Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Gender Big Mac Index

Big Mac

The Big Mac Index was invented by the magazine The Economist in 1986, as a lighthearted way to measure whether global currencies are at their “correct” level.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women in the USA earn 78 cents on the dollar.  Put another way, that constitutes 22% less pay than their male counterparts for doing the SAME work.  So let’s apply this to the Big Mac Index, by calling it the Gender Big Mac Index.

Gender Big Mac Index

In the USA, a Big Mac costs about $4.79.  Let’s combine this statistic with the BLS statistic of how much women in the USA make, regardless of profession; even in fields where women dominate.

Scenario 1:  A man walks into McDonald’s pays $4.79, and gets to eat the entire burger.  In Marketing Economics, this is called: a fair exchange.

Scenario 2: A woman walks into a McDonald’s, sees the price is listed at $4.79, but it will cost her $5.84.  In Marketing Economics, this is called: the two subjects are operating in entirely different economies.

Gender Big Mac Index Intensified

Here is where things get tricky…in the above Scenario 2, the woman pays more for her Big Mac because she earns less.  The Big Mac is listed at the same price for both genders, but the woman has less to spend, so the product is actually more costly for her, given the imposed structure.

Gender Big Mac Index Intensified is where we actually have different prices posted for people based on gender, and we combine this occurrence with the BLS statistic on less earning potential.

See photo example below of my local hair salon.  Women pay $10-$19 (33%-38%) more for receiving a haircut.  This social practice is so common and omnipresent, that no one questions it.


If McDonald’s were to follow this cultural norm, then this means that the American woman’s $5.84 Big Mac will now cost her $7.42 to $7.66 ($4.79 base price + $1.05 differential pay increase + $1.58 to $1.82 gender-based price discrepancies).  Meanwhile, the American man is still paying just $4.79 for a Big Mac.  This means American women are expected to live in a society where they pay 60% more, simply for having different chromosomes.

Organizational Implications

You may already see the big picture here and how this all connects.  Imagine the employee who has worked his entire career at your organization.  Along the way, he and his wife gave birth to four girls.  Of the four girls, one is a single mom, another is lesbian, a third died prematurely, and the last one is a single “starving artist.”  NOTE: They are all women who are not relying on a man who can tend to the 60% price inflation.  Now it’s time for your employee to retire.  If he does not have to financially support five women, then let’s hope he has put enough away for his retirement to take care of himself, because the Gender Big Mac Index Intensified has demonstrated that it would be too costly for his daughters to cover his expenses, since goods/services already cost them more than half the price it costs John Doe.

Talent will go to those organizations which…

  • Practice true meritocracy;
  • Address unconscious and conscious bias;
  • Prize work/life balance;
  • Actively listen to employee needs.

Robble, robble.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, completed the Executive Management Development Training Program at McDonald’s Corporation Hamburger University.  She is a Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.   We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2015



Copenhagen is Openhagen


Copenhagen is spelled København in Danish.  (Note: They are NOT Dutch).  Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and its name means “Merchants Harbor.” The kingdom of Denmark was once large geographically, since it ruled Sweden, Norway, Estonia, St. Thomas, founded Normandy in France, and claimed parts of England and Ireland.  Today, it continues to rule Greenland and the Faroe Islands; and, despite its diminished size, it also continues to bear great influence on the world at large.

Denmark continues to appear in the Top 10 highest Quality of Life locations (see  Which begs the questions: Is the life/work you’re living one of high quality?  This is where corporations can shape its culture according to the same criteria and metrics used in these studies, to determine which cultures thrive, despite possibly having few resources.  The QOL Metrics used are the following:

  1. Political and Social Environment (Corporate Translation: Inclusion)
  2. Economic Environment (Corporate Translation: Transparent Meritocracy)
  3. Socio-Cultural Environment (Corporate Translation: Diversity)
  4. Medical and Health Considerations (Corporate Translation: Plenary Health Benefits)
  5. School and Education (Corporate Translation: Continuing Adult Education/Tuition Reimbursement)
  6. Public Services and Transportation (Corporate Examples: Campus bicycles, support for carpooling)
  7. Recreation (Corporate Examples: Happy Hour, Company Picnic, Teambuilding)
  8. Consumer Goods (Corporate Examples: Heavily subsidized or included perks company products/services)
  9. Housing (Corporate Examples: Heavily subsidized or included perk residences)
  10. Natural Environment (Corporate Examples: Virtual work and/or open space to incorporate nature, such as trees, plants, waterfalls/fountains, gardens)

Based on my latest visit to Denmark, one can see examples of the above practiced, and I offer just three specific examples below.

  1. Political and Social Environment. True Freedom of Speech without fear of reprise or retaliation is respected here to challenge Critical Thinking.  So much so, that from the Danes’ point of view, Americans are somewhat Hierarchical, because bosses ask for input/feedback and don’t seem to like what they hear (A Few Good Men clickable, Jack Nicholson); whereas, the Danes feel fairly comfortable telling even their bosses’ boss, “Keep working on it.  You’re on the right track.”  This social norm led to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to print a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, yet Danes continue to receive Muslims into their country, despite death threats made against the cartoonist, and the killings of innocent Danes – in country and abroad.

For the upcoming election for Prime Minister, candidate John Erik Wagner poses in the nude (with the exception of his cowboy hat and gun holster), with full exposure to his male member.  (This following photo has been edited as a courtesy to the American Puritanical heritage)


  1. Socio-Cultural Environment. The Danes have adapted to learning English as a way to stay internationally competitive. To have a “seat at the table,” Danes have no qualms about switching languages to communicate needs.  When I asked, “Bliver I ikke vrede når fremmede menneske taler til jer på Engelsk?” (Aren’t you angry when people/foreigners speak to you in English?), they would simply offer me a quizzical look as if to say, “Why would we?” and answer, “No.”  Meanwhile, countless Americans believe that those who come to the USA should already speak fluent English upon arrival; and, furthermore, suspect that when others speak another language, they are talking about you.  There is little to no mutual reciprocity made of learning a colleagues’ language in the USA.  The “Melting Pot” blends one way.
  1. Public Services and Transportation. 62% of Copenhageners use bicycles to commute – even the Queen cycles. Metro, bus, and train are abundant; and, retirees and children under 12 ride for free.  This eliminates the hiring question: Do you have reliable transportation?  Incidentally, Tesla (battery-energized) vehicles are competitive, since there is a 180% tax on gas-driven vehicles.

While Bill (a.k.a. William Shakespeare) aptly wrote, “Something is rotten in the state Denmark,” perhaps it is the attitude of those who do not practice sufficient Critical Thinking…those who judge without questioning the grounded logic for which philosopher Søren Kierkegård and so many other Danes have contributed to the world.

What thrives within your organization?


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Danish-government certified Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2015

Tool: StrengthsFinder


Organizations develop people; it either forms them or deforms them.  Wise organizations build on strengths; not on weaknesses.  This can be achieved by focusing on your talent’s strengths, and then placing high demands on them.  Therefore, it is imperative that each person understands his/her strengths, so that s/he can apply them to areas within the organization where s/he can make the most impactful contribution.  One tool that enables talent to recognize his/her strengths is Gallup’s tool StrengthsFinder (

I recently delivered a workshop on StrengthsFinder for umpteen executives.  They were all high-potentials (Hi-Po’s) from the most prominent organizations within the city of Nashville.  At the beginning of the session one participant asked me how they were selected, and it became evident to them from the tool results as to why they were selected by their supervisors: They all know how to make things happen; they execute.


The question begs: What else may be considered as Hi-Po qualities?  According to StrengthsFinder, there are three other domains of excellence, aside from Executing; namely:

  1. Influencing– Selling ideas and the team inside/outside of the organization
  2. Relationship Building– The essential glue which holds teams together
  3. Strategic Thinking– What keeps teams focused on what could be possible

Thirty-four strengths fall into these four domains.

·   Achiever

·   Arranger

·   Belief

·   Consistency

·   Deliberative

·   Discipline

·   Focus

·   Responsibility

·   Restorative

· ·  Activator

·  Command

·  Communication

·  Competition

·  Maximizer

·  Self-Assurance

·  Significance

·  Woo

· ·   Adaptability

·   Developer

·   Connectedness

·   Empathy

·   Harmony

·   Includer

·   Individualization

·   Positivity

·   Relator

· · Analytical

· Context

· Futuristic

· Ideation

· Input

· Intellection

· Learner

· Strategic

A series of exercises are conducted typically on the highest ranking 5-10 strengths. Here is a sampling of a Top 5, with a short synopsis:

Strategic: It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large.  This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.  Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.

Connectedness: Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected.  Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger.  Some may call it the collective unconscious.  We must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves.  You are a bridge builder for people of different cultures.

Learner: You love to learn.  You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence.  It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one.  The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Input: You are inquisitive.  You might collect information—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects.  Yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting.  The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity.  If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives.  If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts.

Maximizer: Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling.  Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you.  Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength.  And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence.  You polish the pearl until it shines.  This natural sorting of strengths means that others see you as discriminating.


Peter Drucker

Business Management Guru Peter Drucker said a great deal about strengths.  Below is one of his quotes:

“A (person) should never be appointed to a managerial position if his/her vision focuses on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths. The manager who always knows what people cannot do, but never sees what they can do, will undermine the spirit of the organization. Of course, a manager should have a clear grasp of the limitations of his/her people, but s/he should see these as limitations on what they can do, and as a challenge to them to do better.”

Peter Block

Organization Development Guru Peter Block also contributes a great deal about leveraging strengths from your group(s).  Block describes the small group as “the unit of transformation and the container for the experience of belonging.”  His questions stem from “gift mindedness,” which is what Drucker references to as the Biblical parable of talents: What gifts can we share with each other?  This is how communities and organizations need to assess in order to maintain and develop efficiencies.


Leadership Succession and Development experts Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel agree that effective leaders must learn to value all functions – which can be considered as strengths within a system:

“As managers step out of their traditional functional role and become responsible for a full spectrum of activities, they need to take the time to learn about the key ingredients of individual disciplines and how they integrate from a total business viewpoint to produce results.  On the surface, this isn’t a particularly difficult task; it just takes some time, intelligence, and perseverance.  What becomes difficult is learning to value all functions appropriately.  From this leadership point on, functional prejudice becomes a serious problem.  It can result in everything from overreliance on a particular function to failing to maximize the contribution of one or more functions.”


We can determine where organizations place their subjective frame of reference by using tools such as StrengthsFinder.  If an organization only promotes Executors, it may be setting itself up for failure if there is little to no recognition for the value brought by those who excel in Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.  These qualities must not be overlooked in order to have a thriving, dynamic, and diverse system.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is an inquisitive, pearl-diving Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit


Block, Peter. Community.

Charan, Ram; Drotter, Stephen; Noel, James. The Leadership Pipeline, pp 86-87.

Drucker, Peter. The Practice of Management.

Rath, Tom. StrengthsFinder 2.0

This blog originally appeared on The Good Men Project, 6/2/2015: