In the game of business, I find the bat to be a frequently used and highly ineffective piece of equipment. I know that because I conducted an unscientific survey and in the process, found an amazing difference in the way men and women employ the bat.
At the risk of stirring up some controversy, I’d like to share the results with you. Women are world champions in using the bat to beat themselves over the head; men’s claim to fame is in using it to try to hit home runs.
Neither tactic, in my opinion, is particularly effective.
Let’s start with women. Even the most successful women I know have a profound tendency to take the blame for everything that goes wrong… and I mean everything. Sure, all women, even those highest on the totem pole, have fears and concerns, but why do so many brilliant businesswomen assume that they could have prevented every problem? I know we’re good, but nobody’s that good. So I say to women, take the bat out of your hands! It’s much more productive to take ownership of all the things you actually do right, instead of all the things that went wrong (especially those that are out of your control).
Men, on the other hand, use the bat to swing for the fence. At first, that may sound admirable. Doesn’t everyone want the home run? I equate this trait to choosing the solution before you know the problem. Whether it’s on their own behalf or on behalf of a client, men are more apt to move towards the big win, when often, sustainable success is made up of a series of small victories. It doesn’t matter that they might be great first base hitters or that the team needs a bunt to win the game. If you always shoot for the home run, you might miss small, meaningful steps, the opportunities build relationships and sometimes, a great idea you passed by too fast to notice. Home runs are great, but remember, even when you hit it out of the park, you still have to pass by first, second and third base to score.
So, in the game of business, I suggest both men and women drop the bat and pick up more suitable tools like perspective and common sense. Then, everybody wins.