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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: May 2016

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Gender Diverse Organisations offer high performance if the management style is engaging and inclusive

A recent study by Gallup of more than 800 business units from two companies representing two different industries -- retail and hospitality -- finds that gender-diverse business units have better financial outcomes than those dominated by one gender:

  • Gender-diverse business units in the retail company have 14% higher average comparable revenue than less-diverse business units (5.24% vs. 4.58%).

  • Gender-diverse business units in the hospitality company show 19% higher average quarterly net profit ($16,296 vs. $13,702) than less-diverse business units.

And if the gender-diverse business units are also highly engaged, financial performance improves dramatically. Retail units that are diverse and engaged have a 46% higher increase in comparable revenue. Similarly, diverse and engaged units in the hospitality company have a 58% higher net profit than single-gender and less-engaged units.

The question then becomes how do you develop highly engaging workplaces for men and women? Regular readers of these Posts will know that the key capabilities required by engaging and inclusive managers are to be skilled in: interactive effectiveness; empowering people and coaching in the moment (see Mar 16 Monthly Best Practice, ‘The key to high performance: developing inclusive managers’)

However, there are also benefits from managers being aware of gender difference tendencies. For example, Prof Steve Glowinkowski has shown that, by comparison with men, women tend to be: more modest; more conscientious and more perfectionist. This means that they will be less likely than men to speak up about their achievements and may need to be encouraged to do so. Prof Deborah Tannen has shown, also, that women tend to wait to take their turn to speak in meetings; whereas men are more inclined to interupt. This means that the lead in a meeting needs to pay attention to ensuring that women have an equal share of the conversation. This might mean inviting them to speak from time to time.

Furthermore, research by Prof Gloria Moss has shown that women and men have different design preferences. Hence, for example:

  • Women tend to prefer more rounded lines and men straight lines;

  • Men tend to prefer darker colours and women lighter colours and more colours;

  • Women tend to prefer more detail in the design than men.

Her research has also shown that the female design preference is more acceptable to men than the male design preference is to women. This means that engaging workplaces for women should take account of the female design preferences. Indeed, websites and business literature also needs to take account of the female design preferences.

Engagement and inclusion are so important to high performance by both women and men; but the two genders can need different insights and emphases. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss these ideas further.

Dr Ian Dodds, 29 Apr 2016, www.iandoddsconsulting.com, www.thepowerofinclusion.com

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