Do Women Lack Vision?

womanwithbinoculars-1

The facilitator posed the question, “Do women lack vision?” to a panel of senior executive women at The Boston Club, an organization that advocates for and helps companies find women directors for corporate boards. The panel included Laura Sen, CEO, BJ’s wholesale club; Willow Shire, Board Director, TJX; and Gunjan Kedia, Executive Vice President State Street Bank.

In Women and the Vision Thing  (Harvard Business Review) Herminia Ibarra writes,

“Women scored lower on “envisioning”—the ability to recognize new opportunities and trends in the environment and develop a new strategic direction for an enterprise.”

This conclusion was based on 360 ratings by peers of the female research subjects. Why is this important? Peer ratings tend to be lower than those of other rater groups, including managers and direct reports. For this reason, the Emotional Competence Inventory, a well-validated 360 assessment, adjusts the weight of peer group scores. To conclude that women lack vision, based solely on evidence from peer group ratings, seems a bit on the light side, in my not so humble opinion.

Questions about whether women lack vision and strategic thinking, may grow from a limited perspective about what vision and strategy look like and how they are expressed. Perhaps a vision is sometimes just that, a picture, versus words on a power point slide. In addition some people find it challenging to hold the notion that women (or any person) can be good with details and strategy simultaneously, or even sequentially. A discussion, later in this post, points to gender based brain differences that explain why and how women do both.

Vision is Visionary

For now, let’s leap to Pinterest, where ideas are expressed in pictures, and explore a different way of viewing whether women lack vision. In a recent post, Vicki Van Alstine wrote that women make up 70 – 80% of Pinterest users.

Pinterest is a visual expression of how and what users are thinking. And if a vision isn’t a picture, what is it?

At Google+ users express their ideas in words, and over there, men account for two-thirds of the 90 million users.

Men are for words? Women are for pictures?

Perhaps women are flocking to Pinterest because it is more aligned with our visionary ways of thinking.

Visions in Her Brain

According to Ellen F. Weber, PhD, Director of MITA International Brain Based Center, there are structural differences between men’s and women’s brains. Women access and integrate more areas of the brain to solve problems – which is the brain’s highest and most complex function.  Whereas men tend to approach problem solving with a logical step by step analysis, women use logical analysis, pictures, metaphors, and emotions. Each of these intelligences accesses a different area of the brain.

I often think in pictures. It happened the other day when Charlotte was talking about a new man in her life. An image of Charlotte swimming deep underwater flew into my brain. I described it to Charlotte and asked why this particular image was coming up? She responded that the relationship is taking her places she has long been afraid to go – her fear of deeply intimate relationships – well below the surface – underwater, so to speak.

Women with Visions

Moving away from Pinterest, the brain, and back to the business world, here are a few examples of women with vision.

Spanx, The Pampered Chef and Rubber Sidewalks are three successful companies started by women who saw needs that others did not notice. Then we have Judy Faulkner, founder of e-health company EPIC Systems, dubbed “Health Care’s Low Key Billionaire” in Forbes. For additional examples dubunking the myth that women lack vision see How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business Success by Margaret Heffernan.

The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnshon is another excellent resource for understanding what and how women see differently, and why businesses benefit when leaders open their eyes to this difference.

Are you, or do you know, a woman with vision?

Please share your story here, and my apologies that the comment section does not allow you to post a picture. Perhaps a woman should design an app that does.

Click the picture to purchase either or both books that are among 3Plus International’s recommended gifts for professional women (and men).

 

Author:  Dr Anne Perschel Co-Founder of 3Plus International

 

www.3plusinternational.com

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog

27 COMMENTS

  1. Having read this I believed it was very informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of
    time both reading and commenting. But so what,
    it was still worth it!

  2. First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you
    center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
    I do take pleasure in writing but it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure
    out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Many thanks!

  3. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone
    during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my
    phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great blog!

  4. Hi! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I needed to ask.
    Does operating a well-established website such as yours take a large amount of work?
    I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience
    and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or
    tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

  5. Hi there. I discovered your web site by the use of Google while searching for a comparable matter, your website got here up. It seems great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back later.

  6. Hiya! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!

  7. Admiring the persistence you put into your site and detailed information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  8. Generally I don’t read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  9. The very root of your writing whilst sounding reasonable originally, did not work well with me personally after some time. Somewhere within the sentences you managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a very short while. I nevertheless have a problem with your leaps in logic and one would do well to fill in all those gaps. If you actually can accomplish that, I could undoubtedly be fascinated.

  10. Thanks for another informative web site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  11. Thank you for another informative website. Where else could I get that type of info written in such a perfect way? I’ve a project that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  12. Greetings I am so delighted I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  13. Thanks for giving your ideas. I’d also like to state that video games have been actually evolving. Technology advances and revolutions have served create authentic and fun games. These kind of entertainment games were not as sensible when the actual concept was first of all being experimented with. Just like other styles of technological innovation, video games way too have had to grow by way of many generations. This is testimony for the fast continuing development of video games.

  14. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.