Women Are Better Leaders –DeWese
International Women's Day (IWD), held March 8, 2011, celebrated 100 years of achievements made by women.
That same week, Newsweek magazine honored 150 women worldwide for their accomplishments in economics, politics, government, healthcare, education, arts, athletics and religion. But, not one female was honored for her accomplishments in management or sales.
IWD was celebrated worldwide. England staged 469 events. Canada trailed with 266 events and Australia held 260 events honoring women. The U.S. managed to orchestrate 269 events, even though our population exceeds the other English speaking countries 307,006,550 to 117,452,954, or a whopping difference of 190,553,590 people.
If my feeble math is correct, we should have held 693 events honoring U.S. women, who are also our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, educators, doctors, nurses, scientists, police officers, and my list could go on and on.
Way back in November of 1984, in this very column, I wrote that we needed more female executives and salespeople in the printing industry. Many women called to thank me for dedicating a column to the accomplishments, talents and promise that females bring to our industry.
With a wry smile I note that my 1984 column had a profound effect on the upward mobility of women during a nearly 27-year span. Among the Printing Impressions ranking of the 400 largest printers, we now have 11 female printing company CEOs vs. six way back when I typed these columns on an Apple IIc desktop computer.
That means only 2.75 percent of our largest companies have entrusted the top spot to a woman. Way to go men! You are keeping women in the kitchen, the maternity ward, the customer service department and back in the bindery.
I firmly believe that if we had parity among the genders in the U.S. Congress, this country would be better off by far. Women wouldn't vote along party lines; they might vote along gender lines.
Stronger Problem Solvers
Women are much better communicators. They are terrific negotiators. That has been proven by the Harvard Negotiating Project in its long-term studies. My assertion, in 1984, was that females are better at conflict resolution and have greater potential to be much better printing industry salespeople.
Oh, integrity...did I forget integrity? Yes, I did. But then, you must remember I am a male. We learned to lie at an early age for purposes of persuading women to join us in amorous adventures.
Conflict resolution, oral communication and negotiating skill are all prime qualities for graphic arts salespeople. I announced my National Scavenger Hunt for Graphic Arts Company Growth for the year 2011. The first 23 participants who signed on for the Scavenger Hunt were women. Now, I have more than 100 participants, and nearly 70 are women who always appear more eager to innovate and to improve their performance.
I believe that, just as in the case of Congress, had we grown the number of female print executives and salespeople to 50 percent now vs. the number in 1984, our industry would be 15 percent to 20 percent larger, and at least 10 percent more profitable. And, I make this proclamation in spite of the great recession of 2008-2011, which was created, inspired, conspired and implemented by men. If there had been no recession, the graphic arts establishments led by women would have performed even better.
If your sales and profits are wallowing in the recessionary mud, turn the company over to women. I'll guarantee that they will figure out how to hitch up the work mules to drag your business out of the sticky mire. You will prosper, while your feeble competitors remain gasping for breath stuck in the quicksand that we men created.
It's estimated that nearly 70 percent of print buyers today are female. It would have been smart if we had matched that growth with a commensurate growth rate in female salespeople and executives.
Did I also mention innovation and resourcefulness? No, I missed those two traits. I guarantee that if you are frustrated by the absence of a marketing plan for your company, some woman in charge will figure out the right direction to take, and suddenly sales will be much easier to come by.
I urge you to find a copy of the March 7, 2011, issue of Newsweek and study the list of 150 women who the writers designated as movers and shakers. Then, find a way to remind yourself of International Women's Day in 2012. Perhaps, around Nov. 30, 2011, begin to plan for your own celebration honoring women in your company.
Earn Brownie Points
And, even more dramatic, decide that you are going to sponsor an IWD event in your community. You will earn some great marketing points among the 70 percent of the print buyers, who also happen to be female, in your community.
So, there are two great recommendations, courtesy of Printing Impressions. One, sponsor and stage an IWD event in 2012 (let a few men in the door). And, secondly, join in the National Scavenger Hunt for Graphic Arts Company Growth by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, wait, there's one more thing. You know what it is: It's to get out there and sell something! PI
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something" and "The Mañana Man, Books II and III," available at www.piworld.com/bookstore. He is chairman of Compass Capital Partners and also authors the annual "Compass Report." DeWese has completed more than 150 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry's preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.