Heads Up, Girlfriends: Here's How Hillary Clinton And Michelle Obama Are Winning The C-Suite

Pitifully incremental progress by generations of women executives seeking the c-suite, along with equally pitiful and now declining numbers of women in Fortune 500 CEO seats, argue for today's business women seeking the c-suite to bag a failed campaign strategy.

Consider the evidence:

  • For instance, in Chicago, after nigh on forty years of asking for diversity to be "recognized and rewarded," creating mentoring and sponsorship programs, "building in job flexibility," and trying to prove that more business women equals more business money, Chicago business women still hold less than 20% of c-suite jobs.

  • After nigh on two decades of study, here's the "key takeaway" from Chicago's leading women executives' organization: "The first year women and men will have equal representation in the boardroom and c-suite in corporate Chicago will be 2084."
  • If you're feeling like burying your head in that summer sand just about now; if you're feeling disheartened at the prospect of yet another precious summer wasted - at aimless golf outings and dilatory after-work networking, supposed to advance your career but that likely won't − just say no.

    Instead, take heart: timed for the United State of Women White House Summit led by First Lady Michelle Obama, and at her urging, 28 major companies have "signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge."

    Instead, take action: emulate Hillary Clinton's winning campaign for her c-suite spot.

    Here's the strategy she and the First Lady have figured out for us.

    • Declare − and never stop declaring − that your message is change −not prayer, not wishes, and certainly not charity. Your constant, insistent message − to everyone, everywhere − is that you will change your business for the better. Tell people they can count on it.

  • Develop specific proposals for change that convince with their purpose, clarity, and reasonableness while convincing others to advocate for your c-suite presence. Never stop proposing those proposals.
  • Display a demeanor that is demanding −on behalf of others and their well-being − while equally demanding of recognition for your accomplishments. I developed this proposal. I can explain to you exactly why it will work. You can depend on me to keep doing more of the same for you, 24-7. In fact:
  • Embody resilience and grit 24-7. For you understand that earning the privilege of working for others has to be earned 24-7, and you are fine with this truth because you understand that with constant power comes constant responsibility. Indeed, you wouldn't have it any other way.
  • That's it.

    But, in case you're quaking in your Louboutins at the thought of going through any of the hell Clinton or Obama have while executing this winning strategy, stop and think again. Remember the hell you went through to ace your business school exams. Remember your years of never-ending work, unrewarded by meaningful promotions. Remember how hard it's been to partner with people you dislike, and to remain collegial when you lost-out to a less-qualified male colleague. Remember how hard it's been to wear those Louboutins all day, every day. Remember that you've been through hell, too, but likely little to show for it.

    Do you really want any more of that? I didn't think so.

    Instead, spend your summer like Hillary and Michelle are: running a winning campaign strategy for yourself. Running like there's no tomorrow. Running with impunity. Running to be the boss. And running for the women of 2084. They deserve better than you got, and your running will help them get it.