Published: February 14, 2013

By Jim Lichtman
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Skimming Huffington Post, something jumped out at me.

“My company is more likely to be a success because of me!

There it was, on the Business page of HuffP just belowBreaking News about Warren Buffett buying Heinz, (he must love the ketchup).

“According to the hard numbers – as presented in a new study by researchers at Dow Jones VentureSource (Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Start-Up Success?) – companies with one or more women executives have a greater chance of succeeding than those without.”

That’s Linda Miller, good friend and CEO of deets, Inc., “a mobile technology company dedicated to improving people’s lives and productivity through meaningful on-the-go sharing and collaboration solutions.”

I’ve always known (secretly) that women can be much more effective in positions of leadership than men. Now, here’s a woman who’s willing to share some of those secrets.

We’re good at thinking about other people.

“Okay, I hate to stereotype my own gender here, and obviously there are exceptions, but in general, women are more sensitive to the needs of others. That likely explains why so many of the senior women leaders in the Dow Jones study were in external-focused roles like sales and marketing. It also means that they bring a much-needed awareness of how a company’s products and/or services will connect with people in the real world.

“From their senior roles, they’re in a position to shape not only messaging, but also to create products and offer services that are more relevant and useful to their target audience. It’s hard to create something that people really need. It’s just as hard to make people understand they need it. You can create the best app/software/solution in the world, but if your customer doesn’t understand what’s in it for them, they’re not going to buy it.

We’re collaborative and community-oriented.

“Rock star, boy wonder, tech wunderkind. For some reason, this behavior is indulged in lots of tech founders. But investors get tired of it pretty quickly. Guess who gets tired of it even more quickly? Women.

“We want to be surrounded by smart people who make our lives easier, not children who need constant care and feeding. Women know that being the smartest person in the room isn’t about proving yourself the smartest person in the room. It’s about being smart enough to surround yourself with other smart — and ideally even smarter — people, who will make your life easier and your company better. We women want to make smart hires, build lasting, cohesive teams, and nurture the best talent. No wonder we have a hand in start-up success.

We’re the outward symbols of a healthy internal culture.

“Ladies, sometimes it’s not about us. Much as I’d like for women to take all the credit for strong companies, it’s more complicated than that.

“Often, a company with successful women leaders is one in which different voices and perspectives are valued — and that’s as much a credit to the men on the team as it is to the women. Sure, I’ve worked with some men who can’t stand to be challenged, lead by bullying, and don’t like anyone who doesn’t fit the old boys’ model. But more frequently, I’ve worked with men who respect and appreciate a diversity of opinions, and who want women as part of their companies to create a culture that’s more like our culture as a whole.

“Look at Facebook: The company might have a more male-dominated culture (apparently there aren’t binders full of women engineers), but who are two of Mark Zuckerberg’s most-valued colleagues? His sister and Sheryl Sandberg. Need I say more?

“I wish the secret to a successful start-up were as simple as ‘Just add women.’ It’s not.

“I know from experience. Success comes from a great idea, hard work, great people, more hard work, more great ideas, and a little – or a lot – of  luck. But it’s nice to know that we women have a little something to do with it, and that there’s good reason to put tired old ideas of what a start-up is ‘supposed’ to look like to bed. But don’t worry, we’ll help tuck them in… alongside boy wonder… and then get down to the business of running successful companies.”

Smart stuff, but that’s not all. My own observations:

Listen Up!

Women are, generally, better listeners than men and make better use of what they choose to listen to. They know how to separate the bull from the s#@! in conversations without the constant need to prove they’re right.

Able to Bend

In Buddhist thought, women are like water. When they encounter an obstacle such as a tree or rock, they simply bounce back and flow around it. Frankly, women are more flexible than men. They know how to adjust to the news at hand. They’re already lighting the candle of solution while men are still cursing the darkness of the problem.


Women are less rigid and dogmatic. While listening, they are opening their minds to the possibility of a better way.

Team Players

Women are better able to support the entire team rather than look for ways to complain and blame. They don’t compete as much as they encourage those around them to rise to their own level of excellence.

Better Leaders

When it comes to the top of the pyramid, men lead by ego. Women lead by wisdom. It is a rare man in a long-held position of leadership that does not possess a somewhat inflated ego. They usually get the cover of Forbes and Sports Illustrated, taking credit for the successful deal or play of the week.

Women understand that the only way to success is if the entireorganization succeeds. It doesn’t make any difference where the idea comes from, as long as it works! If it doesn’t work, they move on to the next idea.

My greatest influences have all come from women.


There is one arena where women do not dominate; one field that remains the domain of men: Comedy. Until Hillary Clinton makes it in stand-up, men will forever take first place in making a joke out of everything.


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