A Woman at the Helm of Yahoo? 5 Reasons Why Marissa Mayer Will Succeed
In a recent Zenger Folkman study, we reviewed the leadership competencies that differentiate the best senior executives from the average executive. We found the usual traits just as strategic perspective and championing change, however to our surprise, the most successful executives rated very highly on technical/professional expertise. It should not be a surprise that today's organizations are more complex. Having an executive with deep expertise provides them with an executive that understands and fully appreciates the problems and potential solutions. When they hear the Chief Research Officer say, "We can build that in three months," they are more likely to have the experience to push back and ask to receive it in two; knowing both the ramifications in the market and the technical feasibility bounds.
Traditionally we always consider our "IT guy" to be just that-- "a guy". It turns out, according to our recent 2011 survey of 7,280 leaders, which we published in Harvard Business Review that women as a matter of fact lead men in information research. In our IT data set we had a ratio of 28% women and 72% men. When we evaluated their effectiveness through 360 degree feedback measurements of 16 differentiating competencies, men ranked at the 42nd percentile of effectiveness and women ranked at 52.1 percent.
The first time Yahoo has put a woman in the CEO seat
This is the first time Yahoo has put a woman in the CEO seat. Many companies hesitate to hire women in areas that require IT expertise and we have to assume that it is because they assume they will not do so then or they can't be found. This stereotype could not be more false. Marissa is in a tremendous position to break the IT stereotype. In a recent interview with CNN she said, "You can be good at research and like fashion and art. You can be good at innovation and be a jock. You can be good at research and be a mom. You can do it your own way, on your terms."
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