To be fair, there are some things perhaps only a man can do. A woman, for example, might struggle to assert that “the (bleeping) debate is all over” when it comes to gender equality in the ad industry. Not a man.
Not Kevin Roberts anyway.
Roberts, a man among men and some women, had no difficulty saying it in a recent Business Insider interview, or believing the issue wasn’t worth spending “any time” on from his lofty perch as executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and “head coach” for the advertising agency’s parent, Publicis Groupe.
His problems began when he was heard.
Coach Roberts, 66, now will have plenty of time to consider the issue, as it was announced Wednesday that his retirement date, originally set for next May, has been moved up to Sept. 1.
But then this dust-up must make it seem as though time is speeding up. Things went from “Mad Men” to just plain mad like that.
One day, he’s considered a genius with an uncommon sense of the world and how to persuade it, not only on the agency side but working for PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. The next, he’s branded callously out of touch.
What he’s become painfully aware of is that people who don’t think there’s work to do in the area of gender equality aren’t of the gender seeking parity and/or are living a charmed existence that insulates them from certain realities in the wider world.
Hillary Clinton can talk about breaking the glass ceiling with her presidential nomination, but those who assume all the old barriers and attitudes have been obliterated completely risk winding up like a bug on some windshield.
Should she win the White House, it will no more signal the end of sexism than Barack Obama’s election ended racism.
Work is usually hard enough. The workplace shouldn’t have to be a minefield, with the men in charge — and it’s still mostly men — passively or actively, consciously or unconsciously creating barriers through their actions, beliefs or outdated worldview.
Sometimes the glass and remaining jagged shards are visible only when light hits it just so, as in Roberts’ interview or, more forcefully, when a lawsuit makes allegations public as earlier this year at J. Walter Thompson and Fox News Channel.
Roberts argued in the Business Insider interview that gender equality issues are “way worse” in other businesses, specifically citing financial services’ “problems left, right and center.”
But the point of that is what, exactly?
That there’s a lot of work to be done everywhere in getting more women into top positions? OK, that is the debate that’s all over. It in no way ends the discussion of what his industry and others can do to better balance the scales.
The irony is that Publicis Groupe’s staff is roughly evenly divided by gender and Saatchi & Saatchi is 65 percent female for the very sensible reason that this should enable it to better understand the consumers it seeks to understand and influence.
But Business Insider noted that male CEOs head the six major advertising agency holding companies and cited a survey that found that while the ad industry is 46.4 percent female, just 11.5 percent of creative directors are women.
Roberts, in the interview posted Friday, contended that women just aren’t interested in moving into leadership positions the way men are.
“Their ambition is not a vertical ambition, it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy,” he told reporter Lara O’Reilly. “So they say: ‘We are not judging ourselves by those standards that you idiotic dinosaur-like men judge yourself by.’ I don’t think (the lack of women in leadership roles) is a problem. I’m just not worried about it because they are very happy, they’re very successful, and doing great work.”
For those who might want to take that at face value and say, “Well, he must know,” it is instructive to note how it went over with his bosses at Publicis Groupe, upset both by what he said and what he implied.
Initially announcing Saturday that it was placing Roberts on leave, Publicis issued a statement seeking to stress that it values diversity and inclusion and expects its leaders to nurture “the career aspirations and goals” of everyone in its ranks.
“Promoting gender equality starts at the top and the Groupe will not tolerate anyone speaking for our organization who does not value the importance of inclusion,” the statement said.
That doesn’t sound like even a mild defense of Women Don’t Want Those Jobs Anyway.
Advertising people are only as good as their powers of observation and persuasion, their sense of the public and how best to present ideas to it. Here Roberts has been found wanting in these areas.
“‘Fail fast, fix fast, learn fast’ is a leadership maxim I advocate,” Roberts said in a statement Wednesday. “When discussing with Business Insider evolving career priorities and new ways of work-life integration, I failed exceptionally fast. My miscommunication on a number of points has caused upset and offense. For this I am sorry.”
No doubt he is. Hope the glass doesn’t hit him on the way out.
Read more at the original source: Adman pitches idea that adwomen don't want to lead, soon will be ex-adman
Read more information about this subject at http://insidiouseo.com/seo/chicago