Why is Femininity a Major Asset to Your Business in the Digital Age?

This will not be another article about a woman’s role in an increasingly digital world.
We won’t be talking about women’s rights or their role in the workplace.

Instead, I will be addressing femininity in the broadest sense of the word and how it should be viewed as not just a professional skill but, more importantly, as an asset.

To take full advantage of this article, I urge you to leave all your biases about femininity and masculinity here (Yes, it’s hard but give it a try). We must also forget all the gender stereotypes related to femininity and masculinity that we were force-fed throughout our childhood, adolescence, and even today.

You have to think of femininity as an asexual characteristic, as a personality trait or as a skill that you can acquire, improve and apply in the corporate world.

It’s all about culture

As part of my Digital Transformation course for MBA Program students, one of the first workshops is a Digital Acculturation Workshop. In this section I lead students in discovering the importance of corporate culture in the success of digital transformation projects and explore different tools to measure corporate culture.

You might be surprised to see me starting a Digital Transformation course talking about culture. Most entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketers in my classes are also surprised.

Among the models used is Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. According to Hofstede, we must take six dimensions into account to differentiate between national cultures:

  • Hierarchical distance
  • Degree of individualism or collectivism
  • Control of uncertainty
  • Long-term or short-term orientation
  • Indulgence or severity
  • The degree of masculinity or femininity

This model can also be used in the business world. Studies have found that companies where the power distance is minimal, the degree of collectivism is high, the indulgence to failure is high and where the degree of femininity is high are the companies that are more likely to succeed in their digital transformation.

This means that those businesses will adapt and integrate digital innovations and technologies ( NFTs, 3D printing, The Metaverse,..) faster than other companies. In a world with exponential digitalization, this is HUGE!

But What is Femininity?.

Several experts describe corporate culture as masculine in companies with clearly differentiated roles. On the other hand, those where the roles are interchangeable are more feminine.

In male-dominated societies, aggressiveness is seen as a driving quality because people will tend to prioritize individual advancement, supervision of subordinates’ work, responsibilities, and salary.

In cultures seen as feminine, cooperation with others is seen as the main quality, with workers being attentive to good physical working conditions, variety, a friendly atmosphere, and common goals.

Diversity for Excellence.

One of the major challenges for businesses worldwide is to adapt to rapid changes in consumer behavior and new digital technologies.

This hyper-connected, ultra-informed, super-demanding consumer expects brands to figure out their needs and respond to them with a more personalized approach than ever.

This new consumer imposes new challenges and higher-than-ever quality standards on new product development teams. Gone are the days when it was enough to have a team of software development geniuses, for example, to create a great product.

Today, a good idea, a good business model, and a functional product are no longer enough to succeed. Even in the context of fundraising, one of the main factors on which investors base their decision of whether or not to invest is the team.

A mixed team with a high degree of diversity allows the creation of a product for an even larger consumer target, thanks to the diversity and representation of several categories of consumers within the team itself.

Femininity and Innovation in Business.

Regardless of their sector of activity, organizations that have been able to successfully drive fundamental change have all been able to identify and cultivate certain characteristics and qualities within their teams.

According to ManpowerGroup, these are the nine indicators that constitute a culture of innovation:

    1. Experimentation: Encourage all employees to try, achieve, and experiment with new things, even if it means making mistakes.
    2. Trust: Establish a relationship of trust between employees and management to effectively manage change and encourage the emergence of innovative initiatives.
    3. Courage: Overcoming obstacles and overcoming difficulties through a mixture of will, determination, and passion.
    4. Collaboration: Putting aside individual interests to encourage much more fruitful collaborative and transversal work
    5. Tenacity: Demonstrate perseverance, audacity, and firmness to never lose sight of the objectives.
    6. Curiosity: Promote openness and interest within teams.
    7. Communication: Practice and encourage active listening and the exchange of divergent points of view and ideas with employees.
    8. Learning ability: Know how to learn and unlearn to be able to acquire the right skills at the right time in an environment.
    9. Diversity: Innovation feeds on the wealth of profiles and talents within an organization. When we talk about diversity, we are talking about diversity in terms of age, culture, professional experience, and gender as well.

A New Style of Leadership for the Digital Age.

The role of leaders in the digital age has evolved significantly over the years, with great acceleration in recent years. Effective leaders today are first and foremost empowering.

One of the most important missions entrusted to them in the current context of remote working and decentralization is making collaborative and transversal work possible, valuing risk-taking, and leaving room for failure and experimentation. For most companies, this is a real cultural revolution.

This is a new less vertical management style that helps identify employees who can drive this change and create opportunities to increase motivation and productivity while respecting the imperatives of distancing.

These new in-demand qualities of accompaniment, coaching, and support generally considered more “feminine” management styles. In contrast, we will find a more vertical style of leadership, where the roles are very delimited and the field of action very restricted.

It is clear that femininity is not specific and exclusive to women and masculinity is not specific to men, even in the business world. Considering the opposite true, which most of this article readers will do, is as limiting as watching a 3D show on a small 2D screen.

It is imperative to know how to use femininity as an asset at your company or team level and avoid major Digital Transformation pitfalls and to maximize your chances of succeeding in this digital age.

Do you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts!