The Classic 'Masculine' Business Model Works Better When You Add Women

How getting away from cutthroat corporate practices can "mobilize talent, drive innovation and drive transformation."

Here's one more reason to be concerned about the scarcity of female leadership in the business world: Qualities that are often associated with women more than men, like favoring collaboration over competition, may end up helping companies more in the long run.

In a conversation with The Huffington Post on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Valerie Keller, head of the Ernst & Young Beacon Institute, predicted a rise in the application of "historical feminine traits" in what has traditionally been a more masculine field.

While conventional business strategy emphasizes winning at all costs, Keller said that having a broader, softer mission may actually be more beneficial.

"If we’re saying that there’s a humanization of business, does that mean that it’s now incorporating both the masculine and the feminine?" she said. "I think that’s potentially right."

Keller said that according to EYBI research, "when a company’s purpose has evolved from ‘Beat the competition'... versus saying, ‘Yeah, we’d like to succeed and be out in front of our competition, but we’re playing a bigger game,'" companies end up doing better in both respects.

In other words, Keller suggested, businesses that don't just focus on turning a profit, but that also consider and solve bigger problems, tend to be more successful.

"That idea that ‘We’re up to something besides attacking the other’ is actually able to mobilize talent, drive innovation and drive transformation," she said. "So, the historical things that businesses want more of."

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