Men and women have always found different means of achieving the same ends.
Whether it is the way we sit, see colour or navigate through life’s great labyrinth, the two sexes have distinct strategies to finding a solution. This is not just limited to abstract ideas or the shade of ‘that’ dress, but has real-world ramifications for business success.
Why is this Important? Objectives have been scientifically proven to increase focus and productivity, and fundamentally both genders are proficient in attaining them. By understanding emblematic behaviours, it is possible to combine the best of each sex to ensure delivery of timely, challenging and aligned aims that improve efficiency across the board.
In December 2016, Leadership IQ published a study that attempted to highlight the different approaches men and women have in perceiving and achieving their objectives. They interviewed 4,690 individuals globally with a 26-point questionnaire, and the results were interesting to say the least. We have condensed the main findings below to give you an insight into the best way of supporting and achieving objectives within your firm.
“…women exceed men in 10 out of 11 ‘key emotional competencies’…”
1. Women tend to care more about their objectives
It has been known for years that women tend to have a higher emotional intelligence than men. However, it was not until 2016 when the Korn Ferry Hay Group proved conclusively that women exceed men in 10 out of 11 ‘key emotional intelligence competencies’. This has a real impact on the way women perceive their objectives. Women, typically, stick to their objectives in spite of ill circumstances because they are more invested in their objectives. This is fantastic news for maintaining staying power, but can sometimes lead to inflexibility. The flipside is that men, tending to be less involved with their targets, are more likely to drop or change them in challenging circumstances. This can be useful when agility is required, but at times can mean men focus simply on what is achievable or easier.
- Maximising Collaboration Tip #1: A mixed gender team will provide flexibility to adapt as necessary, whilst ensuring the level of commitment to push through any challenges that arise.
2. Men can be better at envisaging their objectives
Men see their objectives; the steps, the actions that need to be taken and what overall success looks like. This enables a strong sense of direction because a clear path evolves in their mind and can be followed to completion. Women, conversely, are less likely to visualise their overall aims. In the worst cases, this can lead to inaction or an inability to see the bigger picture that they are seeking to achieve.
- Maximising Collaboration Tip #2: Having both sexes represented equally in a team will ensure that the plan aligns with the wider vision of the firm, whilst maintaining focus on the individual steps necessary to be successful.
3. Women may postpone more than men
According to the study, females can procrastinate when it comes to achieving their objectives. They typically can feel less urgency with pursuing objectives which can lead to missing deadlines. On the other hand, men place a greater importance on completing objectives as quickly as possible. However, this may lead them to sacrifice quality for expediency.
- Maximising Collaboration Tip #3: A balanced team will ensure that objectives are completed in detail with nothing missed, but also within the designated timeframe.
4. Men tend towards easier objectives than women
There is a real correlation between achievement of objectives and the difficulty of accomplishing them. This is likely due to the need to learn new skills, engaging lateral parts of the brain and involving others in the pursuit of a common aim. Women are adept at setting difficult tasks to bring out the best of their ability, and are comfortable seeking help where necessary. However, tied with the above focus on expediency, men can be guilty of setting objectives that are easier and more readily achievable.
This doesn’t mean men set bad objectives per se, or that they achieve less, rather that they are less likely to push themselves outside of their comfort zone for fear of failure. As women have long appreciated, the progress towards a target is often as rewarding as the end goal itself, and skills learnt along the way will likely benefit further down the line when faced with a similar situation.
- Maximising Collaboration Tip #4: Ensure that women are well represented and ‘given a voice’ in your leadership team if you want your business to set (and achieve) meaningful strategies.
“…groups with a 50/50 gender split outperform homogenous…”
Collaboration is a dialectic, a relationship between two or more people trying to discover the ‘truth’ of a given subject. Men and women should therefore work together to encourage discourse, build strategies and foment progress. Many studies support the benefits of diverse teams. Specifically, research by Fenwick and Neal suggests that groups with a 50/50 gender split will outperform homogenous teams in a management simulation task. Collaboration and cooperation across genders is key to unlocking optimum efficiency.
Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all solution, awareness of generalized behaviours, backed by a clear strategy in conjunction with a supporting performance management software tool, will enable your people to efficiently identify and achieve the right objectives to guarantee your business success.
At ObjectiveManager, we have developed goal-setting software to help professional services firms and their people define strategy and improve performance through continuous feedback to power growth.
By simplifying the way firms conduct the entirety of their strategic planning from Sector/Client programmes to Partner Remuneration, we help them improve collaboration and optimise conditions for growth. Our innovative software turns individual gains into big business impact by making individual and firm-wide objectives visible, constant and actionable.
To learn more about how we can support collaboration, arrange a short demo.