Opposites Don’t Always Attract

How many of you remember watching Sesame Street’s “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other” segment?  The purpose was to show you how to make groups based on similarities.  Did you ever wonder what happened to that “One Thing”?  That is what happens many times to women in business.  She is not like the others.  Is that a good thing?  Is it an obstacle? It makes you think, if nothing else.

I was recently asked to submit a proposal to speak for a Company on recruiting and retaining women.  I wanted to do some research on the Company and I was impressed with the services they offered.  I was hoping to find details about the leadership team and lo and behold, I hit paydirt….there was a picture, and not just individual pictures. There was a team photo. The only way to tell the individuals apart was to look at their ties.  Every single member of the leadership team was male and around the same age.  I started to giggle and thought to myself something was missing from this picture and maybe that was why they didn’t have any women on their team.  That was when the Sesame Street song came into my head.  I envisioned a woman in the picture and she definitley would not have been like the others.

My question was this, what happens when we bring some women into the mix?  There was not a female role model for her to work with.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some very successful men on the team that could show her the ropes, but as we all know, men and women are different.  Pretty profound statement, wouldn’t you agree?  I was brought back to my career over the past three decades and remembered what it was like to try to be myself while working with no one like myself.  I was constantly told to “stop being such a girl” and even more often told “you don’t need to make friends with everyone’.  When my business model was based solely on referrals I was told that my system was not duplicatable.  It was an uphill battle.

What can you do?  Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding the one that is not like the other, and mentor her to reach a level of success where she can be the role model for other women and pave the way for the next generation of women.  As we all know, women attract women and could help pave the way for others.  Another suggestion would be to speak to women coming into the business world for the first time.  Talk to them about being a woman in business, the differences between men and women,  and how vital their role is on a team. We need to embrace the differences and work together to make a successful team….but first we need to make it more difficult to pick out the one that isn’t like the other.

3 Responses

  1. You are so right, Laura. I too have caught myself trying to be one of the boys and discounting what I bring to the team as too soft. I’m sad to say that I have fallen short on mentoring because I was caught up in my own cycle but no longer.

  2. When I spoke before I was commeting about “Opposites Don’t Always Attract”. I apologize to Laura for my confusion. I’m new to blogging.

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