I Can’t Believe a Business Woman Wrote This

I found this article today on what business women can learn from men.  I completely agree that men and women are different and we bring different inherent qualities to the workplace.  But this article is, well, ridiculous.  In fact, I can’t believe a woman, let along a woman in business, wrote this.

You can read the article here.

I’ve summarized my issues with it below:

1.  Be more confident.  I have to agree with this, to a point.  However, there is nothing that turns  me off more, than someone lying about their capabilities.  Yes, I said it…”lying.”  If you tell me you can do something and then you can’t, I’ll lose all trust in you.  I have much more respect for someone that tells me that they are willing to learn and then demonstrate other things they’ve learned.  If the skill they are lacking is something that can be taught, and they are a strong candidate otherwise, I’ll invest in an employee’s continuing education.  Skills can be taught, character can’t.  I certainly prefer not to do business with someone that undervalues themselves, but I respect those that value themselves, and me, enough to tell me the truth.

2. Move faster.  I must admit that I’m a ready, fire, aim (in that order) sort of person.  In business you can’t always see the second step until you’ve taken the first.  There are certainly times in which we must act first and then get feedback and adjust.   However, it’s all about results, right?  So wouldn’t it be preferable to have someone on your team that actually took a little time to plan something.  All planning and no doing is useless, but you can lose a lot of money by just doing and adjusting over and over again.

3.  Get help.  The article states that women generally prefer to be more efficient than get help.  Well, if that is true, doesn’t that make us smarter?  Here’s the thing, it’s extremely expensive to hire someone these days.  For every dollar you pay an employee you’ll pay about 50 cents to the government and benefits.  Don’t believe me?  Go to your payroll department and see for yourself.  Have them calculate what they spend on Worker’s Compensation, State Unemployment Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax. Social Security, and Fringe Benefits including: holidays, vacation, sick-time, retirement, health insurance…get the picture?

I agree that if a business needs help, it needs help, and you are limiting your potential when you need help and don’t get it.  But perhaps we are better-served going a different route.

1.  Using temp services to fill in the hiring gaps.  Using temp help is a great way to make certain you actually need someone in a position and it also allows you to hire more effectively.

2.  Upgrading your systems.  Often we doings manually and just keep hiring.  Human capital is more costly in the long-run than updating your equipment, software and they like.

3.  Using specialized companies to handle those specialized tasks.  I hired a payroll/employee leasing company to handle all of my payroll and HR needs. It’s the best decision I ever made.  I pay them much less than I ever would a full-time employee and because they specialize in a certain area, they are on-top of all of the changing laws.

My point is, just hiring for the sake of saying “I have “x” number of employees.” or because there is something that you’d rather not do, is foolish.

4.  Go for the gold, not the glamour.  This article seems to suggest that it’s a bad thing that women choose to work for companies or build businesses where everything is not about the money.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest capitalist around.  I want to make money, lots of it.  But money isn’t my biggest motivating factor, and I won’t apologize for that.  In fact, it’s not the biggest motivating factor for many people, men and women.  There’s more to life than work and what’s so wrong about choosing a company to work for or building a business that affords you a little more margin in your life to enjoy your friends and family.

5.  Don’t toss all buzzwords.  Ok this one just floors me.  The article actually suggests that men use more industry jargon than women and that it’s a good thing because it confuses the listener into thinking the work they do is more important than it is.  What?  Seriously?  I help my clients communicate their brand every single day.  Simpler is always better.  Things that are easy to understand sell.  Confusing things puts people off.   Suggesting that trying to make yourself sound more important than you are by using industry jargon is the hallmark of an amateur.

I’ve reread the article several times now and am just sad.   I am insulted by this for men and I am insulted by this for women.  I think it characterizes men and women in a very bad light and gives dangerous advice.  Here’s the thing, we are different. …and I mean we are all different as people.  It benefits a company to add team members with all sorts of differing strengths to compliment one another and make the workforce whole.

But to suggest that men lie, confuse, and care only about the money and that we, as women, should follow is just stupid.

What do you think?

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