Thursday, 2 June 2011

"There should never be too much testosterone in one room"

Why Christine Lagarde should be president of the IMF
1.     For saying “I honestly think that there should never be too much testosterone in one room."

2.     Because she speaks fluent French. OK she is French. But she also speaks fluent English. How brilliant is that?
3.     For being ballsy enough to state that “Gender-dominated environments are not good... particularly in the financial sector where there are too few women,"
4.     She says this about cooking: “Cooking is about giving”. Don’t you just love that?
5.     And for saying: "In gender-dominated environments, men have a tendency to... show how hairy chested they are, compared with the man who's sitting next to them.”

6.      And also for saying the 2008 financial collapse was driven by the aggressive, greedy, testosterone-fuelled mood of male-dominated, hi-tech trading rooms.
7.     For being hugely ambitious but wanting to spend more time cooking for her family or making apricot and quince jam. (That’s not strawberry or raspberry jam. It’s bloody apricot and quince I tell you.)

8.     For being reluctant to say there are female and male ways of dealing with power… “but based on my own experience, women will tend to be inclusive, to reach out more, to care a little more."

9.     A man said about her "Her lightning-quick wit, genuine warmth and ability to bridge divides while remaining fiercely loyal to French interests have been a source of admiration." 
(Timothy Geithner, US Secretary of the Treasury, Time, April 2009)

10.   Hotel chambermaids can feel totally safe in her presence.


  1. Paul Claireaux3 June 2011 at 13:18

    Great post.
    The older i get the more i respect what we can learn from women about doing business and the more i enjoy working with women.
    The conversation is typically deeper and more purposeful. To quote the middle section of Bejteman's Poem "slough" :

    It's not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,
    It's not their fault they often go
    To Maidenhead

    And talk of sports and makes of cars
    In various bogus Tudor bars
    And daren't look up and see the stars
    But belch instead. . . .

  2. Think she has made DSD her own to get the best from every situation by saying:" If you want a man to agree with you tell the smart one he looks handsome and the handsome one he is clever!"

  3. Ronel, you're so right. Perhaps you've hit on the importance of emotional intelligence in making it to the top, which many women have in abundance

  4. Paul, what great lines from Betjeman's poem! And even better that they come from a male - thank you.

  5. I've also received some email comments about this post. Thanks to Andie who said:

    The fact is.. is that she is a substantial human being with a grounded and inclusive view point. Male of female this can only be a valuable thing. Could this be said of any of her male counterparts.?

  6. and thanks to Caroline R who said:
    This is a great post! I love that woman!

  7. Via Facebook Denis sent this comment:
    Despite having no economics background, she has emerged as a more than competent Finance Minister in France. BUT the lingering doubts over her actions regarding the odious Barnard Tapie cast a shadow over her potential.

  8. Gender balance makes sense in many, if not all, business environments. Thinking more widely, diversity is a relevant business issue as diversity usually brings greater creativity, insight and possible solutions to a problem. I'm a fan of Dr Roy Adler's research that shows companies who have a higher proportion of women on boards have higher profits. We can't infer causality from correlation although I'd say there is one.

  9. Hi Jessica, thanks for the comment - couldn't agree more.

    The women on boards topic is one that I've been blogging, speaking and writing about a lot over the past year. Since the Davies report was such a weak document and evolution is such a slow process I'm coming to the view that quotas may be the answer -


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