If feminine ways of making decisions are “Fran,” and the masculine approach to decision-making is “Max,” we are all “Frax.” We are “Frax-wise” when we can use and appreciate both approaches. In the area of decision-making, Max’s approach (the masculine)) is to focus on the goal and approach it in a logical, linear and efficient way. Fran focuses also on the process, gathers ideas, involves others and synthesizes input. Both ways are valuable in different circumstances. Frax-wise people know when to use which; they appreciate someone whose approach is different from their own and know the value of having both on a team. Frax-wise leaders know this difference can create obstacles and work to lower those obstacles.
There are both strengths and limitations to the masculine and feminine forms of making decisions. The prototypical male focuses on the goal and gets straight to the point. That’s great for efficiency, but important issues may be missed. The prototypical female values more process and gathers multiple inputs. That’s great for creativity and buy-in, but it can get bogged down. Either approach alone may get sub-optimal results. The best decisions come from a group that balances masculine and feminine approaches.
Better decisions really do come from diverse groups. The comfort of being with those like ourselves makes us pay attention less; having even one person who is different from the group norm makes people process information more carefully. There is more creativity and innovation, and outcomes are better and more sustainable.
Continuing to explore differences in masculine approaches to work (represented by the prototype Max) and feminine perspectives at work (represented by the prototype Fran), we come to differences in masculine and feminine ways of making decisions. Both approaches focus on goals and tasks. But Max focuses on the goal first and foremost. Fran also focuses on the process for achieving the goal and the connections important to achieving it. The balance of both–the bias for action and the skill of gathering and synthesizing inputs–leads to the best outcomes.
The 2018 elections are good news for women — and great news for our country.