Article by Caroline Hong, which appeared in the Aug 2012 issue of the My Business magazine and also on MSME news network.
Sex & shades in business
Is gender a sexy topic in business? Maybe not, but it’s certainly very important.”
Now that I have your attention… . Not what you think? Not what is churning in your mind? And certainly nothing to do with Fifty Shades Of Grey, E L James’ best-selling novel that has sold over 30 million copies. Sexy subjects attract attention and curiosity, but gender and business issues are often perceived as not so sexy.
However, I’m pleased to read that Australia ranked very highly (third) in a recent Gallup Poll of 147 countries that sought to find to best countries in which to be a woman. Denmark topped the poll, followed by Canada and Australia, where women report that they are thriving. This can only be good for business for the female sex in Australia.
The topic of ‘sex in business’ attracted attention when the book Sex and Business: Ethics of Sexuality in Business and the Workplace by Shere Hite was published in 2000. It was one of the ground-breaking books that provided insight into business and sex and offered many lessons for businesses, including the dynamic energy that men and women working together can bring to a company’s success.
Who would have thought that a book called Better Than Sex, published in 2004, would be listed as recommended books in the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) business bookshop? Co-authors Helen Trinca and Catherine Fox talked about how a whole generation got hooked on work, about our world dominated by work where play is increasingly blurred, not switching off, what you are trading off in your love affair with work, and what you can do to change the deal.
Are you hooked on your business and your work? Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran said, “work is love made visible”. So, has your business become your love? Many business owners get into business as a means of expressing their energy in their passion through their business and work? Many entrepreneurs start that way. I saw that energy in the young men and women named as the Top 10 Start-Ups at the recent APAC Entrepreneur Summit. I also saw that same expression of love in their work at the Imagine Cup event, an event which attracted entrepreneur student competitors from more than 190 countries in Sydney. For some of the winners, their work has been their whole life and dream, and for them their work has likely indeed become better than sex and a means to channel their creativity and innovation.
Business Networking and Sex, another sexy title written by Ivan Misner, Hazel Walker and Frank J De Raffele Jr, offers a fascinating account of male and female business and networking styles. Backed by research of 12,000 professionals, the book gives valuable insights into ‘what he says’ and ‘what she says’ when posed with the question, ‘How can we do business?’. Their research tells us that there is a very powerful and linear correlation between the time spent networking and business success. What is interesting is, although there is the correlation, there is a definite difference between genders.
For those who say that they achieved business success through their networking, the average time spent on networking was 6.31 hours per week. However, the difference was that women got better results, yet they spent less time than men on networking. Walker courageously says that men need to be educated or else women will take over. Communicating with people of the opposite sex can be tricky – women are more likely to focus on building the relationship first and then the business, while men are more likely to focus on the business first.
We live in an era where businesses have access to more tools than ever that allow them to communicate to anyone around the world. Having more technological tools doesn’t necessarily guarantee business success. Businesses are people – people have hearts and souls. There are gender similarities and differences in business owners, and therefore in business styles, business communication and business networking.
Men and women both want the same success in business; it’s just that success looks different to different people. So is gender a sexy topic in business? Maybe not, but it’s certainly very important. If businesses can make an effort to understand, learn and embrace the similarities and differences in men and women when developing business relationships for business success, it can make a huge impact in creating a sustainable and happier enterprising society.
With acknowledgement and thanks to MyBusiness http://mybusiness.com.au You can also subscribe for the digital edition on http://mybusiness.realviewdigital.com/
My Business is the official publication of the SME Association of Australia http://www.smeaustralia.asn.au
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