Jim Collins is an American business consultant, author, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth. Collins frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune and other magazines, journals, etc. He is also the author of several books: How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, and Good to Great.
Fortune caught up with Collins recently and asked "When you look at the traits of your winning managers, do they suggest an advantage for either men or women?"
Collins replied, "The best leaders we've studied, men or women, distinguish themselves first and foremost by their Level 5 ambition: being fiercely ambitious for a cause or company larger than themselves, channeling ego into that larger goal, infused with the will to do whatever it takes to make good on that ambition. Four of the women leaders I've written about previously all share this fundamental distinction: Wendy Kopp of Teach for America (my own choice for entrepreneur of the decade); Anne Mulcahy, who saved Xerox (XRX); Katharine Graham of the Washington Post, one of the 10 greatest CEOs of the 20th century; and Frances Hesselbein, who revitalized the Girl Scouts and is now CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute."