How Competition Can Foster Change

Kristen BlessmanDear Members,

I visited recently with a new women’s organization looking to move to Denver.  They told me they were greeted with mixed reviews being told there were already so many women’s organizations in town.  And if I’m being honest, there was a small part of me that thought the same.  The corporate environment can bring forward a healthy competitive culture, which oftentimes leads to innovation.  So how do we operate in this culture when trying to bring about lasting and meaningful change?

During the course of my career, I’ve faced the challenge of blending a competitive business culture with cause-based culture and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way that I’d like to share.

Lesson 1:  An organization whose ultimate goal is to create real and lasting systematic change in a community can have a competitive edge over an organization that lacks a mission of this type.

Lesson 2:  In many industries, the more competition you have in a close proximity, the more successful the industry as a whole.  More choices equals more engagement.

I believe the more organizations we have in our community trying to make lasting change for the advancement of women in business, government, in life, or any particular cause, the more we’ll chip away at the statistics for women in the workplace.  WE JUST HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER.

The latest McKinsey and Company study shows that it will take 107 years to catch-up to where men are in the workplace. The study before that showed that it would take 100 years.  Yep, that’s right-it’s gotten worse.  So where does that leave us?  I think we need to partner together — all of us — to focus on the necessary changes that need to be made to advance women in business.

While it’s true there has been many positive changes over the past 30 years, the McKinsey and Company study shows that there’s still change needed.  My vision is that the CWCC membership will be at the forefront of this change.  We are the place where conversations are had and learning and collaboration occur.  I don’t think anyone has the secret sauce yet, but I do believe that if we have the conversations, promote the education, and get like-minded individuals together, we will begin to see better results.

We’re hosting a couple of these conversations and learning opportunities in May.  See our upcoming events and programs in this issue.  And thanks for remaining active and engaged in the CWCC.  My door and inbox are always open to ideas.


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