the blog Synergy

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Where are the women interested in the "Power of We"

Googlefight may not be the best resource for research but it does make research fun. I was toying with some word combinations to prepare for this months topic on the blog Synergy. Last month, you may recall that we dwelt on what makes great leadership. Over 20 posts and dozens of comments resulted as summarized here and here.

In a Googlefight between going “solo” or as a member of a “team”, the team won easily (2.6 billion to 418 million). *Note, the results described do vary slightly. This is a dynamic inquiry and the net is alive.

When you looked at “alone” versus “collaborate”, alone won (684 million to 118 million).

When you look at “synergy” versus “antagonism” (according to wikipedia the opposite of synergy), synergy wins easily (52 million to 5 million). So synergy does better than its opposite but rates lower than going alone (and this is proved out with a result of 527 million to 54 million).

Clearly, the “power of We” has not yet taken hold in the marketplace. These factors help to reinforce our own mission as meeting a need. There does not seem to be too much attention to it (other than what we are doing).

When you look at the classic googlefight of “men” versus “women”, the ladies take it to us (1.6 billion to 1.2 billion). When you look at the more recent “male blogger” versus “female blogger”, the male take back the lead (14.4 million to 14.2 million). Yet when you look at female leadership versus male leadership, the ladies come back (35.7 million to 29 million).

So where was the female participation during the past month? Good question.

It was not here at blog Synergy. Yes, we did have Rosa lead us admirably but where were her compatriots?

The BlogHer blog was busy: 386,000 references in google. But there was very little posted by way of collaboration, team work, or actually discussing working together

Turning to Yvonne writing at Lipsticking who recently posted 5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself.

Summarizing my answers to her questions: While we are a blog (not a retail site), we don't post many pictures (period). Hopefully we do come across as a person and not impersonal. If folks have questions, they can contact anyone of us. The comments do reflect testimonials of our readers. We don't advertise our privacy position but neither do we ask for much by way of personal information so we can put this question aside.

This does not provide much to go on.

Where do we go from here?

I think we should continue to explore this opportunity this month. Let's expand our horizons. Let's reach out to the female bloggers amongst us. They apparently like the topic of leadership.

I am open to your ideas of course. You have shown yourselves to be creative. What should we do to increase the participation of females in a discussion on leadership or collaboration, the power of We?

And especially to you, our reading community, please feel free to join the discussion.

Updated 4/8/06

Phil has

Rocky has

Trevor has

Troy has

Rosa has

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  • At 10:06 PM, Blogger Judie Pairan said…

    We are here. We are incredibly busy and highly involved mentally and physically in leading in the "power of we." "We," hence, "me," are working day jobs full time (leading as principal of a school or teaching high school college prep English) and night jobs (educational administration masters programs AND doctoral programs) training those future leaders who, frankly, in current times of mandates and accountability are questioning whether or not they want to be leaders, at least in the field of "education." Yet, there are those of us preparing to present papers to international conferences whose themes include the topic, "ethics and the k-20 curriculum." So shall we consider the fact that schools have, during the past 5 years, particularly, embedded the teaching of ethical and moral behavior in their curricula. Did someone ask why? Didn't we used to learn that in: churches, civic organizations, at home? Speaking of transformative structures...are we all aware that every business, every school, every project not only has a vision and mission statement, but a values and ethics statement? University students, in search of their truths, relate that they resent having to teach ethics to students and employees who should already have those behaviors in place when they are hired. They look at the private sector, that I encourage linking with in collaborative ways, as a generally corrupt, focused upon the bottom line and greedy, entity that cares nothing for "people." And, indeed, when one instructs adults in postsecondary educational programs, she wonders if her students think that she is living in reality, especially when she touts shared decision making, collegiality, "we sink or swim together" (Johnson and Johnson), examining our "mental models" (Senge) etc. or if she lives in "what the world would be like if we did live synergistically." Lest this all sound negative, it is not intended to do so; for I believe in holistic, systemic change and living. But I am also realistic enough, having witnessed daily through media selected foci, to understand that the world is a chaotic, constantly changing place, one that presents endless opportunities for study, reflection, and improvement.It is a challenge to engage students in nonbiased dialogue in which information and data are intended to be viewed, analyzed, and made sense of. The sheer enormity of myriad factors and assumptions internally and externally bombarding one's attempts to make sense of his world are, at times,overwhelming. Yes, I believe in the Power of We; and if enough of us keep communicating and find each other, maybe positive change will occur. After all, we have nowhere to go but up. To reach a state of, if not understanding, but at least, willingness to listen, and thereby demonstrate respect for each other, seems the ultimate challenge. Judie Pairan

  • At 3:02 AM, Blogger Steve Sherlock said…

    Judie, thank you for taking the time to comment so extensively. I will review it again and digest it more fully. There is a whole lot there.

  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger Steve Sherlock said…


    You (and others like you) are definitely working in the "Power of We".

    Thanks again for stopping by and spending sometime to share your point of view!

  • At 7:22 AM, Blogger Troy Worman said…

    Interesting topic, Steve! My experience has been that women are a much more collaborative lot than men, so I am intrigued by the numbers you have compiled.

  • At 8:32 AM, Blogger Trevor Gay said…

    Leadership through co-operation is always the best way. Women are far better than us men at relationship building in my experience. I suspect many men see leadership as a power thing while women would rather achieve results through getting the best out of people by relationship building.

    I actually think it is less helpful to think about leadership from a gender perspective and more helpful to think about how we can all get better at the ‘softer stuff’ which is a far more effective leadership tool in my opinion.

    In my book, just as ‘Less is more’ then ‘Soft is hard.’

  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger Jodee said…

    Wow, Judie. This is a work of art and I'm proud to have you represent my gender in this thread.

    I'm very interested in so many things you touch on in your post but I can't even come close to your eloquence so I'm not even going to try.

    I applaud you for the stand you're taking in the world of education (and English education, no less (that was my college major)) and I trust that you are making a major impact on your students just by being you.

    I agree with Troy's belief that women may be more collaborative (after all, in restaurants we even go to the bathroom in pairs, or so the legend goes); however, when it comes to leadership and business, we may have some work to do.

    I had the privilege of hearing both Margaret Heffernan and Gail Evans speak at a company engagement of one of my clients in Chicago almost 2 years ago now and I was fascinated by each of their positions regarding women in leadership roles within organizations.

    I won't take up more room here, but according to Gail (she is the author of the book "She Wins, You Win"), until women can get beyond the "male" rules in business, we will be destined to live by the same mistakes men have made in their climb up the corporate ladder. When women learn that their natural tendencies to build teams and relationships can be celebrated in the workplace, we will rise up collectively to more leadership roles.

    Judie touched on another related topic which could warrant a whole other huge post - whether or not women even want to take on leadership roles, either in education or in Corporate America.

    Ah, now there's the rub.

    So much to reflect on ...

  • At 11:17 AM, Blogger Mary Schmidt said…


    Sorry I've been remiss (and missing) but Trevor's original email about all this got stuck in my spam filter (hmmm. Maybe that's why some of the female bloggers are MIA?)

    Great discussion. And, here's what I just posted today on Leadership: I’m tired of hubris and PR spin being mistaken for leadership. True leadership is a whole lot more than swagger and words. It’s deeds and it ain’t easy. Winston Churchill. Dwight Eisenhower. Theodore Roosevelt. FDR. Eleanor Roosevelt. Rosa Parks. LBJ. Golda Meir. Susan B. Anthony. JFK. Abraham Lincoln. George Washington. These people – warts and all – accepted responsibility, spoke up, and took unpopular, even dangerous, positions (And, sometimes conflicting with their own past behavior and self interests. LBJ and civil rights – go figure.) Like ‘em or not – they got things done, inspired people, and made a difference.

    “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.” – Mark Twain

    And, yes, "soft" is very hard to do. And, being good isn't the same as weak (something many men tend to not "get.")

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger lja1228 said…

    This member of “WE” has just found you! What an honor to find a group looking for another female voice. It feels almost surreal that people have finally recognized the true power of our voice. And beyond mere recognition… people are listening. In some cases craning their necks and straining their ears just to hear a little bit of what WE are thinking. We’ve been waiting, but not idly.

    And as those who have commented before me…WE have been busy! In addition to the typical juggling act of managing households, managing families, and earning livings, WE have been stepping up and stepping out from behind the fallacy that “men rule the world”.

    WE are looking ahead! WE are planning for the next phase of our lives and how to celebrate our best years ever. How WE will make more room for the things WE love, and less room for the things WE don’t. How WE will care more about those who appreciate our value, and less about those who don’t.

    And finally, WE will look back. On all that WE have done, those WE have helped, the relationships WE have nurtured, the growth WE have inspired…and WE will say, ‘What’s next?”

  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger Rocky said…

    Great thread of comments. It is true, women are very powerful force. Rosa has represented the blog Synergy in superb fashion. It is great to see a growing presence in this effort.

  • At 11:38 PM, Blogger Rosa Say said…

    Wow, what a richly provocative thread to explore, and what a delight to find new voices here with Dr. Judie, Jodee, Mary, and Lja, welcome ladies!

    I must say this; I have thoroughly enjoyed my affiliation with the blog Synergy because of the camaraderie offered me by Team Synergy. There is such respect for learning intelligence here, a respect which knows no bounds or stereotypes associated with gender, and there is a bounty of humility. Truly, I have never felt anything less in this fine company. Thank you gentlemen for your very kind compliments, however you have made it so very easy for me, and I want to give you the credit you so deserve.

    I have two days in between business travel stints, and I am eager to engage in this wonderful conversation you have started Steve, thank you for sharing your aloha in this terrific April topic.

  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger Steve Sherlock said…

    Welcome ladies! This is a good beginning. The month is young. Let's keep this conversation going!

  • At 10:16 PM, Blogger Jodee said…

    I just need to share with all of you an experience I had about a week ago when I visited an event hosted by an organization in Minneapolis called Awesome Women ( Here is their mission (from their website):

    We’re a growing community of women who passionately believe that:

    *The world needs our insightful and inclusive perspectives.
    *Every woman’s story makes a difference and needs to be told.
    *As women, we have a responsibility to share our powerful wisdom.

    The event was very unique because its focus was not on networking or business ... it was on helping each woman find her voice.

    We had a chance to hear some vocal music, eat dinner, and then gathered in one big circle to listen to the speaker share her story, which was the answer to the question: "What are you not saying YES to?" and also "What do you know to be true right now?"

    After we heard her story, we broke into groups of three and practiced telling our own stories in answer to those two questions. Each of us was given the opportunity to listen and provide feedback, and also to be listened to and provided feedback.

    It felt very powerful ... and was an excellent opportunity to support other women in finding their truths.

    I wanted to share this experience with you - and also point you to their website - because I think it demonstrates the "power of we" as we've been talking in this post.

    If you get into the origins of this group, you find yet another example of a collaboration that started as a dream by the "founding mothers" and is now in its second year of existence.

    I'd encourage you to visit the website and read a little bit about each of the founding mothers. I had the privilege of meeting each of them at this event, and was inspired just by being in their presence.

    That is the "power of we" in action.


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