Why Can't Men and Women be Business Partners
Ok so this first thing I want to say is that I am NOT a MAN Hater... Far from it. This Hub is being written to help me figure it out. I will admit, I am an A type personality and an entrepreneur. That said, I have been terrible at choosing male business partners. This is an attempt to examine why.
In the past 5 years I have built two separate businesses with two completely, what I assumed, opposite male business partners. One very good looking a little edgy, kind of the wanna be rock star type. The other the very conservative more the button down and polo type, very smart and gregarious, able to gain your trust. However, BOTH instances ended in financial disaster on for me personally.
In the first situation, I brought a business opportunity to a male business partner with the intent of obtaining venture capital. This worked well, until .... the golden rule took effect. Not the one about treating others with respect and the way you want to me treated. NO... the one that he who has the gold makes the rules. Yes, through a few corporate gymnastics, my position in the company was compromised. While these maneuvers were technically ILLEGAL, here is where the GOLD comes in. In order to prove, that these actions were highly Illegal it requires legal actions and if they have a lot more GOLD then they can just simply wait you out. Or of course in this particular case, the leopard doesn't change his spots. They end up in prosecution for even greater wrongs. AND with any luck someone with more GOLD will put an end to the behavior.
What continues to baffle me is that while there are numerous situations to the contrary, I presume, what seems to be prevalent here is that male ego takes over. Now I understand that our society has expected men to be the leaders in business. But society has changed!!! Women have established themselves as competent contributors in business. Frankly, women, from my own experience, tend to work harder, are much better at multi-tasking and certainly manage the stress of work and home much better. Some of this is the result of the fact that we are still trying to prove something. There truly is a glass ceiling that is still present in business today.
Thankfully, it is diminishing and it tends to only be prominent only in relationships with men over 40. Younger men have been raised in a society and families where women's accomplishments were acknowledged and appreciated.
Thanks to the women that truly cut a new road for us to follow. Barbara Walters was the FIRST woman anchor. Rumor has it that Harry Reasoner wouldn't even acknowledge her presence off camera and he received all kinds of ribbing from his colleagues about "How he needed a woman to co-anchor!!"Today there isn't a single news broadcast across the nation that doesn't include a woman and sometimes several women as a part of the team.
Mary Kay Ash built one the largest cosmetic empires in the world and yet, while she held the title and had the track record, the members of her own board treated her with disrespect and belittled her opinions. Thankfully she held true to her passion and never wavered. The list is immense of the true renegade women that believed in their dreams and held true to their course.
I am thankful not only for these women but for the fact that our children seem to be somewhat oblivious to these concerns. This issues seem foreign to them as they have been raised in a more colorblind world. They don't see gender preferences and they don't see color as a benefit or a weakness. They look to a persons' values apart from other criteria.
I may be completely off base here in my assumptions but since this is not the first time that I have experienced this particular situation I think that there may be something to it.
My most resent business partner relationship developed from my desire to build a company in a retail market in which I had limited experience. The proposal was that I would provide the initial investment capital in exchange for his contribution of a list of deliverables based on his area of expertise. For this we agreed to equal ownership. Unfortunately, this did not happen. I put the money in and he took the money out. He isolated me from critical relationships telling them that I was too busy to meet with them. HUH?? This was a way to assure his position of authority. My patience ran out when he actually sent me an email message titled "FROM ABOVE THE GLASS CEILING" I don't know, help me out here, but I think that is inappropriate.
This has nothing to do with sex it has to do with gender. What causes this phenomenon?
I have tried all the various approaches .. allow them to think its their idea, boosting their ego so they don't feel threatened, befriending their spouse so that there isn't any conflict or concern externally but nothing seems to have worked out very well. I have successfully managed both men and women and this has never been an issue when the position of authority has been established, it has only been an issue in seeking equality.
I do not have the answer but it does make me skeptical. I do see male/female business partnerships that work, but what makes the difference? If you seem to know please share your comments.