I’ve never understood most battles in the business world. I’ve also never understood why we often assume that any struggle, unless it’s dealing with hard numbers, is a zero sum game. Men versus women, old versus young and analog versus digital make little sense to me, yet the arguments never die. Ever.
Now we’re being told that women, long treated as lesser being in the business world, are on the rise. This rise is attributed to a long-awaited appreciation of traditionally feminine traits like collaboration, emotional reactions and a more long-term view of both business and the customer-client relationship. While I certainly agree that these traits are good for any industry, they certainly don’t require women. They require well-rounded humans.
According to John Hagel, the following masculine traits are on their way out:
-Long-term relationships are no good
-Short-term transactions (battles) are key
-Each interaction should be treated as a separate event. Get what you can and get out
-Emotion is to be avoided
-Vulnerability is unacceptable
-Dispassionately seek to understand the world us is a goal
-Complex systems should always be reduced to their simplest components
-Change is bad, control is good
And these feminine traits are on their way in:
-Long-term relationships should be nurtured
-To understand, we must adopt a more holistic approach and seek out patterns
-Communication styles need to be richer and more nuanced
-Focus should be on metaphor, stories and images that engage the imagination
-Feeling and intuition should be integrate to motivate participants
-Change is good and a powerful growth catalyst
This type of shift will be especially tough for men and women who’ve trained themselves to have masculine traits. As the need for deeper relationships increases, those who’ve long ruled with fear, bullying or plain assholeness won’t last long. The market will simply not need them any longer.
It means we’ll get a helluva lot more points for being ourselves, and much, much less for being the big c*** on the street. If you wouldn’t share at least a semi-intimate moment with someone, the chances of doing business with them lessen.
I also think this will also mean the end of men- or women-only companies. More attention will be paid to individual traits, rather than typical gender archetypes. In the PR world long dominated by women, at least it sure seems like that in the Phoenix metro area, this could mean quite a bit of shuffling.
In an industry that has often measure success by hard numbers (earned media, etc.), what do you think this means for anyone in the business? Have you found a similar shift with your clients? Other firms?