“Don’t try to play the same game that everyone else is playing.”

In episode 29, Shawn McBride shares his thoughts on the advantages women bring to business partnerships and how they can use their unique strengths to win.

This episode is also available via iTunes and Stitcher.


R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride for Business LLC. He’s a practicing attorney, author, and speaker with media appearances including the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and TEDx – and actually it was Shawn’s TEDx speech that caught my attention and interested me in a conversation, it was titled “The Advantages of Women in Business Partnerships.”

Why speak about women in business?

  • Staff recognized he had unique working partnerships with women
  • Staff suggested it as an idea for a TEDx speech
  • Since then, found that lots of groups are interested in hearing this message

Main advantages of women in business partnerships

  • Collaborate / cooperate – more team-oriented
  • Communicate – differently than men. Open communication across business.
  • Compromise – research shows women are more likely to find a win/win compromise whereas men are more likely to hold out

Why women are not represented in leadership

  • These advantages are not being used properly.
  • Women have great advantages but not enough women business owners are building business around these strengths

“You don’t want to play by the same rules as the male-run business… you compete by using your abilities and talents.”

How can women win in the workplace?

  • Collaboration – set a culture for working as a team from the beginning.
  • Eliminate office politics. Women do this well. Sometime men are having power plays and employees see this tension.

What about female employees (not owners) in a male-led environment?

  • You still want to be authentic to you. Most organizations care about results at the end of the day.
  • If you’re not in control, focus on what you can control. Can you build better relationships, communicate better, create win-wins etc.
  • Studies show women are much more likely to take compensation based on group outcomes.
  • Help everyone win and if you’re at the right organization, they will ensure you’re rewarded.

In what other ways women-led business are winning?

  • Compromise – women will find ways to keep everyone moving forward, while men are more likely to split ways.
  • Can keep an eye on whats needed in the long haul

Negotiation strategies

  • Understand other sides side so you can tailor to their needs and wants
  • Women can communicate well, collect a lot of information. Great especially for long-term ongoing relationships.

When women emulate male leadership styles

  • Some people make the argument that women should do this.
  • It’s better to look at your own style and  strengths and compete on that basis.
  • People can see a natural disconnect when someone is copying someone else’s style.

How men can better support women in the workplace

  • Allow them to be themselves – every individual has their strengths. Build your org around those different work styles.
  • Don’t expect women to play the men’s game.

Final piece of advice for women

“This is your chance to be yourself.”

The thing that has been missing for too long: be the person you are and compete on your strengths.