The differences between men and women in business are amazing, complex, and sometimes predictable. Cheryl and Sara are going to spend some blog-space exploring how men and women manage to speak directly with one another and still not communicate!
Sara’s view: For her, the future includes everything…no really, EVERYTHING. It can be the next fifty years. For him, the future can be next month. Here is a little background. When we were on the playground, as children, the girls would play complex games of life that would span from one “recess” to the next. The boys would play a game that ended with the bell. The next game would begin the next time they were released to play. Two difference perspectives on “future” were developing. These ideas are courtesy of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Women by Gail Evans.
The children on the playground grow up and now meet in the boardroom where the discussion is about the life of a product. She’s thinking about the implications for every other product in the company, the R&D and manufacturing teams, and the consumer (to name only a few considerations). He is considering the P&L, market share percentages, and when the competitive pressure might be great enough to dump the product and move on. Disconnect? Yes. Result?
Cheryl’s view: Some traditional wisdom states “Timing is everything.” In this case, it just might be. What will likely happen next is these parties will translate their thoughts into conversation. With such differences in perspectives, one could almost predict the inevitable conflict. What Fred Kofman states in Conscious Business is “Each individual enjoys property rights over his or her opinions. The problem is that we take our opinions to be more than simply our view of the world; we think of them as an accurate description of the world.” Our gender differences certainly are a powerful force in forming our opinions, and thus our view of the world.
As the conversation progresses, the outcome is almost predictable. She will likely see him as “short sighted, greedy, and unconcerned with the long term impact.” He might see her as “soft and too people focused, looking at aspects no one could control, and clueless on how to win.” Oh good, the result is now playing the Blame Game! And with that game come the reinforcement of well honed gender biases. Hofman suggests that “Each party is entitled to their opinion, and nobody has the right to claim ownership of the truth.” Unfortunately, based on their gender specific experiences, each believes their view is the truth. Checkmate.