(written by a man)
I'll be the first to admit it- I have always considered women to be the stronger sex. And, no I'm not the product of a single mother household, nor was I raised by a a colony of fair maids and maidens on the Island of Lesbos. In fact, I had about as predictably a male oriented household as one could imagine growing up in a New York suburb. My dad, a blue collar worker, came home every night to dinner on the table plated before him by my dear mother. And while my mom did manage to squeeze in a part time job, all the while doing her full time 'volunteer' work of all the laundry, all the cleaning, helping with homework, balancing the bills, running errands, shopping, playing the role of nurse, doctor, therapist, tutor, art teacher, music tutor, my opinions of women have actually been formed by my experiences since I left home.
Having been a business owner for over 25 years, I have at times considered myself quite the visionary. I have invented and dreamed up more products and services than I can remember.. In companies that I have owned, I have never been in short supply of brilliant ideas that can take our profits to the stratosphere. Nary a quarter has gone by without me proclaiming that I would double, triple or even quadruple our business over the next six months. As an entrepreneur I am literally brimming over with self confidence. I'm driven by the utmost belief in my super human abilities to convert anything I dream up into reality. No one can stop me once I put my mind to it. I am a genius. A legend. A true captain of industry destined for greatness.
But let's be real- that's just the testosterone speaking.
In reality, and left to my own devices, I am capable of mucking up almost anything I put my mind to. Especially in business. I think fast and act fast, which is usually a recipe for crashing fast. If left unchecked, my male dominated ego will seek out the fastest and easiest solution to whatever problem at hand. Sales down this week? Let's double our advertising budget! Employees not getting along? Get over it! Can't get to work during a blizzard? Don't you own skiis?! Not enough visitors to the website? Make another blog post! (kidding.)
Lucky for me, my CFO is a woman. Sure I'm the name at the top of the company pyramid, but I'm really just a figurehead. She runs the show. The whole show. What she says, I do. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I couldn't have it any other way. I'd be flipping burgers if I didn't have the good sense to run anything and everything by the woman behind the curtain. And I'm not guessing this is true, I know from experience it is true. As an entrepreneur my failures far outnumber my successes. In fact I'm batting about .090 lifetime overall. However, now that I have a proper batting coach, I'm Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter all rolled up into one. My business is solvent. It may be boring, but it's solvent. And it's not just at the top of my company structure either. Of all the employees I've ever had at one time or another, the best performing have almost always been women (and in sales positions, it's not even close). In my humble opinion, women should be running more companies than they currently are (although that is trending upwards), and should be in far more positions of influence in industry, business, politics, and commerce.
Here are six reason why I think so:
1. Women Focus on Results, Not Credit.
At the annual holiday party I'm the one who gets to sit at the head of the table. I get to make the fantastic toast congratulating everyone for another good year. As CEO, I am the face of the company and so I get the glory when we are successful. However, my CFO put the wheels in motion literally months ago that made all the success possible. The advertising budget and growth strategy she devised have paid off in dividends. And the female sales reps? Yeah, they were tops in performance this year. Again. Why? Probably because are focused on high paychecks, not high fives.
2. Women are Fantastic Listeners.
It's no longer conjecture. There are now numerous scientific studies that demonstrate differences between the way men's and women's brains are wired. Women's brains are very well-connected across hemispheres in the region of the cerebrum. Given what we know from previous functional studies of this organ, this means women are typically better then men at using their intuitive right hemisphere and logical faculties in the left at the same time (men's brains are better connected within hemispheres). In my own experience as a salesman I'm oftentimes thinking about what I am going to say next while I'm supposedly listening to someone. When I walk the floor of the sales office, it's always the men who are yammering away, while the women are quietly listening to their clients needs.
3. Women Plan Better.
I was chatting to a female counterpart on an industry forum page recently about a new idea I had. As the conversation went on she started asking me asking questions about my business model, what sort of competition I'd be facing, the immediate and long term needs of my customers, and what marketing plans I had in place. I explained that I hadn't gotten around to worrying about those kind of details yet and tried to steer the conversation back to how was passionate I was for my idea. Again came the questions not about the idea, but about its implementation. At first it seemed as though she was poo-pooing my idea outright. But she wasn't. She thought it was a great idea, but had already moved past the exitement of it all and was thinking about how it could work. It was then that I realized I have had that same experience many times when brainstorming with women. It isn't that they are dispassionate about things, its just that they are way more practical.
5. Women Are (usually) More Trustworthy.
Judas of Isceriat, Benedict Arnold, Richard Nixon, Steven Glass, Kenneth Lay, Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Joe Nacchio, Jeffrey Skilling, Robert Rubin, Chuck Conway, Angelo Mozilo, Bernie Madoff, Donald Trump, every thieving manager in the music industry ever, the Amway dudes, most of Congress, most politicians, those guys at Wells Fargo, most mortgage brokers, most of the people working in my industry etc. See a trend anyone? This isn't to say that women can't lie or don't lie. But all things considered, I mean seriously.
6. Women Are Used to Overcoming Difficulties.
The first time I ever heard the expression "glass ceiling" was when Hillary Clinton ran for president in '08. I was 34. Although the term had only been in use since the 1980's women have been blasting through one glass ceiling after another for centuries. From the first woman doctor in the US (Dr. Elizabteh Blackwell 1849) through the right to vote (1920) to the first legitimately elected female president (yeah I just said that) women have had to overcome the prejudice, resistance and sexism of a male dominated world time and time again. New data shows that 60% of undergraduate degree holders are now women, yet they still earn 33% less than their male counterparts. So essentially, a woman has to be a third more productive to earn the same paycheck as a male counterpart in the same position. So those female sales reps from #1 above? That's right- they are killing it.
And so, to every female in the workforce- from CEOs to office cleaners, teachers, firefighters, doctors, lawyers, nurses, clerks, builders, race care drivers, and to every other women on planet earth who tolerates the messes you have to deal with day in and day out by your male counterparts (sippy-cup spills to massive oil spills)- I salute you.