At a hotel on a mountainside above Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday night, female corporate executives and women in politics held a private dinner to talk about the gender gap in leadership worldwide.
KPMG U.S. chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie, who assumed her role in July 2015, was at the Davos Schatzalp for the annual WEF Women Leaders Dinner, and on Friday recalled what was discussed. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and IMF chief Christine Lagarde were among those in attendance, but women “who are maybe a few steps away from the C-suite” were there too, Doughtie said. The goal was to not just talk about the problem, but to identify one or two things that attendees could do in their organizations to make a difference in fixing the leadership deficit.
One consensus was that women in the next generation need more encouragement to “take risks, be confident, and go for it,” Doughtie said, who was in Davos for the World Economic Forum that concludes Friday.
To Doughtie, that means those at the top of an organization must hold their leadership team accountable for providing opportunities to a diverse mix of up-and-comers. “As I’m having those conversations, I’m asking, ‘Tell me about the talent that you have on your list that you’re personally responsible for getting to the next level,'” she said. “It’s not just about setting quotas and trying to reach certain percentages. To make those percentages happen, there have to be real names associated with the goals,” she said.
At the individual level, women have to get over the fear of failure and embrace opportunities to progress in their careers. “Too many times,” she said, “I’m in a position of having to encourage people to do that.”
She says she didn’t necessarily have “every single thing” needed for the job of chairman and CEO when she took over, “but that’s the importance of building a team,” she said. “You’re not doing it all by yourself. I think there’s a tendency with some women especially to internalize, and think, ’I have to be perfect at everything before I’m going to put myself out there,'” she said. “We’ve got to change that mindset. And I think it starts with confidence.”
This essay first appeared in World’s Most Powerful Women, Fortune’s daily newsletter for global businesswomen.