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Power Sheet – September 2, 2015

Women leaders are not only in the news, they’re at the top of the news, and it isn’t a fluke. Consider:

-Fed chair Janet Yellen may well become the world’s most watched leader of either sex over the next two weeks, as the Fed decides whether to raise interest rates at its meeting September 17. The decision, either way, could plausibly add or erase trillions of dollars of asset value around the world. And then she’ll be under even more scrutiny.

-General Electric yesterday named Beth Comstock a vice chair of the company, the first ever woman in that role. Vice chairman is an unusual corporate title, but it has long signified high stature at GE, where the CEO by tradition is called “the chairman.” The company has three other vice chairman. Comstock will lead GE’s efforts in what it calls the industrial Internet, an initiative that’s central to the corporate strategy.

-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced yesterday she is pregnant with twins, due in December. That’s a leadership issue for Mayer, who received substantial criticism in 2012 when she took only two weeks of maternity leave after giving birth. Yahoo now offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, but Mayer says she’ll again take “limited time away” from her job. Is she undercutting other women employees with a stance of “do as I say, not as I do,” which some will again accuse her of doing? She’ll have to give a coherent answer.

-IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, having played a leading role in managing the Greek crisis, is again influencing markets with her views on volatility in China and beyond. Yesterday, in a speech just hours before Western markets opened and plunged, she lowered expectations for global growth in developed economies, Latin America, and especially Asia.

We can expect this trend—increasing global leadership by women—to build. Substantial evidence shows that, on average, women make teams more effective because they’re stronger than men in the skills of social sensitivity, which turn out to be the key to a team’s ability to generate a lot of ideas and collectively judge them well. That’s important, as ever more of the world’s work gets done by teams. Women also, on average, take a wider view of a situation than men do and consider more factors in making decisions—exactly what companies need when they’re in growing danger of being disrupted by an out-of-nowhere competitor. (Shameless plug: These arguments and the research supporting them are elaborated in my new book, Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will.)

A looming question for us in the media: When will it no longer seem worthy of mention that several women leaders are all in the news at once?

What We’re Reading Today

McDonald’s bets on breakfast

It will begin offering breakfast all day long starting Oct. 6. The move by CEO Steve Easterbrook could pay off big at a time when the fast-food chain has struggled amid changing consumer tastes. USA Today

Uber now faces a class action suit

A judge in California has ruled that Uber drivers arguing they should be considered full-time employees instead of independent contractors can file as a class. Travis Kalanick’s ride sharing service could now face a suit from up to 160,000 drivers in California, as opposed to just three. NBC News

Jeb’s new no-holds-barred strategy

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush will begin to attack Donald Trump’s record in videos and on the campaign trail. It’s a necessary tightrope to cross since Bush’s poll numbers have plummeted. But Trump seems eager to fight.  Fortune

A conglomerate worth cheering 

While General Electric slims down, Honeywell continues to hum along. In July, it announced a $5.1 billion purchase of a gas meter company, the largest purchase under CEO Dave Cote. Can Cote keep the momentum going as revenues climb over $40 billion? WSJ

Cameron goes on the defensive against low wage employers

British Prime Minister David Cameron says that companies that don’t pay the ‘national living wage’ will face tougher fines. The Guardian

The inside man

The State Department probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails has revealed that Sidney Blumenthal, a former journalist and longtime Clinton confidant, often emailed with tips, advice, and news. Blumenthal was not allowed to take a job at the State Department, yet emails confirm that Clinton still valued his input while being paid by the Clinton Foundation. NYT

Building a Better Leader

Innovating in the Navy

It’s not easy for a young recruit, due to the military’s bureaucracy, which is why Lt. Cmdr. Ben Kohlmann is going to business school instead. Navy Times

Reagan outpolls Trump at work

Your staff will notice a Donald Trump-like personality, they just won’t want to work with him. Fortune

95% of companies admit to hiring the wrong people

But they don’t know how much it costs them. Fast Company

Worth Considering

Got talented friends?

A new recruiting startup wants them and is willing to pay $4,500 for a reference that lands a new job. Fortune

1-in-3 government employees use personal email…

…for official business. Little more than half (56%) said they always keep security in mind when sharing with third-parties.  Daily Caller

Pay raises coming in 2016

Staffing firm Robert Half estimates starting salaries to rise by an average of 4% next year. Inc.

Feeling sick?

Sleep more. New research has found a link between lack of sleep and the common cold. And in another report, a mid-day nap can reduce blood pressure among middle-aged men. CNN

Up or Out

Luxury brand company LVMH has named Ian Rogers as its chief digital officer. Rogers, a former Apple Music executive in charge of radio, abruptly left last week to the surprise of many.  NYT

Fresh Markets has hired former Food Lion CEO Richard Anicetti as its new CEO.  MarketWatch

Josh Miller, a former product manager at Facebook, will become the first ever director of product at the White House.  Quartz

Fortune Reads and Videos

Target to offer booze

Following Whole Foods Market’s lead, Target has filed for a liquor license in Chicago for an upcoming store. Fortune

Carly Fiorina gets a big break

Due to a rules tweak by CNN, Fiorina could make it to the main stage for the second GOP presidential debate. Fortune

The drone fleets a-comin’

The FAA has approved licenses for 324 drones by a startup called Measure, which studies strategies companies can use with drones. Fortune

7-Eleven begins deliveries in select stores

Sorry, no Slurpees. Fortune

Today’s Quote

“Allow me to be clear: the hours I put in at Amazon were MY CHOICE. I was enrolled in The University of Washington’s Foster Technology MBA program while I was in charge of building 3 new Amazon retail categories and going though an emotional breakup when I didn’t sleep for those 4 days. No one ever forced me to do this – I chose it and it sucked at the time but in no way was I asked or forced by management to do this.” — Former Amazon employee Dina Vaccari  Fortune

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau