How important is sex appeal in business?

USA Today asked a panel of super-geniuses this question and here are some of the answers.

ChromeDome, Steve Covey, answered wisely. He said that he'd prefer to call it feminine charm because sex implies more than is really going on.

Young Jeff Sonnenfeld, Associate Dean at Yale, bewailed the fact that women in exec roles suffer for their good looks because jealous people hate them and others think they're bimbos. He didn't mention the hijab as a means of liberation but he did point out that these babes do feel pressured to wear glasses and severe hairstyles. Pity.

Earl Stafford, CEO of Unitech, says that sex does sell - from "females" who are attractive. But only in the short term. This suggests that if you've got something else going for you, sex will give you a chance to put it on display. (Like, in an interview. We're not talking about casting couches here).

Debbie Himsel, genius author of Leadership Sopranos Style, says that good looks are an important asset but in the end you've got to deliver. Deliver what? Pizza? She claims that none of the successful female leaders she's known would use sex appeal to get ahead. But she doesn't mention if they've got anything to use.

Julio Arrieta, CEO of Adecco, says that sex sells in advertising but not in the back office. He claims that, back in the day, when business was fat, "males" and "females" leveraged sexuality to climb the ol' beanstalk. Now that lean is in, sex isn't so important. He could be right. Anorexia is not attractive.

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