The Female Vision by Sally Helgesen & Julie Johnson - Book review

The Female Vision

Women's Real Power at Work

By: Sally Helgesen, Julie Johnson

Published: June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
ISBN-13: 9781576753828
ISBN-10: 1576753824
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

"We believe that what women see - what they notice and value and how they perceive the world in operation - is a great underexploited resource in organizations", write consultant Sally Helgesen, and coach Julie Johnson, in their brilliant and groundbreaking book The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work. The authors examine the female vision, what it offers, and why it matters to women, organizations, the economy, and the world.

Sally Helgesen (photo left) and Julie Johnson understand that the women view the world from a different perspective from men. This alternative vision of the world has not been well accepted, however. Because the prevailing paradigm is the male vision of narrow focus, competition, and compartmentalization, the more holistic and widely based female viewpoint has been under appreciated and under utilized. The authors make a convincing case that not only must this antiquated approach to organizational leadership must change, but that a female visionary form of leadership will enhance and strengthen the organization. In place of the current analytical industrial model, the new knowledge based economy demands a fresh collaborative and intuitive style of leadership.

Julie Johnson (photo left) and Sally Helgesen recognize that many organizations have made efforts to become more female friendly. The efforts in that area have only produced mixed results at best, however. The initiatives have been based on the old siloed and compartment based thinking, and fail to consider the more balanced workplace and personal lives appreciated by women. The result has been a brain drain of talented women to other companies, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurial ventures. In the end, the tremendous leadership potential offered by women has been lost to many companies. That loss has proven harmful to those organizations, as the incumbent male leadership has failed in many companies to maintain a sustainable business model. Warned by women that the narrow focus of the leadership goals would end in disaster, the men ignored those dissenting voices. In the end, the traditional male dominated leadership model failed many companies, resulting in job losses, dislocations, and a downturn in the economy.

For me, the power of the book is how Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson present a convincing case, backed up by in depth interviews and research, that the female vision is important to organizational success. Women value different goals and relationships in organizations, and their intuitive thinking considers many more variables than the narrowly focused male viewpoint. By seeing a wider range of possibilities, women add an innovative approach to a company that is critical to success in the modern information age. The adapting of the previous industrial economy leadership and management style to the knowledge based economy has proven a failure. The vision needed in the post-industrial economy is precisely the values, the ability to notice widely ranging variables, and a sense of connecting the dots, that women bring to the table. In a world where social media, relationships, and multiple outcomes form the basis of the global economy, women will provide valuable and essential leadership skills for the future.

I highly recommend the important and landmark book The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson, to anyone in business, government, academia, and non-profit organizations seeking to better understand the crucial importance of the female vision and its role in the future of the economy. Women must be listened to for their values and approach to challenges, their abilities recognized, and their placement in top leadership positions realized. The abilities that women possess are the exact skills that are essential in the new century.

Read the essential and well argued book The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work by Julie Johnson and Sally Helgesen, and discover the value of the female vision to any organization. Women offer different values and ways of seeing and noticing the world. These abilities are what will set your organization on a more engaged, sustainable, balanced, and successful course to the future.

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