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More about numbers - height and success

Age and retirement struck a few chords with my readers and I received some lovely, funny emails on the subject.

I was amazed at how many people are actively trying to hide their ages from their colleagues because of the potential negative impact.   Its not easy to do, either, because our SA ID numbers immediately disclose age, and confidentiality is far from guaranteed.   I don't know how many other countries use age as part of their identification systems????

And then there is height.   As if we can influence our height or age!

Why do we define men by how tall they are?   I understand that tall men are more likely to get into senior positions, and they are often put into leadership roles at school, too.  It appears height grants you gravitas.

 The following article from Business Insider quotes Harvard Review:
Men who are at least 6' tall make an average salary of $5,525 more than their shorter, 5'5 counterparts, says Harvard University,
Another study polled half of all the Fortune 500 companies about the height of their CEOs. On average, male CEOs were three inches taller than the average man at just under 6'.

We have also built the concept that short men are more aggressive and defensive (short man syndrome) into our western ethos.   Reading and watching media coverage of actor, Tom Cruise, carries this concept forward.   He has done some odd stuff, but his height is frequently used in an extremely derogatory way.  Contrast Michael J Fox, who does not seem to have received the same negative, height comments.  The figure below shows  a Tom sized guy on the left at 1.7 and a Michael sized one on the right at 1.63 (both heights according to Google).

Tom has certainly risen to great heights in his career.   And yes, I see the irony of that sentence.   I have read that taller people are considered to come from better nutritional backgrounds so the appeal of tall people has many aspects to it, and goes back centuries.

In my reading, I have not found that height has quite the same negative impact for women, but weight, ah, that's another story....

We credit all sorts of attributes to people because of numbers, none of which have anything to do with their abilities.    Unconscious bias impacts on so many of our decisions that it needs to be thought about, analysed and addressed at every level.


Links, Notes and References

Career Path 360
Free Bias Test
Angela Peacock
Accsys

tschroenn@accsys.co.za
@TerylSchroenn

Note

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