Four Politically Incorrect Lessons of Successful Business Women

Women make up over half of the population and workforce and they influence the large majority of purchasing decisions. So why aren’t women obtaining those same levels of success as men in the business world? Is a good-old boy network stifling women? Do women lack the skills, abilities or experience to reach higher levels of success in greater numbers? Women have the ability to reach the same percentages of business success as men, if they follow four politically incorrect lessons of successful women in business.


            Lesson #1 – Successful women in business know the marketplace isn’t fair but win anyway. Successful women in business understand the workplace and take advantage of it. For all the advances with equality in the marketplace, there are still often unspoken differences in the way women are perceived and valued in many workplace environments. Successful women succeed by winning in the existing marketplace instead of trying to change the marketplace. By succeeding and winning in the business arena, they change the marketplace and the perceptions over time. Laws, workplace education, sensitivity training and company rules only go so far in changing work environments and attitudes. The real massive change comes from the women who pay a greater price, work harder, do more and understand that life isn’t always fair. This may not be politically correct to say but it’s true. The marketplace is rigged in men’s favor and successful women go to work to win in spite of those unspoken rules. Successful women in business change society one victory at a time. It may not be right and it may not be fair but sadly it is reality. Women who are successful in business use this as a motivation for success.


            Lesson #2 – Successful women in business understand human nature. Men are men and women are women. Yes, it’s a fact that men and women are different. For all the books and courses on teaching men how to understand women, men are still mostly clueless. There is truth to the men are from Mars and women are from Venus thing. Women who succeed in business understand those differences, celebrate those differences and use those differences to their advantage.


            Successful business women can give it back as well as they take it. Successful business women understand business owners and leaders are often in an unspoken fear of being sued for sexual harassment. Many times this fear is the same whether those leaders are men or women. Successful women in business set their own clear boundaries for what they will and will not tolerate in behavior from men in their work environments. However, they do not cry foul over minor incidents that could be considered improper. The way they handle these situations helps them gain more respect from their male co-workers and in return they are treated better in most instances than other male co-workers.


            Lesson #3 – In contrast to the common stereotypes, women tend to think more strategically and less emotionally than their male counterparts. The women who succeed in business tend to think in longer time frames than most men. Thinking long term allows women to create better business plans and strategy based upon more logic than emotion. Long term strategies tend to eliminate the emotional emergency based reactions that can torpedo good strategies. The execution of logic based strategies allows women to work in an environment based upon proper execution and continual advancement rather than short term wins and losses.


            Lesson #4 – Women Understand the Power of Appearance. The old adage that first impressions are lasting impressions is true. Nature and society have helped most women to highly value their appearance. Usually women spend more time and effort making sure that they have a defining professional appearance. Women will go the extra mile in their effort with the accessories of their dress to make sure their appearance unique and eye catching – in a positive and professional way. Studies show men tend to be more visual in nature in their dominant learning style than women. Because women do a better overall job on appearance they influence the visually dominant male workers. While men are spending time checking women out, the successful woman is already moving towards her goals. In a head to head competition, the professional woman is often far down the path to success before a man has even started.


            The path to success in business is not always pretty, appealing, exciting or politically correct. The price of success can be much different for a man than a woman. As much as you might want to change the world overnight to make everything fair and equal, history has proven that it’s not going to happen overnight. Being successful in business is determined by how well you understand the marketplace, your competitors in the marketplace and how you can execute to win in the marketplace. These principles are true, whether you are a man or a woman. When a woman understands and applies these principles, she has the tools she needs to be successful in any marketplace.

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Comment by Mark Tewart on August 29, 2013 at 8:45pm

Laurie, I appreciate your comments. However, I don't think you have to be a woman to comment on this topic. The comments were from my perspective and my experience in the auto industry and were never intended to be a woman's voice. Also, I collaborated on a book on this subject with two female writers and we did our own research into this topic. As the title says, politically incorrect. I do agree with you completely that the automotive sector is way behind and has a lot more change to make. 

Comment by Laurie Foster on August 29, 2013 at 8:19pm
Seriously, you may want to consider having a woman write on this topic. While your intentions are probably in the right place, there is much out of alignment with our reality. Especially in the Automotive sector. Much is changing, but it is taking far too long.

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