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Women Studies at McKinsey

October 1, 2008

September appears to be the month of the woman at McKinsey. Promoting their Center for Leadership, the September issue of the McKinsey Quarterly is full of sage remarks about women’s deepest career longings.

Let me start out by saying I love reading the Quarterly and I often rely on it to jumpstart my research. Some Q interviews have become classics (here are one or two of my favorites). So I write the following as a big fan of the rigorous brainpower at McKinsey…

Among the articles, Centered Leadership: How Women Thrive. Here’s a ripe excerpt that, in my view, says nearly nothing in a soft, squishy way:

Managing Energy: One useful tactic is to identify the conditions and situations that replenish your energy and those that sap it. Self-awareness lets you deliberately incorporate restorative elements into your day. It can also help you to space out your energy-sapping tasks throughout the day, instead of bundling them all into a single morning or afternoon. A particularly useful tip, we have found, is to give yourself time during the day to focus without distractions such as blinking lights and buzzing phones. Your productivity will benefit several times over.

Is this massage-mentoring, McKinsey or Deepak?? I find it downright weird! This article and others in the issue go on to wonder about gender inequity–particularly in corporate exec ranks. Yes, women don’t reach the C-suite nearly as often as men, but our careers are a lot “lumpier” too. We take full- and semi-sabbaticals when our children are young. Do we have to dance around these issues rather than just blurt out the truth? Many women love making & rearing babies… and motherhood sometimes doesn’t synchronize well with career. The impulse to make sense of it all in a McKinsey framework is truly strange. The article assumes that we will ultimately achieve gender parity at work… if only women can navigate the workforce more intelligently and corporations can be more inclusive. Gender parity will never happen because bright women will continue to make diverse choices—from maneuvering for the CEO spot to dropping out of work mid-career after spending $100K on an MBA. There are all sorts of paths for smart, professional women, and many of them intentionally do not lead to the C-suite or the board room. Wish we would stop beating up ourselves and others about it.


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Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.


June 30, 2009

Thanks Sandra!


June 30, 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

Sandra R

September 9, 2009

Oh Sandra R…. you are bumming me out. Thought you were a happy reader, but alas, you are a bot.


April 9, 2010

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