Women Approach Business Differently than Men – Insight from Christine Lagarde
Women in business do make a difference. In Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay refer to a number of studies aboutways women impact the business environment. Here are a few quotes:
A study in France found that companies with more women in management positions did better during 2008 – had higher profits – that those with fewer women. “Feminization of management seems to protect against financial crisis… In conditions of high uncertainty, financial markets value companies that take fewer risks and are more stable.” (Michel Ferrary, Professor of management at the CERAM Business School in France).
Women deliver profits, often in big numbers, and we are worth hanging on to… By every measure of profitability – equity, revenue, and assets – Pepperdine’s study found that companies with the best records for promoting women outperform the competition.
Companies with women in top leadership positions have “stronger relationships with customers and shareholders and a more diverse and profitable business.” (University of California at Davis study).
On Sunday, 10/10/10, Christiane Amanpour interviewed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. (Article and video here). Here’s a key excerpt:
“You were a former CEO. Do you think women have a different way of approaching business or approaching the public sphere?” Amanpour asked.
“Yes,” said Lagarde, who is the only female finance minister in the Group of Seven industrialized countries. “I think we inject less libido, less testosterone …”
“Less libido?” Amanpour asked.
“Yes. And less testosterone into the equation,” Lagarde replied. “It helps in the sense that we don’t necessarily project our own egos into cutting a deal, making our point across, convincing people, reducing them to, you know, a partner that has lost in the process. And it’s probably over generalized what I’m saying. And I’m sure that there are women that operate exactly like men,” she said.
“But, in the main, and having had nearly 30 years of professional life … and getting closer to 60 than 50, I honestly believe that there is a majority of women in such positions that approach power, decision-making processes and other people in the business relationship in a slightly different manner,” she said.
The world really is different when there is genuine diversity in the decision-making rooms. And when women are in on those decisions, the impact is unmistakable.