Reflecting on one “Values Deficiency” of the Ol’ Boys Network – (And Why We Need a “New Women’s Network”)
Do you know why they call it the “ol’ boys network?” Because it’s filled with men who never quite grew up, and they like their clubhouse to still be a very exclusive club.
So, if you’re not part of their group, play by their rules, see the world their way, you can’t break in to the ol’ boys club. Whether you are male or female.
And, in spite of the incredible increase in the numbers of women, holding the larger number of all levels of college degrees, and getting hired in law firms and orchestras and companies and everywhere else, it seems, it is still an ol’ boys world that can’t quite make the right kind of room for these “outsiders.”
There’s a scene in Moneyball where Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is trying to make a dent in the ol’ boys network. It is not an easy task. Watch (trouble viewing the video? – click here):
What motivated them (entrepreneurial women) after they had started was strikingly uniform: They were all driven to succeed for their workforce. (emphasis added). They may have started for themselves, but they kept going for others. This has profound implications for the businesses women run and the way they run them. The bond between looking after the business and looking after the people is not rhetoric, and nurturing isn’t weakness; it is what explains their success. When you feel such passionate affinity with, and responsibility for, your employees, then you put values, ethics, and culture squarely at the center of every decision you make. If that sounds a bit too much like social work, it is worth remembering that these companies are highly lucrative.
“Driven to succeed for their workforce…” In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg speaks of the power of “keystone habits,” organizational habits that shape the entire organizational culture. I think the evidence continues to build that we have put the pursuit of profits, and other such values, above the value of “nurturing the members of your workforce.” And I think we need some kind of major refocus, a “reset,” with a new set of keystone habits to put nurturing the members of our workforces front and center.
And when we do, values just might be rediscovered. Because if you value something other than people, I’m not sure it’s a very valuable value.
Values matter now, says Gary Hamel. Nurturing the members of your workforce is a value that comes out clearly in women-owned businesses. Maybe we all need to help such women break right on through and past all those “ol’ boys clubs.” I’m not sure we will be able to value the right values with the “ol’ boys” always in charge. Maybe we really do need more “new women’s networks” to counteract the narrow, values-deficient nature, of all those “ol’ boys clubs.”
Cheryl offers: Surprisingly, there was an interesting item in my mail yesterday. It was the Dallas edition of a Medical Directory with an article called “Mind Matters”. I’m intrigued by the brain, so I started reading it. Low and behold, on the second page I found this. “Frontal lobe function, also called “executive function,” is not what you know but how you use what you know. This begins to decrease in many people in their 30s because they simply stop using it. (NOW comes the good part!) Reading a book is fine for your brain; analyzing it, and talking about it with a friend or book club is good for executive function.” Woohoo! Experiencing a book synopsis of a relevant business book focused on women’s business topics, then discussing the contents of the book’s synopsis led by facilitators who ask thought provoking questions is exactly the format for our event, Take Your Brain to Lunch! So now, we can rightfully claim, not only is this a fun event, it’s good for you too. How many other things does anyone get to do that are both fun and good for you? Not enough say I. Join us July 14 for your brain’s “executive function” workout. We’re doing How She Does It by Margaret Heffernan and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Raz Aahl. No leotards required!
Tomorrow, the Creative Communication Network is sponsoring an event with two of our blogging partners, Cheryl Jensen and Sara Smith (CandS Knowledge Company). We are calling it: Take Your Brain to Lunch. I will present synopses of two books that are both important and useful for women in business: Women Don’t Ask and Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know about Success that Women Need to Learn. (I presented both of these in earlier years of the First Friday Book Synopsis). Sara and Cheryl, and a team of women, will lead facilitated discussions at the tables after each of the two presentations.
The timing could not be better. The latest figures show that the number of women currently working is nearly exactly even with the number of men. The gap has been shrinking for years, and now, in this “mancession,” it is just about erased entirely.
Earlier this year, we learned that among college graduates, women now outnumber the men in undergraduate and graduate and professional degrees awarded. In other words, in every major educational category, more women than men are earning degrees. (Check out this article for some of the details).
I first read about the “mancession” on the Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan’s blog), which linked to this enlightening post by Catherine Rampell. Here’s an excerpt:
We’ve pointed out before that the recession has disproportionately hurt men, who are more likely to work in cyclically sensitive industries like manufacturing and construction. Women, on the other hand, are overrepresented in more downturn-resistant sectors like education and health care.
Casey B. Mulligan noted, for example, that for the first time in American history women are coming close to representing the majority of the national work force. It would of course be a bittersweet milestone, given that it comes primarily as a result of men’s layoffs.
The article has additional graphs which illustrate the toll the recession is taking on male workers.
Even without the recession, the number of women receiving college and graduate degrees, and then rising up the ladder in the work force, is increasing every year. So, it is certainly time to pay attention to the insight, the wisdom, the literature focused on women and business issues.
I’m glad to participate in a group giving attention to the ever increasing reality of women in business.