Womens Strengths and the Value They Bring to the Corporate Table

Don Tennant
Slide Show

10 Negotiation Tips for Women

Tips from "A Woman's Guide to Successful Negotiating."

I tend to write a lot about womens issues, at least compared to others of my gender. I suppose its because one of lifes guiding principles that I value most highly is justice, and women suffer way too many injustices. The fact that Ive been married to an amazing woman for 37 years might also have something to do with it, because it has enabled me to observe and appreciate qualities that warrant a lot more attention than they typically get in public discourse.

One woman who has been instrumental in promoting awareness of the benefit that those qualities bring to the corporate environment is Vickie Milazzo, a registered nurse, attorney, and owner of the Vickie Milazzo Institute, a company that provides training in the field of legal nurse consulting. Milazzo is also author of the book, Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman, which focuses on how womens strengths are especially valuable in a corporate world where social networking is gaining increasingly wide acceptance as a key business tool. I spoke with Milazzo on Tuesday, and my interview with her is posted here.

To give you an appreciation of where shes coming from in that interview, here are some of the female strengths that Milazzo writes about in her book:

  • Women arent afraid to take action. Whether its getting worldwide attention for a new product through a viral video, building support for an important cause through Twitter, or using Facebook to report a nations revolution, theres no denying that social media has made taking action easier than ever before. Successful women know how and when to take action. They know that success is not about what you do when the road ahead is golden and every dip and turn smoothes your way. Its about how you respond when you hit the biggest, nastiest roadblock of all time. By taking action every day, you develop the habits and discipline to make your vision a reality. When you focus not just on the idea but on making it happen, you stay in motion, not merely dreaming your passions but living them.
  • Women arent afraid to ask for help. Be it through message boards, questions posted on Facebook, or informative YouTube videos, much of what makes social media so appealing is its capacity to help us help each other. And because women have often had to fight for everything theyve achieved in the business world, helping each other has become a common practice. I pioneered the industry of legal nurse consulting, so there was no one to teach me how to do what I set out to do. Yet I didnt feel alone. I gathered the biggest CEOs and successful business owners in the country at least those whod written a book and devoured everything I could find about launching a business. I became a successful student of business strategy for life. Intelligent women know what they dont know and when to seek answers. Smart women appreciate that what works today wont necessarily work tomorrow, and aggressive learning is a competitive advantage to achieving any desired goal.
  • Women know how to trust their intuition. The concept that women are more in touch with instinctive inner guidance is so intrinsic to our culture that most people (even men) accept it without expecting any scientific explanation. On the side of science, the larger splenium of the corpus callosum accounts for greater interconnectivity between the left and right hemispheres of womens cognitive brains. Some scientists believe this broader connection enables women to access both sides faster and easier than men. Women are not more right-brained, as is the myth; their brain functions are actually more holistic and generalized. Women fluently engage the limbic brain, where higher emotions are stored, and the instinctive brain, which is responsible for self-preservation. This holistic combination of emotion, instinct, and cognition equates to womens intuition.
  • Women are great relationship-builders. Most women want to give their all to every relationship they have, be it with a coworker, significant other, child, family member, friend, client, etc. and when they cant, they often feel guilty. Our complex society of family, friends, career, and spiritual and social obligations constantly pulls us in different directions. Social media adds yet another layer of complexity, and our always-on devices give us instant access to the world via email, texting, and Skype, but they also give the world instant access to us. Opportunities to commit bombard us at every turn. For many women, it leads them to over-commit in relationships, but when tempered to a manageable scale, this willingness to build relationships sets women up for great success today.
  • Women are natural multitaskers. Chat up any group of women with a variety of talents, emotions, and intelligence and youll find most of them are juggling a dozen different projects, a handful of important relationships, and at least one pressing dilemma. Women excel at multitasking a true leg up in a world that is constantly asking us to do more, more, more. Hand a woman an iPhone and you turn her into a captain of high-tech industry. Shell set appointments, answer email, snap and send photos to friends and family, update Facebook, arrange a party, make dinner reservations, and text her husband to pick up the dry cleaning. Weve learned to bend technology to fit our needs and increase our agility for handling more complex situations at increasingly higher and faster levels.
  • Women know how to collaborate. Its only when we come together and engage in conversation that we raise new questions and think of possibilities at a collective level we would not have considered on our own. Collaboration is not just connecting with people. Its also an attitude of helpfulness. Wickedly successful women know that playing nice is a sign of strength. Inside every woman is a natural collaborator. Thats a wicked advantage we have as women, an intellectual edge we can leverage for using our genius at the highest possible level.
  • Women know the importance of mutual support. Fusion occurs when you merge diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole. More and more that is exactly what is happening in our highly connected global society. Women, it seems, benefit from this connectedness more than men. According to a landmark UCLA study on managing stress, the bonds women form with each other also benefit their health and longevity. The hormone oxytocin, enhanced by estrogen and released as part of their stress response, encourages them to gather with other women. The bond that forms helps to fill emotional gaps and lowers the risk of early death. Men experiencing stress go into a fight-or-flight response. Womens broader response system may explain why they consistently outlive men. When women come together and share their passions, visions, experiences, fears, and promises, an amazing bond occurs. From that bond emerge sparks of brilliance and insight that none of these women alone, or in any other combination, could have inspired. Female fusion is a truly powerful force.
  • Women understand the power of giving. Giving does not always mean pulling out your wallet. Time is a valuable gift. Mentoring is a valuable gift. Spiritual or emotional support is a valuable gift. Sending a person positive thoughts costs nothing and benefits you as much as the people youre thinking about. If theres something you want more of, give it away. If you want more money, encouragement, or love, give it today and you will receive it tomorrow, but not necessarily from the people you give it to. It comes through other manifestations. By giving back, I have received more abundance in every aspect of my life than I ever dreamed possible.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 18, 2011 7:02 PM SealTeam6 SealTeam6 SealTeam6 SealTeam6  says:

When I started in the software business 20+ years ago, there were women engineers in almost all the companies I worked for. But as the years went by, that number dwindled to the extent that their numbers in the current industries are almost non-existant. There were articles in various journals and magazines (ACM comes to mind) documenting the various reasons for the decline. Some issues overlap into the other subjects blogged here. I would like to hear more from the industry as to why this is happening.

Aug 19, 2011 9:18 AM Susan Hall Susan Hall  says:

Research by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has found various reasons that women leave engineering. Among them, the culture that requires long hours, a lack of training opportunities, being passed over for challenging assignments or struggling with ambiguous roles that left no clear path to advancement. I wrote about that and other research in this blog post: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/hall/survey-finds-little-progress-for-women-in-it/?cs=48152

Aug 19, 2011 11:14 AM Su Su  says: in response to SealTeam6 SealTeam6

Here is one study if you like:


Aug 19, 2011 11:34 AM SealTeam6 SealTeam6 SealTeam6 SealTeam6  says: in response to Su

Thanks. That was a really detailed report. I think unfortunately the situation is only going to get worse in this economy and general corporate attitude towards tech employment in this country.


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