Oh dear Mr. Clark… can’t you do better than that?

Posted October 12, 2010 in Latest News & Insights

So, the Globe and Mail is doing a big feature series on why there aren’t more women heading up Canadian corporations and, worse, why other countries are scooping our (apparently meager) female executive talent. All interesting stuff, and easy to jump on a soapbox about, but, the quote that caught my eye came from Ed Clark, President & CEO of TD Bank Financial Group.  TD has pumped lots of money into “women’s” advancement type programs and Clark himself has been honoured by the “mother” of all women’s institutions (Catalyst) as a guy who “walks the equality” talk.  So, when Clark is quoted as predicting that a woman will eventually head up a bank… in about TWENTY years time, I did a double take.

Are you kidding me?  TWENTY years??? Am I the only person who finds it odd that a CEO who supposedly is a giant champion of women is predicting it’s going to take TWO DECADES to get a woman to the top post.  Gee Mr. Clark, couldn’t you do a little better than that??

And, I had to wonder, how motivating did Colleen Johnston, CFO, TD Bank Financial Group find that comment?  So much for any hope of a ROB’s predicted succession competition between her and Tim Hockey.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says… ‘talk does not cook rice’. Maybe, some bank CEO (ahem, Mr. Clark) has to get the “bocce balls” to actually stop gassing about putting more women on the management team and actually create a succession plan that involves a rich mix of candidates (male, female, minorities) for the top spot.

The bottom-line here for me is this: As leaders, we can all choose to back things because they’re “politically” correct and good for our personal brands.  But, eventually, I think that your real belief system will begin to shine through.  And, quite frankly, no amount of “internal mentoring programs” and “industry awards” can hide the disconnect between what you’re talking and what you’re actually walking.

And, that’s my rant for today.

Happy leading!

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