How Women Are Changing Business

While my business coaching is aimed at supporting mom entrepreneurs, I came across this very inspiring article in Time Magazine recently that illustrates a trend I’m happy to see in the corporate world.

business women group2Women are different than men, and it turns out we do business differently than men. Well, I’m certain that the subset of women known as mompreneurs and WAHMs (work-at-home-moms) have an even more pronounced difference in their approach to business.  (I know, I know, you’re laughing with me right now thinking about the last time you were on a business call while hoisting a naked toddler on your hip with one arm and cleaning up the accident she had on the kitchen floor with the other…. Yep, that’s a different way of doing business, alright!)

Read the article below and enjoy. It’s always interesting to me when large companies start emulating some of the results-oriented business strategies of entrepreneurs.

Reposted article from time Time Magazine, May 2009

The New Work Order

Women Will Rule Business

Work-life balance. In most corporate circles, it’s the sort of phrase that gives hard-charging managers the hives, bringing to mind yoga-infused, candlelit meditation sessions and — more frustratingly — rows of empty office cubicles.

So, what if we renamed work-life balance? Let’s call it something more masculine and appealing, something like … um … Make More Money. That might lift heads off desks. A few people might show up at a meeting to discuss that new phenomenon driving the bottom line: Women, and the way we want to work, are extremely good for business.

Let’s start with the female management style. It turns out it’s not soft; it’s lucrative. The workplace-research group Catalyst studied 353 Fortune 500 companies and found that those with the most women in senior management had a higher return on equities — by more than a third.

Are the women themselves making the difference? Or are these smart firms that make smart moves, like promoting women? There is growing evidence that in today’s marketplace the female management style is not only distinctly different but also essential. Studies from Cambridge University and the University of Pittsburgh suggest that women manage more cautiously than men do. They focus on the long term. Men thrive on risk, especially when surrounded by other men. Wouldn’t the economic crisis have unfolded a bit differently if Lehman Brothers had had a few more women on board?

Women are also less competitive, in a good way. They’re consensus builders, conciliators and collaborators, and they employ what is called a transformational leadership style — heavily engaged, motivational, extremely well suited for the emerging, less hierarchical workplace. Indeed, when the Chartered Management Institute in the U.K. looked ahead to 2018, it saw a work world that will be more fluid and more virtual, where the demand for female management skills will be stronger than ever. Women, CMI predicts, will move rapidly up the chain of command, and their emotional-intelligence skills may become ever more essential.

That trend will accelerate with the looming talent shortage. The Employment Policy Foundation estimated that within the next decade there would be a 6 million – person gap between the number of college graduates and the number of college-educated workers needed to cover job growth. And who receives the majority of college and advanced degrees? Women. They also control 83% of all consumer purchases, including consumer electronics, health care and cars. Forward-looking companies understand they need women to figure out how to market to women.

All that — the female management style, education levels, purchasing clout — is already being used, by pioneering women and insightful companies, to create a female-friendly working environment, in which the focus is on results, not on time spent in the office chair. On efficiency, not schmoozing. On getting the job done, however that happens best — in a three-day week, at night after the kids go to bed, from Starbucks.

And here’s the real kicker. When a company gives employees freedom, it doesn’t just feel good or get shiny, happy workers — productivity goes up. Ask firms like Capitol One, which runs a company without walls or mandatory office time. Or Best Buy, which implemented a system called ROWE — results-only work environment — and found that productivity, in some cases, shot up 40%. Flexibility is no longer a favor to be handed out like candy at a children’s birthday party; it’s a compelling business strategy.

So we need to get rid of the nutty-crunchy moral component of the work-life balance and make a business case for it. It’s easy to do. In fact, a decade from now, companies will understand that hiring lots of women, and letting them work the way they want, will help them Make More Money.

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What about you? In what ways are you doing business “differently” from the way you did it in Corporate America? Or how is your strategy getting things done in unconventional ways? What are the benefits of being a WAHM when it comes to creating success in your business? Please share your story by leaving a coment, and help inspire all of us mompreneurs who sometimes get stuck on the setbacks that juggling work and motherhood can bring.

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3 comments

  1. The term work-life balance should be tossed by the wayside. If we, and they (the corporations) believe in the terms: work-life flexibility or work-life harmony, then perhaps we all would be less apt to fail.

    I’m with you- women are more efficient because we have no time to waste and as mothers, we are the ultimate multi-taskers.

    I spoke with the President of Vh1 recently, who shared these words with me, “In offering flexibility to my employees I am able to hire the top talent- this is a missed opportunity to other companies.” The President of Vh1 is a father, a husband and one very wise man.

    If you’re a working mom, like myself, find a company such as this that will respect your talents as a woman and a mother.

    Thanks for this great piece!!
    Bradi Nathan
    Co-Founder
    MyWorkButterfly.com
    .-= Bradi Nathan´s last blog ..Feds: Miami-based Medicare fraud ring busted =-.

  2. Bradi,

    Your comments are right on the mark. I just interviewed another mompreneur on my BlogTalkRadio show recently, and we both agree that the idea of work/life “balance” has seen its day and should be retired. She introduced the term “work/life rhythm” to me, and I think it makes a lot more sense. We’re women, we operate on all sorts of rhythms–there are certain times of day and night that are best for getting things done, and other times of day for rest, play or creativity. There are stages of life that allow for more productivity and others that invite a time for reflection and focus on other priorities. Working 9-5, Mon-Fri during prime childbearing and childrearing years doesn’t make sense. The male-dominated corporate world has been none-too-accepting of this idea of rhythms, but perhaps that’s changing (as you referenced in your convo with the VH1 president).

    For that, I’m grateful. As I can see you are committed to with your own work and your fabulous website, I’m thrilled that there are more and more options for mom entrepreneurs and working mothers to do work that makes their hearts sing AND raise a family.

    Thanks for sharing today.

    Lara Galloway