ave you seen it yet? The current issue of W&V announces on its front page: “How Prominent Female Managers Assess the Female Quota”. The answer is on page 54: Many reject the quota, while others are against it in principle but see the quota as a necessary intermediate step.

It’s curious that only women comment on this, as though it were a women’s topic. Are there no men who dare to express an opinion? Or have they not even been asked? In management circles, there is currently no more hotly discussed topic than the introduction of a female quota. A discussion which received new impetus by the announcement by Deutsche Telekom on March 15, 2010 that they aimed to be the first Dax-30 company to achieve a 30% quota worldwide for women in management positions by the end of 2015.

Those who have followed the comments about this on the Internet know how emotions flare up on this issue. At Focus Online, 66 comments have been entered in three days—63 of which reject the quota in no uncertain terms. At Spiegel Online, 388 comments are currently published, with a similar tenor.

And yet, René Obermann (Head of Board of Management) and Thomas Sattelberger (Board of Management member for Personnel) backed up their decision with tangible facts. As a result, René Obermann was quoted as saying: “More women in management positions is not a dictate of a wrongly understood egalitarianism. It is an imperative of social fairness and, above all, a tangible necessity for our success. With more women at the top, we will simply be better.”

“#Female quota? With more women at the top, we will simply be better: #newwork #creatingOutstandingValue“

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My position on the issue? Yes, a quota is very sensible, at least in large corporations. Not as a sole instrument and hopefully not forever, but we do need it now. Besides, Federal President Horst Köhler is still right when he describes Germany as a developing country with regard to women’s careers.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one of the purple dungaree brigade. Bringing things quickly to the point in order to achieve rapid results, and a highly developed passion for the best solution (for which my customers love me and my employees and colleagues sometimes curse me) are characteristics which describe me more accurately.

That means that my clear “yes” is the result of ample consideration: It can’t be denied that all of us together are facing fundamental challenges. Managing value-creating companies which lead to stable economic growth is one side of the coin. The other side concerns the global and local topics of “education policy” and “climate protection”. Fast solutions are needed— the best possible solutions. And they cannot emerge if only 50% of a nation’s talents are being used. As Sabine Asgodom, Germany’s success coach, put it so well: Women don’t run things better. And neither do men.

Mixed leadership is therefore the order of the day. In this area, we have a considerable need to catch up in many places. What’s the advantage of the quota? That we will suddenly ascertain that there are not enough women to fill the quota. And not because they are not qualified for it — quite the reverse. Rather, because they don’t want to, for many different reasons. And then the process of rethinking will begin in many places. Both for men and for women.

Because, let’s not deceive ourselves: the current working life in management circles runs according to male rules. Women are generally less power and ego-driven. For them, the result is often more in the foreground. This is why they repeatedly come up against limits in male structures. And then they often give up. Not everyone dreams of playing Joan of Arc.

Therefore, if we want to use 100% of the talent in order to achieve the best possible solutions, many rethinking processes must take place. In other words, the quota is not the solution but the trigger for the solution. As a consequence, the journey to the “best possible solutions” will be a very exciting one!

The following mental games are interesting, too:

What might have happened if “mixed teams” had acted at the top management levels of financial service providers in the last few years? Could we have spared ourselves the financial crisis?

Or what if we had had a female CEO of an automotive manufacturer in the last few years? Might we now be much closer to convenient, trendy and yet environmental friendly automotive solutions in Germany?

On to new shores. On to the best possible solutions!

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