If you want a better future, you have to imagine it first, according to David Morey, Vice Chairman of Core Strategy Group, an innovative Washington marketing and communications firm.  “Winning always begins with practical dreaming,” Morey says.  “You’ve got to have a clearly defined destination in mind, that ‘shining city on the hill’ toward which you and your team keep working.”  And in today’s business climate, you’ll need all the imagination and creativity you can get, because in current market conditions, the only certainty is change.  “The rules of leadership, business, and communication have completely changed,” Morey writes.  “The old rules are gone.  Change rules.”

But for women in business, the world hasn’t changed quite enough.  Nearly five decades after the Equal Pay Act, there are still substantial penalties for Working While Female. In the U.S., women earn 77 cents for every dollar in a man’s paycheck.  High status in the workplace is no protection against the wage gap, either.  One recent Gallup poll found that 70% of women executives thought they earned as much as their male counterparts; in fact, they earned 62% of what their male colleagues did.  There’s a similar gap for women-owned businesses, too: in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the average revenues of women-owned businesses were 27% of the average revenues of majority men-owned businesses.

Obviously, we can work to eliminate the gender gap, but complete equality isn’t going to be here any time soon.  In the mean time, women can improve their financial position and, incidentally, help change the world, by adopting the same imaginative, revolutionary strategies that have helped propel such business leaders as Apple, Google, and Starbucks to the top.  David Morey calls these companies “Insurgents, who harbor an attitude of difference, move faster, and welcome change as opportunity.  What do they have in common?  They have boldness, an outsider’s perspective, curiosity, and imagination.  They also have classic leadership skills, planning, and tactics.”  In his book, “The Underdog Advantage,” in his public speaking, and in his consulting work, Morey analyzes these innovative and iconoclastic companies and points out the factors that contribute to their success.  “The key lesson to take from these market leaders is not the traditional corporate cliché of ‘act like a leader,’” he says, “but rather to continue acting like the hungry, scrappy little company that fought its way to leadership in the first place.  And the same thing goes for individual success as for corporate success.  Developing a revolutionary culture begins in the mind and heart of the individual.”

For more information, see:

Laura Fitzpatrick, “Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men?”  Time Magazine, Tuesday, April 20, 2010 (for U.S. census figures on the gender gap in wages: women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man)

Renee Martin, “Women Entrepreneurs: Close the Gender Gap and Dream Big.”

Forbes.com, June 7, 2010.  (Figures on revenues of women-owned businesses)

Deborah Kolb, Judith Williams, and Carol Frohlinger, “Confronting the Gender Gap in Wages.”  WomensMedia (womensmedia.com), April 14, 2009.  (Statistics in re the pay gap for women executives)