The Athena Doctrine: A best selling book by John Gerzema is named after Athena, the Greek warrior, whose wisdom and civility guided Greek mythology. The author surveyed 64,000 people all over the world about what traits and values make up a great leader. The results were surprising and enlightening. They showed that traditional feminine leadership and values are now more popular than the macho paradigm of the past. The most innovative among us are breaking away from traditional structures to be more flexible, collaborative and nurturing. And both men and women from Medellin to Nairobi are adopting this style, which emphasizes cooperation, long-term thinking and flexibility.
With 65% female staff and 71% female leadership, The Pita Group has a very personal opinion on these findings. I would be lying if I said I did that on purpose. I interviewed the best candidates for our positions and it just so happens that 65% of them were women. But now that we have that ratio, and in light of The Athena Doctrine, we took a closer look at how it applies to our business and how it affects me as a CEO.
The survey found that some of the traits that were valued in a great leader were being a good listener, flexibility, communication and collaboration. As long as I’ve had this company, we’ve always prided ourselves on our listening skills and being able to communicate well, not only internally, but with our clients as well. And the very nature of our business requires the agency as a whole to collaborate and be flexible with our ideas and our deadlines. I think what I’ve learned most from our female leaders is that persistence and competitiveness can go hand-in-hand with sensitivity and humanity, and your business model and clients are better off with the combination.
With women being the overwhelming majority of household decision makers, it only makes sense that your brand and your company should embody feminine values and traits, especially if you want those decision makers to become loyal to your product. There is a global trend away from the winner takes all masculine approach to getting things done, and our best advice for companies is to get ahead of that trend. A nurturing and compassionate work culture can create a secure feeling for employees and allow for fresh ideas to come through. Women, and the men who think like them will rule the future, and the sooner your company embraces that idea, the sooner it will be a success.