines for all IBMers who wanted to blog. Since then, IBMers have evolved the guidelines to include all social media.
Today, IBM's "Social Computing Guidelines" aren't necessarily what would come out of an Office of the President. For example, No. 10 of 12 on the list is: "Don't pick fights, be the first to correct your mistakes."
Hey, it works. This sort of culture-carrying throughout the organization has helped propel IBM near the top of Fortune's Most Admired Companies list. And it has helped propel Rometty's career as well.
Now that she's close to the top, she believes more than ever: "Culture has to come from the bottom up."
Filed under: CEOs, FORTUNE MPWomen, technology
Written by MofecoxyMix Tuesday, 08 March 2011 13:58
Today is International Women's Day--as Google (GOOG) notes by placing a colorful graphic, honoring women, above the search box on its homepage.
If you click on that graphic, you'll arrive at a page that lists a multitude of ways to help women around the world. Google lists 44 organizations--such as Women for Women International and Vital Voices and Camfed--that deploy your donations to empower women.
Click on the link for Camfed, a not-for-profit that funds women's education, and you'll see a video of an amazing young Zambian woman named Penelope Machipi. Orphaned at 12, Penelope had to drop out of school to help raise her siblings. Then, with the help of a Camfed scholarship, Penelope graduated high school. And with the support of Goldman Sachs (GS), she completed the firm's 10,000 Women program. Today, Penelope manages a technology training center in rural Zambia.
We got to know Penelope because we honored her with the Goldman Sachs-Fortune Global Women Leaders Award at the 2009 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Penelope has since used her award money to work with other rural women filmmakers to produce a 20-minute documentary called Hidden Truth. The film, which tackles the harrowing subject of domestic violence, is now making its way to film festivals and women's events from San Francisco to London and back to, Penelope hopes, the Zambian Parliament. She's lobbying for the passage of laws against domestic violence in her home country.
You can see an excerpt from Hidden Truth here. The film, as well as Penelope's story, goes to show that empowering one woman can empower many more.
Filed under: FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit, mentoring, Uncategorized
Written by MofecoxyMix Monday, 07 March 2011 06:34
by Patricia Sellers
Delivering a talk on Women and Power in Princeton on Thursday night, I tossed out a term that the crowd really liked: Raise the roof!
As I told the 400 people gathered at the YWCA "Tribute to Women" dinner, the "glass ceiling" concept is out of date--and let's rethink how far corporate women have come.
Not that bias against female managers has gone away--far from it, as I've written right here.
But despite the standstill of female-led Fortune 500 companies--a dozen today--women have gained more power than you might think.
Looking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business issue from 1998, the year we began the rankings, I discovered a telling fact: While Carly Fiorina, then at Lucent (ALU), was No. 1 on that first MPWomen list, the top-ranked CEO, at No. 6, was Mattel's Jill Barad. Mattel (MAT) had annual revenues of $4.8 billion back then.
Consider that vs. the CEOs on today's Fortune MPWomen list: No. 1, PepsiCo (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi, oversees $57.8 billion in revenue. No. 2, Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods (KFT), runs a $48 billion company. And ADM's (ADM) Pat Woertz, who is No. 3 on the 2010 list, sits atop more revenue than either of them.
My message to the Princeton audience was that women have gained a decade--and for the few Fortune 500's female CEOs, the entities they lead are much bigger than before.
Nonetheless, I bet we will never see parity at the top.
The reasons are many (and I'll leave that for a later Postcard), but basically, women and men view power differently. The "power" that women seek (and it's taken a decade for women at the top to embrace this word) is more horizontal--about extending influence in various directions. More often for guys, climbing the ladder is satisfying enough.
Granted, ladders aren't as straight or as sturdy as they used to be. Which is why, in this treacherous economy, stepping off the ladder may be the smartest strategy of all.
By that, I mean changing careers. Check out this story in the March issue of O: The Oprah Magazine about two enterprising women who were among Fortune's 2009 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs: Michelle Marciniak and Susan Walvius left their careers as basketball coaches to start a "high-performance" bedding company (yes, you read that right) called SHEEX. Reinvention at work.
More from Fortune.com:
- 'How I survived my career reinvention'
- The queen of career reinvention
- Undercover employee: A day on the job at three best companies
Filed under: CEOs, consumer goods, FORTUNE MPWomen, MPWomen Entrepreneurs, Power Point
Written by MofecoxyMix Thursday, 03 March 2011 14:23
by Patricia Sellers
Back in 1987, Charlie Sheen was starring in the movie Wall Street and on the cusp of a big career.
And when we at Fortune challenged the Wall Street cast to a softball game in Manhattan one night, Sheen struck us as a cocky 21-year-old who ogled the girls and wagged his butt at the plate.
He didn't seem terribly threatening when I pitched against him that night. But he did get at least one hit off me, as I recall.
Yesterday, after I published "Let's boycott Charlie Sheen" on Postcards, Gary Belis, the former Fortune PR boss who got our magazine into that first Wall Street movie, emailed me and offered pictures that he took at the game.
So forgive me, since I urged a boycott of the troubled CBS (CBS) TV star. Here is Charlie in his more innocent days...Click to view slideshow.
Filed under: entertainment, media
Written by MofecoxyMix Wednesday, 02 March 2011 12:32
by Patricia Sellers
I was visiting Gina Bianchini, the founder and former CEO of Ning, in Silicon Valley last month, and we found ourselves randomly wondering: Why are boycotts, so common years ago, not a popular product of the Internet era?
With social networking all the rage, we thought, how easy it is to organize impassioned people and mobilize.
Which brings to mind an idea: Can we boycott Charlie Sheen?
The boycott--a word coined in 1880 when people rose up to kill the career of a greedy Irish land agent named Captain Charles Boycott--is not all so passe today, as it turns out. A site called ethicalconsumer.org lists a long lot of boycotts, from Adidas ("for using kangaroo skin to make some types of football boots") to Wal-Mart (WMT) for carrying out anti-union activities.
But back to Sheen. Women could launch a "girlcott" against the unhinged star of CBS's (CBS) Two and a Half Men. ("Girlcott" originated in the 60s; tennis great Billie Jean King lobbed the term when she was fighting for equal pay for women players at Wimbledon.) As New York Times media scribe David Carr noted Monday, CBS gave Sheen rope when he flagrantly mistreated women in his life--including threatening to kill his wife, according to his felony charge. But CBS halted production of Two and a Half Men only after he dissed his boss with anti-Semitic remarks.
Right call, but overdue.
Now millions of us are feeding the beast by watching Sheen all over the TV talk shows and following him on Twitter. Yesterday Sheen sent his first tweet: "Winning..! Choose your vice..." along with a picture of himself and one of his live-in porn-star "goddesses" brandishing bottles of juice and chocolate milk.
As of early this afternoon, Sheen has more than 853,000 followers.
I'm not one of those. I peeked at his Twitter page, but I won't follow him.
Care to launch a Charlie Sheen boycott? I'm in.
Filed under: entertainment, media
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