We love these thoughts from Dene Stuart, founder of the Thinking Revolution:

It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, Maybe!

The song It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, co-written by Betty Jean Newsome, was released by James Brown in 1966. Written to emphasize both the differences that existed for the two sexes back then, but also the fundamental need and value of both sexes not just for life but for society. (if you’re not familiar with the song you can hear it HERE.)

And the question is: What has really changed?

As I am a man writing this you might think that I am not the best placed to answer that question but I’m going to argue that, in fact I am. I undoubtedly benefitted from being a man in the career I chose. Selling advertising for the Daily Mirror, at a time when the newspaper world was the epitome of misogyny, was not for the faint hearted, either male or female.

There were some women who succeeded in that environment because in any environment there will always be some who have the determination and single mindedness to do so but they were rare, and they didn’t make it into the boardroom. Not an unusual picture back then or now.

But here’s the thing. To succeed in that environment as a man you still had to play by the rules of the game.

If you were a man and you bought into the game, were good at it and played by the rules you could succeed. But if you tried to break that pattern then success was not going to be forthcoming. The guardians of the game made sure of that.

The irony was that my understanding of this principle, was given to me by a woman who had succeeded in this man’s world. Christine Walker established Walker Media in the 1990’s and it rapidly became the largest media buying agency in the UK. For some reason Christine took a shine to me, as the executive responsible for maintaining the business relationship between Mirror Group and them, and her words to me in one of our meetings still ring in my ears.

“Dene what you have to remember is that it’s a game for consenting adults!”

The game stopped for me when I could no longer accept and play by the rules of the game. It didn’t matter that I was a man. I couldn’t play the game any more and the opportunities dried up. The issue is not that it’s a man’s world but that it is a world of unwritten rules. The question that everyone faces at some point is:

Do you want to play the game of your life by someone else’s rules? And that applies whether you are a man or a woman. Then there’s the question that comes next. How do you create the life you want, living by the rules you want?

This is where I believe the tide is turning and what I see, is women stepping up and forward and creating the change they want to see. I run my own, and go to a lot of, personal development seminars and there is a clear pattern in my experience.

When it comes to personal development, the audiences are predominantly women and I think the reason is that the vast majority of men still view the need for personal development as a sign of weakness.

They are very happy to enrol in classes they can define as professional development but put the word personal in and they run a mile. It will take time but if this pattern continues there will be a shift in the power base and by the time men notice it will be too late. Because what I know to be true and so apparently do most women, is that personal skills trump professional skills in every way, when it comes to getting the results in life that you really want.

Not least because you can automate professional skills, but personal skills will always remain just that.

Maybe the big hit of 2066 will be It’s Woman’s World.

Dene Stuart – Founder of Thinking Revolution an The Exceptional Leader University


How do you create the life you want, living by the rules you want? Applications now open for our March programme of She Leads Change: apply here