Written by Cyriel Kortleven
They have asked me to ‘facilitate’ a track on a creativity conference in Greenwich next week. The purpose of the track is to give a short introduction on the topic, work 2 hours with a 1/3 of the participants and have a creative presentation at the final day to ‘summarize’ our insights. The track that they asked me to facilitate is ‘power and influence’. My first thoughts were ‘Mmmm, is this really my thing because ‘power and influence’ don’t look to fit in my portfolio where I focus on creative skills, experience time and interaction with bigger groups. But my creative attitude ‘stimulated’ me to postpone judgement and let the topic rest for a while. My first associations with power and influence were linked with hierarchy, authority, dominion, strenght, reaching goals, superiority, leadership, a person showing muscles, … all more masculin associations. But then (after a while) other associations became present … networking, connecting, guidance, impact, effective, standing straight, openess, listening, … a bit more feminin words. By the way masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with the difference between men and women. Everybody has the potential to develop both kind of skills. And we absolutely need both sides of the paradox.
In the last decades, we have developed a society with male energy where things like efficiency, a high status, planning and goals, logical thinking are appreciated. And a lot of these things have helped us to get prosperity and a wealthy economy but at this moment, it looks like the balance is gone. Too much male energy leads to a society that is rigid, political and hierarchy battles, loss of the humaninity in a lot of processes. And if you look at the world at this moment, the economic system is in a crisis; people who still think that they can go on with only masculin skills are struggling to survive; organizations.
And apparently, more people think that we need more female energy into our system. Two weeks ago, I was on the future summit where 4 futurists gave their vision on the next decades and in all of their stories, the importance of a better balance between femininity and masculinity was mentioned. So I’m quite sure that the whole system needs more female energy (caring, loving, listening, waiting, developing, connecting, …). Keeping those things in mind, the track ‘power and influence’ becomes more appealing to me and I would like to explore – together with the other participants – the topic power and influence from different perspectives. I will keep you updated.
Cyriel, provocative topic! I just happened to see this article after I read your post, and I thought you might be interested. It relates studies that suggest a link between numbers of women in senior management and a company’s profitability. Interesting…