Why women don’t succeed in business

March 23, 2014

Got ethics ?

We can talk all we like about leaning in, leaning back, not leaning at all or any other concept that purports to understand why women aren’t better represented at senior levels in business.

Yes, motherhood and choices made because of that do have an impact. But there’s something else.

Could it be that some women do not have a seat at the table because they still act like they’re in high school?


During a very long career in business I’ve seen some women (and men) fail miserably. I’ve also seen women (and men) excel and not only get a seat at the table, but use it wisely.

The women who succeed at senior levels are not the women who take sides on matters they know nothing about.

These are not the women who fail to keep their word.

These are not the women who behave unethically in the corporate environment.

They are not the women who drag others into their petty little battles.

GossipingWomenNo, those women in business usually go nowhere.

Women who win are those who are impeccable with their word.

Who keep agreements or if they must break them, do so ethically, always seeking a win-win and not trying to get one over on the other side.

Women who keep their own counsel and mind their own business.

THESE are the kinds of women that belong in the executive suite and at the head of businesses.

Some women simply cannot get past high school behavior and as a Baby Boomer feminist, this pisses me off .

 Women are never going to be great role models–or get anywhere significant in life–if they act unprofessionally.

And I have certainly seen enough of this recently in business both large and small.

Yes, I’ve seen it.

Men in business are far from perfect. Yes, there are many men who behave unethically.

But their gender gives them a leg up.  It’s an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless: we’ve got to work harder and be even more impeccable with our standards.



Sometimes, we women can be our own worst enemies.

14 comments on “Why women don’t succeed in business
  1. I agree. But then I always seem to agree with you. xo

  2. Excellent words, Carol…well done!

  3. Doreen McGettigan says:

    I admire you for writing this post. 100% true!

    • admin says:

      I know it could be interpreted as lobbing a bomb, but really, I have seen so much for so many decades…

  4. Diane says:

    My Husby works as a civil servant. Yes, his name is Grant. And yes, he works for the government. And yes, he could be considered a Government Grant. The policy for some time in Alberta’s Civil service is to actively, sometimes rabidly promote women to the top jobs. And it’s been causing a whole new set of problems. After reading your post this morning, I’m getting an inkling of why! Excellent post!

    • admin says:

      Now that’s a horse of a different color. Affirmative action programs have done a lot of good and there are many women very qualified to hold those positions. A debate for another day, but a good one to have–thanks for giving me an idea for another post and discussion,Diane! And for the grin at “Grant. Government Grant” sort of like “Bond. James Bond.”

  5. Right on, sistah (!) with the call-out of high school behavior. I would say that there’s been a good bit of it going on with the brouhaha about Sandberg and the whole “lean-in” story.

  6. You mentioned “lobbed a bomb” and I understood what you meant, but the only people who wouldn’t agree with this I’d think would be those who – I mean, right?- saw themselves in the high school references. Thanks, fun post.

    • admin says:

      There are also people who didn’t read it fully and object to the mentioning of a typical female stereotype. But those are people who didn’t read the post fully, I suspect. ;p)

  7. Puneet Kumar says:

    Your words are true, simple and true. You very clearly open up your mind. I love to read you.

  8. Susan Cooper says:

    I’ve known several women who were top executives throughout my career. Those that were ethical, professional and served as role models continued to excel. Those who somehow made it to senior levels despite the high school behavior were usually found out and ended up changing jobs often. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

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