Magazine executive Jensen and 22 other top-level executive women reveal the strategies that led them to the summit,...


WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE BOSS: Business Revelations and Success Strategies from America Top Female Executives

Magazine executive Jensen and 22 other top-level executive women reveal the strategies that led them to the summit, including the motivations for their choice of careers, the techniques that led to their first steps up the executive ladder, their management strategies, and how they succeeded in what, for some, has been a hostile, male-dominated environment. The reader is immediately struck by the fact that over half the women are in such traditionally ""female-friendly"" professions as publishing, advertising, education, cosmetics and women's apparel. The others serve in high-executive capacities in a city government, a tool company, a hotel, an opinion research firm, etc. Jensen and her interviewees are savvy and articulate. Their business philosophies and methods are pertinent for ambitious men as well as women. They almost all, however, agree that women tend to administer ""with soft hands on the reins"" and prefer to ""build a consensus, much like the Japanese management style."" They admitted that men tended to become uncomfortable with them as they climbed the executive ladder and often panicked when the boss wore skirts. The women saw to it, however, that they achieved a high visibility, but without showboating. When pulling off coups early on in their careers, they were careful to give their bosses considerable credit. On reaching high executive status, they bestowed praise on pertinent staff members. They also protected their staffs against hostile moves by top management or other executives--and got loyalty in return. They were very careful when hiring new personnel: most conducted at least three interviews (one at lunch and another with key staff members). The corporate women also tended to develop a network of supportive people--in other organizations as well as in their own--who apprised them of developments sometimes concealed by their masculine confrÉres. Interestingly, many had some sales experience (Jensen thinks this is vital) 35 percent either headed their own business or had been an entrepreneur earlier on. They all eschew the ""dress-for-success"" strategy, wearing what complements their individual personality and sense of style. None voiced the common complaint that, as women, they had to work twice as hard as men to get where they are; and none had a sexual involvement withe member of the same organization. Space does not permit specific examples of how they overcame obstacles, communicated with and motivated people, and learned to play the organization game. The anecdotes they provide to indicate, however, that their management style and career strategies are so adroit, subtle and nimble that they could be used in an M.B.A. textbook of successful case histories.

Pub Date: March 6, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987