What is the art of entrepreneurship? Who rules the roost? – Men or Women?

I know that it is yawningly obvious that men and women are truly different. Have you ever wondered as to which of these species make better entrepreneurs? As always, there are exceptions to the rule.

Of course, there are outliers in both species. However, if we take into account the majority of the Homo sapiens in this lovely planet, who do you think make better entrepreneurs, men or women?

I know that whatever my conclusions are, it would ire the other “species”. Anywise, these are my personal perspectives and I firmly stand by them.

I know that it is yawningly obvious that men and women are truly different. Have you ever wondered as to which of these species make better entrepreneurs? As always, there are exceptions to the rule. Of course, there are outliers in both species. However, if we take into account the majority of the Homo sapiens in this lovely planet, who do you think make better entrepreneurs, men or women?

Obviously, this topic has the potential to be controversial and irk the sensibilities of both men and women. Ladies, I am not treading the path of a male chauvinist here. Please bear with me as patience is indeed a virtue.

Therefore here are my caveats first. I have had no formal rigid training in sociology, psychology, neurology or physiology or any of the relevant sciences or arts. I am neither an expert in women nor men. These insights are based on my own experiences, readings and inferences.

My opinionated and possibly blinkered views are based on my personal capacity. Therefore I bear full responsibility for any consequences thereof. Of course as always, I welcome ideas and thoughts, flexible, dogmatic or otherwise where I will or not, stand corrected.

The traits of good and successful entrepreneurs

Before I dwell into the mother of all battles, the battle of sexes, I think that it would be prudent to understand the traits of successful entrepreneurs, who have built great companies, big and small.

Once you have a great idea, a unique value proposition, key differentiation from your competitors, funds and the required skill sets, there are a unique set of personality traits that are required.

These personality traits will separate the men from the boys or rather the women from the girls or even the women from the menJ.

It should however be noted that women find it more difficult to obtain funding due to existing biases and prejudices and this topic itself will require a different post. If all things being equal, these set of behavioral and personality traits matter!

Behavioral and personality traits that are required for successful entrepreneurship are:

  • Interpersonal and communications skills
  • A keen intuitive mindset
  • Good listening skills
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Peripheral vision
  • Sustainable mindset
  • Kaizen attitude
  • Multi tasking capability
  • Independence, endurance and orientation to detail

Let us now discuss each of this in detail as to why they are important.

Interpersonal and verbal communications skills

All business is about People to People (P2P) and not B2C or B2B as it is commonly expressed. Most businesses are done among people that have built relationships over a period of time. Good communications and interpersonal relationships among all stakeholders including customers, employees, partners and shareholders and suppliers are essential to the success of any business.

A keen intuitive mindset

In business, decisions about suppliers, partners and employees often have to be made on the cuff. Small businesses do not have the luxury of time that large corporations have. A right or wrong decision would determine whether the business will survive or not. Having a keen intuitive sense is therefore essential for entrepreneurs.

Good listening skills

I have purposefully separated this from the communications and interpersonal relationships traits required for successful entrepreneurship. Good listening skills are required for anyone but for entrepreneurs, this is a must. Often what is said and intended are not the same. Missing cues could mean false expectations and wasted time. This is not a luxury that small businesses have. Knowing the differences between and deciphering and acting on what was said, what was intended to be said and what you actually heard is really a critical success factor for most entrepreneurs. Understanding the nuances is especially imperative in the current age of globalization and transmigration of cultures from different parts of the world.

Abstract reasoning

Abstract or inductive reasoning is the ability to analyze information and solve problems in a complex, thought based level. Entrepreneurs have to form hypothesis on their business ideas, processes and solve problems at a complex level. Business is not a liner logical application but often requires complex and multi faceted problem solving capabilities. Entrepreneurship requires the ability to detect patterns, trends, and understanding relationships between verbal and non verbal ideas.

Peripheral vision

Small businesses and entrepreneurs do not have the budget for an army of research consultants to identify changes in customer needs, opportunities and threats. Often these changes, opportunities and threats begin as weak signals from the periphery. Most companies large or small have not developed this capability in sufficient capacity. Successful entrepreneurs have this innate ability to see at the periphery when signals are weak at best.

Sustainable mindset

Good entrepreneurship requires prudent and calculated risk taking. It is not about taking huge risks with other people’s money. It is not just about building or creating something for the short term. It requires a long term view, taking into account all stakeholders. It includes knowledge and best practice sharing so that employees and other shareholders are well equipped to sustain in the long haul.

Kaizen attitude

The Japanese concept of “Kaizen” or continuous improvement is a must for successful entrepreneurship.  It means that you cannot rest on your laurels on a single goal achievement. It means that good entrepreneurship requires you to be receptive to other’s ideas. Good entrepreneurship also requires a balanced dosage of tampered self appraisal and self critical abilities.

Multi tasking capability

Entrepreneurs during the early stage of a business often are required to address multiple facets and aspects of their business. Due to the innate nature of small businesses limited resource availability, good entrepreneurship requires this very important but often ignored capability.

Endurance and detailed orientation

Due to the limited resource capability of small businesses, good entrepreneurship requires that the entrepreneur be healthy and be able to do monotonous tasks often enduring long and lonely periods. Most entrepreneurs are required to be independent and be able to be detailed oriented and operational. Entrepreneurs can’t survive with just the “big picture” thinking capabilities.

So what are the differences between men and women?

So who do you think has more of these personality and behavioral traits?  Experts have discovered that there are real differences in the way the men and women’s brains are structured and in the way we react to events and stimuli. We all are wired and created differently as an embryo in our mother’s womb with no possibilities of social engineering by some mad scientists somewhere.

Who has better Interpersonal and verbal communications skills? Is it men or women?

It is an established fact by scientists that women communicate more effectively than men. Girls say their first words, learn to speak, read and are better in coping with language than boys. As adults, women are more fluent and have better command of languages. When a woman communicates with another human being, they look right into the other person’s eyes and hold that eye contact longer than men.

A woman’s relationships are deeper and more sustainable than men.  Her sensitivities to the externalities are more and deeper than man.  If you need further proof, look at the sexes of children in language remedial classes or the ones that stutter.

Men have a pronounced need to fulfill their goals and women rank relationships with others first.

Who has a keener intuitive mindset?

Women have a more superior and keener experience of all the senses. This relative observation of the extra sensory perception of women is mainly due to the bluntness of the male senses.

It is also known that women have a keener sense of picking up social cues, nuances, intonation, meaning and intensity of conversations and expressions.

Men are often utterly frustrated and exasperated at a woman’s reaction to what they say. Women tend to be better judges of character.

As we age, women have a better memory for names and faces, and a greater sensitivity to other people’s preferences.

All this makes women more intuitive than men.

Who is a better listener?

I think the answer to this is obvious. Just think back as to who gets up in the middle of the night to the dripping of a tap or the whine of a baby?

During my early years of marriage to Carol, I have often wondered why she kept insisting that I was yelling and that I needed to “tone” down.

I am enlightened now! This is because sounds are more acute to a woman than man. The combination of their deeper multi sensory awareness and hearing skills makes women better listeners.

Who has better abstract reasoning?

We have all heard that a man’s brain is programmed for hunting. Men are laser focused and goes for the kill (rhetorically speakingJ)

Women’s brains can decipher a wider range of information. Women are equipped to receive a wider range of sensory information, to connect, correlate, compute relate and act on that information with greater facility and agility.

When entering a parking garage, men generally look and head to the direction of where their car is parked. Women on the other hand looks around, notice faces (and strangers) and calculate possible threats perceived or otherwise.

Men can definitely better grasp a situation as a whole and think globally. However, women think locally, relying on details and nuances that matter. Women have a better capability of rewinding relevant information over and over.

Who has better peripheral vision?

Men have firmer sense of direction. They need to track, trace and navigate the path to their goal. In other words, men see in a narrow field – mild tunnel vision – with greater concentration on depth. They have a better sense of perspective than women.

Women, however, take in better the bigger picture literally speaking. Not only do women have literally a wider peripheral vision but woman can also store, for short periods at least, more irrelevant and random information than men. Men can excel only when the information is organized in some coherent form, or has specific relevance to them.

The combinations of an acute sensory awareness, a literal wider view of the world through the receptor con and rod cells in their retina and the overall intuitiveness gives women a better advantage in sensing signals that are almost always weak for men to detect.

Who has a better sustainable mindset?

Women are by nature, nurturing, caring and giving.  Men are builders whilst women pass on the most valuable information for the positive evolution of the next generation. This innate ability to unselfishly nurture and give, gives them an advantage in ensuring that all under their care get the needed information to sustain in the long run.

In business, this gives women an advantage as the combination of their superior communications and personal relationship skills and this need to care and share will ensure that all shareholders are informed and acts on the long term sustainability of their enterprise.

Who strives better for continuous improvement? (Kaizen)

Men are normally satisfied with their own performance. Women on the other hand are self critical and often have a low self appraisal of their work.  Men are more independent in their thoughts and actions, whilst women seek out and are open to suggestions, comments, and opinions of others.

You need to be self critical and not satisfied with the status quo to strive for continuous improvement.

Who has better multi tasking capabilities?

We have all heard that men are not good at multi tasking or that women are superior at multi tasking. Scientific studies have proven that women multi task better than men.

This is not surprising. Look at how working and at home moms do it.  How they juggle a career, work, study, child care, cooking and home care all at the same time. I can never even try to do this. Just thinking about it itself gives me a massive headache. I give my salute and kudos to all the women who do this, day in and day out. I am stupefied at the seemingly easy way women multi task. This is a no brainer for me. Women are definitely better and I don’t need any scientific proof for this truism!

Who has better independence, endurance and detail orientation?

We all know that women have longer life spans and are less prone to getting sick. Therefore in the macro sense, they are more enduring J

Women also perform well when required to do monotonous and arduous tasks. Look around your company and the different projects being tasked and completed. Who amongst them works independently and looks into every detail. The men normally boast of the big picture, but it is the women who endures and delivers a superb and detailed work. (Notes to the men in my team “contain your ire”)!

Quotes from a pair of amazing women entrepreaurs

I have also spoken to a few men and women entrepreneurs and professionals to get their views on this subject.  It was interesting to note that most men felt that men were better in business. Most women did not want to generalize or stereotype any one.

I particularly liked and agree with the quotes from Georgie Hearson and Claire Fenner, cofounders of “Heels and Deals” http://www.heelsanddeals.org – a UAE (Dubai) based network and consulting firm for women entrepreneurs.

‘In our opinion women and men are equally as good in business but they possess different strengths and weaknesses. For example, women are excellent at multi tasking enabling them to manage multiple business functions simultaneously, which in turn is a benefit to working mothers who run not only run their own businesses but their homes”, said Georgie Hearson.

Claire Fenner added “As we all know, women are excellent communicators whether it be through the spoken word or written word. If you get 200 women in a room speed networking the energy is phenomenal!” The women know how to use this skill to their advantage! When it comes to supporting each other men are maybe more guarded and less likely to seek help from their colleagues or peers for fear of being seen as weak, whereas women are willing to look for help when required as well as support each other. In our opinion successful companies are those that work with the best in their field like we do at Heels & Deals.

There you go guys, in the actual words of two award winning and successful entrepreneurs!

In conclusion – So who are better entrepreneurs?

Well, it all depends on who you are and how your brain is wired to think J

Guys, as most of you are husbands, fiancées or boyfriends, brothers or sons to some wonderful woman somewhere, remember this before you answer – “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”!

I have just had a Homer Simpson moment – If I as a man claim to have these skills as well, then, logically speaking, am I a man or woman? J

John.lincoln@gmail.com Twitter – @lincolnjc – All Rights Reserved!

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This entry was posted in Business, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Management, Men, SME, Women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to What is the art of entrepreneurship? Who rules the roost? – Men or Women?

  1. Rita says:

    Excellent piece of writing as usual. Also goes to show that when you say you need more women in your team, it is substantiated by facts and research… However, I think the best recipe for success is a combination of skill sets from both men & women… We as women have no issues asking for help and getting it… would men do the same? Well… you have answered this in the writeup..

  2. Roshan Daluwakgoda says:

    This is an excellent logical behavior and personality analysis of a true entrepreneur irrespective of men and women. Of course some of the analysis are subjective and depending on individual character, however the overall approach of solving this puzzle is quite attractive.
    Good luck and keep posting!

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  5. Rusty Shippen says:

    I’m doing research on the differences in the methods of Kaizen and reengineering. I found this post in google because I was looking for term Kaizen. Can anyone help me and write in two sentences what you think about the major differences between kaizen and reengineering?.

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  11. Manoj Nair says:

    good structured approach prof…..if i may, would like to, in the final analysis, hang it out in the balance as follows (at the risk of sounding stereotypical):
    Women would do well in industries that appeal to them intuitively – beauty, F&B, PR, advertising…..more related to forms and concepts….
    Men would do well in industries that they are comfortable in : – real estate, banking, construction, shippin n freight:), farming etc – more related to materials and structures…..
    of course there are also industries that could either way…..but for that we have to get more granular to the individual level than at the XX or XY level…..

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  15. Raghav Mimani says:

    While i agree with most points john, there are a few qualities shown by “modern day men” which you have discounted a bit and a few “new age women” qualities exaggerated. i leave the details for one of our evening discussion.
    Overall great layout, structure and reasoning.

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