March 12, 2005

Excerpts: Naked Truth #2

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:40 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Naked Truth #2 Business is personal.

To write this book I interviewed dozens of women who’d reached CEO positions and two at the C-level (Chief, reporting to the CEO) in major companies. All achieved success in the business world almost unknown to previous generations. Each one cited romance, family, and relationship milestones alongside education, achievement, and finances. Read Jack Welch’s autobiography Straight from the Gut if you harbor the illusion that men see the world similarly. His marriages get a few non-reflective lines each and his philandering (which had to have affected business) none at all. Perhaps his follow-up, written with the woman who broke up his second marriage and dramatically affected his departure from GE, will address the personal/business intersection. It’s possible to learn from mistakes, but only if you cop to them. The women I interviewed eagerly recounted mistakes along with triumphs. I’ve tried to do the same.

There are two types of business books for women. (Reminds me of a friend’s comment: “There are two types of people in the world: those who believe there are two types of people and those who don’t.”) The first type of book advises you to try to be like a man to succeed, which includes keeping your emotions out of the workplace. This book is the second type, which avers that a healthy leader recognizes, and responds to, the emotions involved in decision-making and business relationships. Pretending to see logic in your boss’s petulant behavior when you pay attention to his business rival doesn’t make it go away. Realizing that he is behaving like your high school boyfriend—and treating him accordingly—just might.