Just read an interesting discussion on HBR Women CEOs: Why So Few? whereNancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer, a Dutch publishing and information company, recalled holding a strategy meeting in which the press in Holland wrote that she wore a suit that was the same color as the KLM flight attendants’. As she told the New York Times recently, “Here we were talking about the plans for the business and that’s what they focused on.”
Follow the comments if you have time, pretty interesting! Sure it’s an age old topic, and sure this is fuel for females apparently to wear punching gloves and knock out male CEOs, I got caught in the idea that to look professional you have to stick to wearing certain colours. Why? Who said that? Why have we trained ourselves to accept black suits and white shirts as the norm? Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing black, white, grey and looking “sharp”. I’m not sure I won’t look sharp and professional if additional colours were to be introduced.
As Ben Zander, one of my favourite speaker on transformational leadership puts it, “it’s all invented!“. After all, don’t we have a world of people admiring the fashion choices made by Michelle Obama? Yes I would agree that there is such a thing as the right ‘time and place’ and Michelle Obama would not show up at a Habitat for Humanity building site in a diamond-sequined ball gown. And certain colours are more fitting than others for a circus than a board room.
In terms of people and places, in my 20 something years, if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that Life isn’t always black and white, it’s not even grey. It’s actually quite colourful! There are as many colours as you can imagine and many more than you can. While I might prefer some combinations over the others, I don’t have to like them all. And it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
How about that? On this cold white-grey, dreary Toronto Saturday morning, I am wondering dear world, can we not invite some more colours in?