Month: July 2016
Have you ever sat in a meeting and asked yourself, “How in hell did this guy get an executive job? He must have pictures of board members doing it with goats! What a maroon!” Me too. Way too many times. Over the course of the last 30 years, I have come to one conclusion – if you want a job done right, get a woman to do it!
Let me qualify this just a tad. I have worked with numerous amazing executives and managers, both male and female. However, there are far too many overconfident, swaggering peacocks blundering around the business world. They slap too many backs at the golf course and the Lion’s Club while devoting minimal time and thought to their business operations. It’s the same whether we’re talking public or private sector.
The engineering sometimes amazes me. How can a walnut-sized processor operate an ego the size of Antarctica? I am certain you know the person I am talking about. The probability that any individual is good at his or her job is only about twenty percent, but many managers and executives are successful at faking it for years or even decades.
Women are less entitled
In general, I have found women to be easier to work with. They don’t have the baggage and sense of entitlement that men often bring to the job. They have had to work harder and are more interested in details. They’re cautious and thoughtful.
Women are more likely to have knowledge, skills and abilities because they had to work their way up whereas men have often been dropped right into management positions out of university because they have “management skills”, a dubious concept.
In my opinion, management isn’t really a primary skill – but it’s a great secondary one. Working for a “big-picture guy” is always a challenge. Working for a thoughtful woman is a more rewarding experience – that’s how I found my wife!
Even in middle management and supervisory ranks, male conceit is an impediment to projects that involve systemic changes. Men get their backs up right away and start presenting obstacles. Every idea or suggestion is taken as a personal attack. “I was wrong” is an admission few men are able to make, especially among executives and senior managers. I don’t know if this male quality is a genetic or a social construct, but it is real.
Poisoning your enemy
While it has been said that poison is a woman’s weapon, I’ve certainly been poisoned and stabbed in the back much more often by men. They’re so used to getting their way that they don’t know how to compromise through debate and discussion. Women are more likely to contemplate and reflect rather than declare war, or even worse, the type of secret guerilla warfare operation in which men often engage. Women negotiate and men dig a trench.
Golf Course Promotions
Men have a sense of privilege. They think their career is supposed to go a certain way because they belong to the right clubs and golf with the right people even if they have absolutely no neural activity. Women simply work hard.
Through a genetic accident, I lack both the “Sports” and “Joiner” genes, so I am naturally skeptical of such activities, especially Golf. The Golf Course seems to be where most of the really bad business decisions are made and where the truly incompetent often get their promotions.
I suspect many CXO’s make software purchasing decisions somewhere between the first and nineteenth holes. “Joe says TBQ makes the best ERP. Make it happen and don’t bother me with the details. Let me know when it’s done – you can text me at the golf course!” Maybe this explains why $40 Million implementation cost overruns are so prevalent.
Women approach complex business problems with open meetings where they solicit a variety of viewpoints and try to understand the entire scope of the situation. They will agonize over details while a man in the same position will often make a snap decision without a second thought. That kind of hubris always frightens me.
This may all seem like a sweeping generalization, but that is what I do for a living. Next time you want a job done right; just get a woman to do it! If you want to pick a fight over what I’ve said, feel free to e-mail me or take a look at my blog on Information Technology Governance.
© Copyright Jeffrey Morgan, 2016
The idea that the color of someone’s skin has anything to do with creating a “diverse” organization is, well . . . bigoted and racist. It’s a patronizing idea that could only emanate from guilty, pampered and clueless people who live in segregated suburbs, teach in pristine ivory towers, and generally see unicorns and rainbows everywhere. I find the idea to be offensive, but it is a core component of the catechism of official beliefs held by the Masters of the Universe in government, large corporations, and universities. This belief is so ingrained that few can see how abhorrent it really is.
Yes – I just called you a bigot and a racist – go find a Safe Space if you are feeling threatened.
Hiring for Cultural Fit
Your company’s diversity program isn’t really creating diversity in your workforce. True diversity is about thoughts and ideas and doesn’t come from skin color or sexual orientation. Admit it – you don’t want real diversity in your organization. You are looking for cultural fit. You don’t want any of those people who challenge ideas and assumptions. And you definitely don’t want someone who will tell your CXO’s that their brilliant idea is the dumbest utterance ever spoken. In most cases, an ideal employee is a sycophant who will stroke the soft and fragile feathers of your mollycoddled executives and managers. The perfect employee keeps his mouth shut in order to keep his job.
To me, the idea of cultural fit is all about hiring people who will go along to get along. It is about hiring people who won’t challenge the status quo in your organization. Those people are easy to find and they come in all races, shapes, sizes, and sexual orientations. Their resumes all look exactly alike and your HR people are experts at identifying them in only 12 seconds. “This one’s different – chuck it in the garbage.”
A black and white issue?
Many organizations look at diversity as a binary issue. “We’re a diverse organization” can often be translated as “Look, we have black people working here.” So condescending! A slightly different translation is “Look, we have white, black, yellow and brown people, all in the proper proportions working in harmony. Hakuna Matata!” A purple female veteran in a wheelchair gets quadruple bonus points for the EEO Report. Even better if she is a lesbian and don’t worry that she has no actual skills.
One company I worked for hired a brilliant Chinese woman with a Ph.D. in physics for a specific management position. She and I had lunch together often and we always had lively discussions. I was more than a little bit smitten with her because a great brain is the first thing I am attracted to in a woman. The only problem was that she was a terrible manager. Rather than fire her, or get her training in management skills, the company created a new position under her to do the real management work. I don’t know what the rationale of the executives was, but I have always suspected that she fulfilled some diversity quota that they thought they needed. Unfortunately, the executives weren’t fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. Other employees just found it maddening and demoralizing. Most Americans really want to believe we live in a meritocracy and anything less is a bad deal for everyone.
Where are all the old people?
When I was in graduate school, I worked at a Fortune 500 company and asked some of my coworkers where all the old engineers were. They looked at me like I had 3 eyes and they squirmed uncomfortably until someone worked up courage to chime in. “There aren’t any,” one sheepishly replied. “They burn out by 40 because they can’t handle the pressure.” They had all sorts of officially approved diversity in that company, but very little diversity of wisdom earned from decades of experience. Wisdom is much more difficult to measure than skin color.
There’s another reason why no one wants mature workers – they are highly resistant to brainwashing and bad ideas. They ask “why” too often. By the time you hit 40, you have zero tolerance for stupidity. That’s why the CIA won’t hire anyone over 35. It is also why Big 4 consulting firms like to recruit right out of college. You have to start the programming early.
“Jeffrey. You don’t understand reality. We only do this so we won’t get sued! We are not really as ignorant and stupid as you think. We’re not really racists and bigots.” Hmmm. I suppose I am not a master of the universe because I am not smart enough to understand how Title VII really permits blatant preferences in hiring based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin” just so you won’t get sued.
Real diversity isn’t a black and white issue and it comes in many forms. While skin color is the least important, it is the most highly prized. However, if you are looking for the “right” kind of diversity – the kind where people have different ideas – stop looking at meaningless, superficial indicators. Just hire the most qualified person for the job!
For some excellent reading on this subject, take a look at Hard Truths About Race on Campus in the Wall Street Journal. Ilya Somin’s recent piece on racial preferences at the University of Texas is also excellent. To top it off, read what Walter Williams has to say about Stubborn Ignorance.
If you are really angry with me over my lack of enlightenment, or agree with me fully, send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
© Copyright Jeffrey Morgan, 2016by