Why You Need More Women On Your Team

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Here is today’s message to all you business leaders out there:

Don’t be like me.

YOU: “But Bill, you’re my hero! I’ve modeled my entire career–my entire life–around you!”

Yes, and in most cases you’d be correct to do so. But not in this one particular aspect. Let me explain.

For 15 years, I was the Executive Producer of a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle. Now, comedy always has been–and sadly, still is–primarily a boy’s game. That’s why the Tina Feys and the Amy Poehlers of the world stand out–because they’re exceptions (and also because they’re exceptionally talented). As the Executive Producer, it was my job to hire the staff. And here’s the mistake I made, the one I don’t want you to make:

I didn’t hire enough women.

Now, while I can hide behind the “there weren’t a lot of world-class female comedy writers in Seattle back then” excuse (and I’m not necessarily saying that’s true, just that it’s true enough that I can sleep at night), you can’t. You don’t have that excuse. And you shouldn’t want it anyway. Instead, you should be actively, intentionally seeking out talented women to be a part of your team. Here are a few reasons why:

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  • If your team is made up of predominantly males, you will get predominantly male solutions to your challenges, from a predominantly male point of view. If your competition has a more diverse team, it’ll get more diverse–and better–solutions, and it’ll beat you. Is that what you want? [Correct answer: no.]
  • Half of your customer base is female. (And probably more–women control nearly two-thirds of the purchasing decisions in the U.S.) Shouldn’t “half of your customer base” be represented on your team?
  • More women make your team smarter.

YOU: “Huh? I get the first two, but what’s this about women making my team smarter?”

It’s true–and that’s backed up by Harvard Business Review. A study reported in HBR found that “if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.”

Now, before you start shouting, “Let’s get rid of all the men!,” you should know that the research supports gender diversity. You want a mix–but within that mix, the more women the better.

So, as a leader, if you’ve got an opening on your team–whether that team is a work team, a mastermind group, or even a sketch comedy TV show–be proactive and find a talented woman.

It’s the smart move.



About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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