The World Needs Women Entrepreneurs

There is a gradual but steady global shift that will result in women being the inevitable future leaders of our societies. If not, at the very least the current imbalance will be redressed.On a smaller scale there is also a huge opportunity for any business or organisation that can step out of its limited, “safe” traditions and bring forward a more rounded, holistic and balanced way of doing things. Women and their inherent creativity are uniquely positioned to do this.But the game of business is a game created by men. That’s a procreation thing, governed by genetics. Men regularly used to venture forth and conquer other civilizations, raping and pillaging as they went. They would kill the men and impregnate the women because it was a matter of survival – about fulfillment of their bloodline. That’s what they used to do. Now they do it in business.Men typically do business from a win-lose point of view. From their perspective “For me to win, you have to lose. The ‘pie’ of business is only so big, and my job is to go and carve out as big a piece of pie as I can.” In contrast the attitude generally taken by women is, “Well here is a pie that’s only so big. Why don’t we see how we can make that pie go further? Or why not share the pie and enjoy it? Or why don’t we work at making another pie – then I can have a pie, and you can have a pie and we’ll have more pie.” So it’s very much about win-win.Over the last 25 years it’s been my observation that better business is done by people who are playing win-win.Men will go to extreme lengths to compete and win while women want a completely different business experience.The critical challenge for women comes when they go out into the world and declare “I want to play win-win in business”, and all the men go “Yes, we want to play win-win too!” But the reality is that the men are still playing win-lose. This will overwhelm every time. This is because if somebody is playing win-lose but telling you that they are playing win-win, as a win-win player you’ll trust them. You’ll go along with it and be taken advantage of every time.So what do most women do? Some will play along with the men’s rules, but many will start their own businesses. Women can (very slowly) change corporate culture from the inside, or they can change the world by starting their own companies. Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t require any shifts in corporate culture.For the last century or so, we have been addressing business issues as if they are linear, independent, and containable. Look around the world and you’ll find it hard to agree this is true. But if, as Einstein said, the thinking skills that create an issue are not the thinking skills you need to resolve that issue, we need more people with a different perspective on the problem and a new set of skills and abilities.What is needed in business today is a better grasp of (and comfort with) relationships of all kinds. And this is the kind of thinking and problem solving that is most natural to women as typically:Women are intuitively systems/relationship thinkers;
Women seek balance;
Women care more about solutions than who gets credit;
Women are experts on collaboration;
When they are passionate about something, women never give up.As a result, women entrepreneurs intuitively create businesses that are better for themselves, their families, their employees, their communities, their customers and the world. Women tend to be more holistic about their understanding of their place in the universe. For example, they will operate from a perspective of abundance rather than scarcity, and they appreciate the energy and vibration of their actions in the business (and broader) world. They more readily bring “soul to business” by being more in touch with their spirit and emotions and able to converse openly about them.Women’s measures of success also tend to be much broader. They are by nature, equipped for the Triple Bottom Line challenge. In fact, they assume that’s the goal, although they can get sidetracked by the attempt to play a game the rules of which we have established have essentially been created by men.It is the tendency to create holistic enterprises that make women so effective at entrepreneurship. This is enabled by being able to see an issue from so many angles at once.On a deeper level, women are interested in other people. They invariably notice things that are outside the awareness of most men. They do the right thing, they treat people well, and they listen to other people.Women entrepreneurs are great. But not because they’re caricatures or stereotypes of some altruistic awesomeness, but rather because they often bring a different set of experiences that are equally valid to what men bring. The more we have of both, the richer everything gets. How could we do without the action and results orientation of men?And before we over-glorify women, we should recognise that they are just as diverse and varied as men, coming with their own set of issues and idiosyncrasies. Indeed, many women end up being selfish and obnoxious, just as some men are really sensitive and thoughtful.Not only do we need women entrepreneurs, we need growth oriented women entrepreneurs. Women are starting businesses twice as fast as men. But they are not all growth oriented, employment producing businesses. Many of them end up employing just one person.A transformative and participative leadership style is not enough. For example, women need to learn all the regular business skills necessary such as raising capital to fund growth. Furthermore they need role models of growth oriented women entrepreneurs that are not behaving like Machiavellian males.Things are continuing to change in the 21st Century with regards to more opportunities for women. But they are still the underdog, which means they’ll continue to work harder – to the benefit of all.