Leadership, “Reputation Matters” Forbes, October 11, 2014

I know that it makes a good meme. And I know that we all love it when a powerful leader puts his foot in it and states something that either is preposterous or impolitic. And I know we all love to pile on in outrage over social media when something like this happens. Heck, I do too sometimes. But I think we may be being a bit counterproductive here. And I think we are taking some cheap shots.

Because the conversation around women, promotions, raises, and getting and asking for your due, is nuanced, inconvenient, and sometimes based on what we want to be true rather than what is.

After all, the Microsoft CEO was addressing the highly prestigious women in technology conference, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, on Thursday as the first man to ever do so. That took some real commitment. And, he was being hosted by his board member, computer scientist Maria M. Klawe (Microsoft now has 3 women board members, thought to be the beginnings of best governance practice) who is also the first woman to lead Harvey Mudd College (of engineering). And she opened by saying she adores him. This is not the profile of a woman-hating Philistine, it seems to me. Perhaps – or most certainly – he has been a bit naïve, but we can help him with that. […read more]