HOW YOU DEFINE SUCCESS

Before we get started, we need to clarify what we mean when we talk about success, a word we’ll be using quite a lot in this book. In our experience, women often define success a bit differently than men. This means they also define success differently than organizations have traditionally expected people (primarily men) to define success.

Instead of viewing money and position as the sole or even chief markers of success, women also tend to place a high value on the quality of their lives at work and the impact of their contributions. Enjoying co-workers and clients, having some degree of control over their time, and believing that their work makes a positive difference in the world are key motivators for many successful women.

This does not mean women don’t care about financial reward or position—not at all. If women believe they are underpaid or feel their position in the organization doesn’t reflect the level of their contribution, they will resent it. And this will certainly impact their commitment and their perception of success. After all, money and position are still the carrots companies use to reward people and recognize their value. And most of us work because we need or want money.

However, one reason organizations sometimes struggle to retain high-performing women is that they operate on the presumption that high salary and high position will always be sufficient motivators the survey also indicated that men tended to place greater value on attaining a high position and earning a high salary, whereas women placed a higher value on the actual experience of work. Earning an excellent salary or achieving a top position did not feel as satisfying to women if they were unable to also enjoy their days. Not every day, of course. But enough to make the job feel worth it.

Men not only tended to view position and salary as more important than women do, they were more likely to judge themselves (and others) based on these measures. Sally and Marshall have both seen how this Sally and Julie’s research also found that men placed a greater value than women on winning, viewing it as a significant source of satisfaction and a key marker of success. They enjoyed besting competitors, “running up the score,” and often assigned a numeric value or rank to their contributions and achievements. Women, by contrast, took less satisfaction in competition and scorekeeping and often went out of their way to describe winning as the result of a collaborative endeavor.

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