Natural May Not Be Obvious

Known for offering up the truth of the matter, let’s get right to the point and address a trend that I am seeing more often than I would like. Gender bias in the workplace. Yup. I said it. It’s out there, and if you are reading this, then you have experienced it, have seen it, or perhaps are a participant in it. Regardless of where you stand, let’s take a look into how your business may intentionally or unintentionally be impacted.

My good friend Loyd Rawls and I recently shared a glass of Merlot over dinner, and we took a deep dive into what he is seeing and hearing as he beats around the country as a succession planner. He brought up a situation he recently was introduced into where the owner pegged their under qualified, highly enabled first born son to be successor, over their highly qualified, motivated daughter. Needless to say, as Loyd shared the details, my thoughts went in so many different directions!

Too often, Loyd hears and sees business owners selecting their son over their daughter, regardless of qualifications. Because of gender roles that have been ingrained in us since, probably the beginning of time, positioning son over daughter seems to be a natural choice, when in fact, this choice could end up costing the business owner the future of the business.

The Rawls Group had yet to be hired, so Loyd and I were discussing details of the case. We were walking through thoughts and strategies to facilitate this volatile situation to both business success and family harmony. As Loyd offered up his opinion of how he might consult with the potential client, I could feel my opinion bubbling to a boil, and finally Loyd seeing this, he threw me a bone and asked: /p>

What would you say to a business owner who believes their son is the natural choice to be named successor, over their more qualified daughter?

My Response:

Is sis missing something the rest of us are not catching or are we just looking at first growth chauvinism? So was there any logic in selecting your son over your daughter? Is there anything that your manufacturers, lenders, managers and employees are missing?

There must be a good reason you are giving up the organizational and political advantage of her leadership. Succession planning is tough enough without flushing opportunities and self-imposing handicaps. From my perspective , this horse race between your son and daughter objectively is NOT a toss-up. In light of the fact that Sis could lap her brother, I would not advise you to provoke, challenge, and confront manufacturers when you can get a “yes sir!” or “at-a-boy!” for accepting the opportunity to score slam dunk recognition from manufacturers that are under gender bias pressure simply by providing a talented and motivated young lady an opportunity to show what’s she’s got.

Knowing that this was just the surface, we welcomed one more glass of wine and held court on the opinions and ideas offered regarding not swimming up-stream on gender bias issues. We started talking about the importance of understanding that coaching techniques vary for personalities of male and female team members. This is especially valid when it comes to the amount of emotional investment by gender type.

This does not mean that there is a biased in how you treat the problem of gender discrimination. It does, mean, however, that by equipping yourself with knowledge and understanding that male and female personalities think, act, and approach things different, and that manufacturers/franchisors are looking for opportunities to demonstrate that they are not chauvinistic flat-heads, you are setting yourself and team up for success.

It goes without saying that as we got caught in the grip of the grape and talked through the challenge of varying personalities. Even deeper conversation started to take place and we found ourselves trying to tackle:

How do you coach family members in the business to be appropriately emotionally invested; i.e. coaching a woman to be less emotionally invested – compartmentalize and a man to engage a bit more emotionally, not compartmentalize?

Alas, Loyd had a very early flight to we corked the bottle and agreed to get back together in a week to discuss in more detail. In the mean-time, consider your response to this. Come back in a week and compare your approach and thoughts to what I will share from discussion with Loyd.

Oh! And if you have a mind-boggling question for Dr. Merlot, please don’t hesitate to reach out:


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