The Great Pause brought to us by the novel coronavirus has given us space to create change and design a future that looks a lot different from our recent past. What has been in so many ways upsetting, stress inducing, and downright frightening has also provided an opportunity to arise in a better way.
Different organizations have different approaches to that, but for agencies, I would challenge you to consider using some new language as we all acclimate to a new world. Now, this may seem like a subtle change, but as an agency leader you already understand the power of words—and, therefore, how powerful a change like this could be.
I’m talking about using more feminine language and adopting more feminine qualities in all aspects of your agency to create a balanced, inclusive approach to business development. I’ve created a pitch guide that goes more in-depth on this important topic, but here’s what you should know right from the start…
Masculine and Feminine: They’re Not At Odds
You may already instinctively understand which traits are masculine and which are feminine. Masculine energy is hot: it’s action-oriented, structured, logical, confident, and competitive. Meanwhile, feminine energy is cool: it’s receptive, patient, grateful, empathetic, collaborative, and vulnerable.
In a society that values success and achievement, we’ve grown too masculine, too hot. We’ve called the feminine energy “weak,” which is so far from the truth, it’s laughable. We’ve created a world in which women, who typically have more feminine energy, are forced to stifle their unique gifts in order to play in a “man’s world”. The result is out-of-balance businesses that fail to value their employees, make strong connections and relationships, learn from their mistakes, or appreciate the power of teamwork.
As an example, one report showed that 86 percent of employees don’t know what their fellow employees are working on, indicating a clear lack of collaboration. In a competitive masculine environment, employees might not want to share resources, feeling they have a “leg up” by being the only ones with certain information. This is the type of damage an out-of-balance workplace can cause.
The truth is, the masculine and feminine energies are within all of us, and we’re most effective—as individuals and as agencies—when they’re in balance. The feminine energy examines the situation. It considers the people involved and plans a strategy to move forward that is rooted in fairness, transparency, and win-win situations. Masculine energy puts that plan into action.
Men who cling tightly to only masculine traits can become aloof, commitment-phobic, and arrogant. Women who embrace only their feminine traits may have trouble getting things done. Businesses are the same way.
You need them both, and changing your language and your focus is how you start to change the entire situation.
Your Agency’s Feminine Side
How can your agency bring forth its own feminine power? There are a lot of ways:
• Listen for Emotion: How do your clients feel? Step away from stats and numbers and listen for the subtle emotional clues that may be influencing their decisions.
• Tell the Truth: There’s never been an excuse for deception, but these days you will be found out and blasted on the Internet. Tell the truth, even when it’s hard or embarrassing.
• Live Your Values: The most powerful companies today are taking bold stances on what they believe, and they’re making choices—in donations, in where they do business, in where they source materials—that are aligned with their clear values.
• Admit What You Don’t Know: Masculine energy insists on having all the answers, but it’s okay to not know something. It’s a vulnerable place to be, but it demonstrates your willingness to research and learn.
• Value Your Relationships: The masculine seeks to monetize relationships, while the feminine energy can value them for what they are, even if getting to know someone doesn’t lead to any business advantage, at least not immediately.
How This Leads to Big Wins
For several years, there’s been a movement toward the authentic. Social media gave businesses an opportunity to invite consumers behind the scenes and get to know the faces behind their favorite products. There’s been a deeper appreciation for leaders who can admit their mistakes and imperfections. That doesn’t scare people: it makes them like you more. That’s the power of vulnerability. That’s the power of feminine energy.
Embracing that feminine side will lead to stronger relationships, more thoughtful decisions, and a clear path forward for your agency that’s rooted in trust, gratitude, and teamwork.
Your New Vocabulary
Today’s words are inclusive, intuitive, sustainable, intimate, generous, resourceful, abundant, and collaborative. How will these words and the associated values emerge in your pitches?
• Instead of showing off your past accomplishments (masculine) you’ll ask questions about your potential new client’s needs, goals, and fears (feminine).
• Instead of maintaining a “we do this, you do that” approach to the partnership (masculine), you get truly collaborative and embrace the client’s goal as your own (feminine).
• Instead of assuming you’re the obvious choice for your client because your ego says so (masculine), you express gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate on shared success because you recognize that they had many other options (feminine).
There are a lot of ways to bring a greater feminine/masculine balance into your agency, and I discuss more of it in the pitch guide. Download it today for more information about the power of feminine energy and language, and how it will help better position your agency for new business in this new now.
As always, comment below or reach out if you have questions.