Our age is not short of great ideas — of ways new technology can be applied to fix global industries and increase prosperity. But we are starting to notice a serious deficit in Silicon Valley: a shortage of great leaders.
If Silicon Valley would stop handicapping itself by only promoting white men to leadership positions, maybe its firms would have an easier time of finding good leaders.
As of 2013, over 80% of executives in Silicon Valley were white. 13.9% were Asian (despite making up a larger proportion of the rank and file), and, all other races combined only made up a paltry — well, you computer geniuses can do the math, and it’s not pretty. The diversity woes don’t end there. Only 30% of the total workforce is women, and the percentage is even lower in tech positions, closer to 20%. How can Silicon Valley expect to draw on such a narrow range of talent and end up with anything but a dearth of leadership? This is the only logical outcome.
Instead of citing nine books written by men, only one of them not white, and quoting a bunch of white people (and Jesus and Lao-Tzu, for good measure), why not broaden the talent pool from which you are trying to find leaders. I don’t think reading Peter Drucker or John Wooden is going to turn some engineer who doesn’t even want to be a manager into leadership material. Some people are interested in being leaders, and others are not. Just as an example, it happens there are people on Planet Earth known as black women, many of whom are capable of great things. Some may even want to lead a Silicon Valley firm.
Instead of recommending books, I think it’s past time Silicon Valley acknowledge its demographic problem and take real measures to create inroads that lead to a more diverse workplace. If Silicon Valley has leadership shortages, broadening its talent pool is surely in its best interest.