Thursday, February 7, 2008

Women Superstars Are Portable, Men Less So

This is a point in my blog where I wonder if I'm deviating from the theme of my blog or actually iterating to fine tune the theme. I am personally motivated to encourage change in how technology can provide women with an improved quality of life whether it's for pleasure, work, balancing life, family, etc. I have been trying to focus on the pleasure and fun because there are many other sites that comment on how best to balance work/family etc. However to encourage technology companies to consider an audience so unlike the gender makeup of most technology companies requires a shift itself to be more attractive to women to want to join it. So this then leads me in the direction of wanting to include in my blog articles and commentary on why it makes business sense to improve the gender make-up in companies.
In Harvard Business Review this month there's an article on the portability of superstars in the work force by Boris Groysberg, it's a second article pulled from a large data set. The first article had findings that showed it was extremely hard for a superstar in one company to transfer to a new company and still perform at the same outstanding level. However the new article has looked at gender differences and determines that women can move successfully between organizations. There were two primary reasons, first, women have stronger external networks, which they've developed because internal networks can be harder for them to develop. This means when they switch companies they weren't as dependent upon that internal network for their success compared to their male counterparts. The second reason is that women are more likely to way up the environmental factors of moving to a new company: culture that is open to female talent, openness to individual style, and impartial performance measures, this contrasts to a man moving to a new company for financial rewards.

Take aways:
Developing an external network is important, for people who are starting their careers it's developing it outside their group, division, or organization if a small company.
A woman who is second guessing her intuition on whether to force herself to make a move based on compensation if she feels it's not a good fit should probably go with intuition.
A company hiring talent needs to consider how it operates to considered an environment where individual styles can florish. I say operates because I can imagine how a company could try to convey that individual styles are supported, but without the reality to back it up the high flyers recruited in will not continue to rise.

It's bizzare to read the short summary on the HBR site because it's so rare that I've read an article where it's highlighting what women do that men can learn from to be successful in business!

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