Are women good for business? You better believe it.
As women have taken on leadership roles, it’s paid off for both them and business
As I cite in a recent article in WE magazine for women, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. (Read the article here.) This should come as no surprise, given that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016, compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.
For me, as a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, this begs the question: With all these women in leadership roles, will they change workplace culture to make it more female-friendly? (Uber, Fox News and The Weinstein Company, take note.) Furthermore, what type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?
To answer this and other gender-workplace issues, we at SAMC did some research. As it turns out, in many ways men and women want similar things at work. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.
Important lessons for women who head up or start their own businesses
As I say in the article, some of the ways women can succeed when leading an organization is to make the workplace more attentive to the needs of both men and women. Ways to do that include:
- Create a culture that blends work and home. Many companies intentionally take a whole-life approach and don’t force employees to choose between work and family. These businesses tend to be very successful and often win awards as "best places to work."
- Encourage staff to be innovators. Often, employees who think outside the box are reluctant to act outside the box due to fear of failure. But for innovation to happen, a good leader needs to empower employees to try new ideas even if they ultimately don't work out.
- Be an adventurer, stay curious. If you expect your employees to try new ideas, you need to be willing to do so as well. Don’t worry about failure. Keep tinkering and trying stuff and sooner or later you’ll hit upon your a-ha moment.
I firmly believe—and this is backed up by our research and multiple interviews I've conducted with highly successful women business leaders—that women who know how to create success are not just building better businesses, they're changing the way people work.
3 blogs about women entrepreneurs who have created successful workplace cultures
- 3 Ways A Female CEO Built A Successful Business With A Culture of Collaboration
- Successful Entrepreneur Sees “Holes in the Cheese” and Builds Great Companies to Fill Them
- It's Time to Change the Workplace So Women and Businesses Can Thrive