I have read a lot of published material on women and men’s differences in business. In my opinion, I have found nothing of substance or relevance. There are however some interesting dynamics that I think are note-worthy.
I remember reading a Herald article in 2009 saying more women had been achieving more bachelor-level degrees than their male counterparts for the best part of a decade. Now 10 years on, that has only escalated so it is not surprising that we are seeing continual growth in the number of females in top jobs. This does not necessarily indicate significant change in attitude, but rather the difference in the numbers of women with a higher educational qualification.
It will not be a surprise to anyone that technology is changing the business environment faster than ever before and the business world is in a severely disrupted phase, which may be our new reality. This has and will continue to force businesses to change faster than ever before, which in turn is driving a massive demand for smart, well-educated people with fresh minds and new thinking.
The number of women achieving senior management and leadership positions across the public and private sector in the last two decades has continued to increase. These women have all worked very hard for their success and in many cases had to be better than better to get break through. This too should escalate the speed of change and help further reduce generalised gender-based bias.
I believe the opportunities for well-educated people with well-developed emotional and intellectual intelligence will be unprecedented. We have to achieve significantly better results, and to do this, we need everyone to contribute. Given women have consistently outnumbered men in higher education statistics for the last two decades, it seems almost certain that this trend will continue. This must result in a broader mindset change at every level of business and organisational culture, including at senior leadership and boardroom levels.
There is substantial evidence that shows we all have individual personality preferences and differences which are both strengths and weaknesses. How each of us then identify, develop and apply these makes a significant difference in both our ability to contribute and the opportunities we attract.
How to find your differences:
You may not be aware of your differences or how to identify them. There are a lot of books and personal development courses that help people learn more about how they think, and identify their “Why”. One of these books that I know to be good is Simon Sinek’s, “Know your why” or watch his Ted talk “Start with why” on YouTube.
Disc profile, psychometric testing, or some sort of personality test can also help you understand what some of your strengths are. You should be able to source this service online, but if you can’t, I am a certified profiler so simply email me.
Daily journaling and developing a dream board can also help you know what you want and how to tap into the things that you are passionate about. These are likely to be aligned to where you also find your infinite energy. For some people, this connection is enough to start their journey.
Meditation and Yoga can also be a great way to free yourself from what you think and allow you to connect with what you feel. For some of us, this is the only way we can get to a state of inner peace and in that space, our differences will become clear.
I strongly encourage you to value your differences as special and see them as a wonderful gift you can develop. You might also like to write down your differences together with anything else that comes to you. You may try two or three of the above techniques, with each one helping you uncover deeper insights. Just write it all down, without judgement. Take time to sit with your answers and to contemplate what you have written down without judgement or forcing yourself to have an opinion. You will know when you are clear and it will help you feel excited about your career or business and your life.
Mark Collins is a specialist food service and hospitality business adviser. Check him out here.