MD of Gateways Business Consultants Ian Mann reviews John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio’s "The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future", a book that is taking the world by storm...
“It’s a very motivating book to read,” says Mann. “There’s a lot of abuse and unhappiness in the world. Society is getting more humane, so people want this state of affairs to change.”
Gerzema and D’Antonia are world-renowned researchers that wanted hard facts about perceptions of masculinity and femininity. They interviewed 64 000 people in 13 highly developed countries (representing 65 percent of the world’s GDP). They presented subjects with 125 behavioral traits and asked them to identify whether these qualities are masculine, feminine or neither.
We want a ‘kinder’ society with ‘gentler’ leaders
“What they found,” says Mann, “was that people wanted leaders who displayed characters that were humble, candid, patient, empathetic, trustworthy and open – all of which are associated with the feminine.”
More than two-thirds of female and male respondents said they believe the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. In Japan, 79 percent of men believed that everything would improve if men thought like women!
According to the research, our dog-eat-dog world is on the way out. Or, at least, we want it to be on its way out. In the 21st century we seem to aspire to being more inclusive, concerned and nurturing.
The book mentions real-world examples of how a more stereotypically female approach has achieved success, even when it comes to policing in some of the most violent societies on Earth.
Women are better traders than men
In a 2008 study the Hedge Fund Research Organisation found that funds under female management significantly outperformed those managed by men for nine straight years.
Crédit Suisse did a study in 2012 in which they tracked the shares of large corporations worth more than US$10-billion. Shares of firms with female board members outperformed those of male-only firms by 26 percent.
“It’s not too unexpected that NGOs run by women, or men who think like women, would outperform, but the book is riddled with examples of female-led, profit-driven companies who leave behind those that are led by men only,” says Mann.
“We are entering an era with a ‘nicer’ society and a ‘nicer’ form of business and capitalism.”
The stats don’t lie – the world is changing
Time and again, varying surveys point to a growing desire amongst people for business to be “softer” and the stats indicate that companies are starting to appreciate this need. More “conscious” views of the world are gaining traction. More and more people believe in “fairness for all”, whether you’re a supplier, a customer or a shareholder.
“More than 83 percent of Millennials interviewed for this book said they would rather be respected than wealthy,” says Mann. “Ninety-one percent of parents said they would rather their children be happy than rich. This is a vastly different outlook to the one we had in the 20th Century!
“Everyone in a leadership position should read this! You’re stuck in the 20th century if you believe that being tough and aggressive will lead to success.”
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