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Dakota McKenzie

Knowledge stocks and knowledge flows (as you put it) for example, are both necessary.
I love your phrase "tacit knowledge". I think we usually call that "culture" but to call it knowledge implies it is rooted in knowing and makes it a verb. To call it tacit highlights that it is a community experience and brings awareness to the sometimes unconscious process of its evolution.
Now, when we evolve, it is usually counterproductive to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
What is worth saving (in fact necessary) in the "masculine" perspective and how do we save it? How do we integrate it? How do we waste not and highlight the gems that we will need so that they are there and happy to step up when we need them?
How do we create a happy, viable whole?
I think the true feminine teaches the masculine how to work together.

Dakota McKenzie

Thank you for laying this out so clearly.
Now I want to hear what you have to say about integrating the two.
I actually believe what women in business bring is the possibility of an integrated perspective and a more productive, viable world.
Each individual has both, each perspective has gifts and challenges.
It is in the right timing and use of perspective that wisdom is found and abundance created.


Great piece, John (and right up my alley, as you know). Linda Carli and Alice Eagly co-wrote a great piece that is included in the book "Women & Leadership" (2007) edited by Kellerman/Rhode. In"Overcoming Resistance to Women Leaders" they write how "the leadership styles more typical of women than men resemble those recommended by most experts on leadership."

It is not an either/or masculine vs. feminine way, as you note... nor is it necessarily in evidence in daily interactions among male/female colleagues. It is embedded in a culture that we all have to start questioning out loud and online. As well, like anything - in order for this discussion not to be considered a "women's" issue, and frustrating as it is to write this, there may well need to be more men willing to bring up the topic in order for it to get the attention it deserves. From my sustainable business perspective, exploring the masculine and feminine and getting more men and women comfortable with both sides in themselves, will advance business thinking by leaps and bounds. As also mentioned in the Carli/Eagly piece - it reflects a difference in "transactional" vs "transformational" leadership. You and all your readers know which way we must be heading! Thanks for this thorough piece.


I have been talking about the distinction between Reductionist and Holistic methods in the sciences and especially in AI research which has been misclassified as a Reductionist discipline for sixty years. So far I have been reluctant to bring the gender based differentiation between the favored methods into the discussion but it is clearly there; and it might be a factual evolved differentiation going back to hunter-gatherer times.

The Knife is the Reductionists tool. It divides larger problems into smaller ones that are easier to solve. The basket is the Holist's tool. When problems cannot be solved, Holists gather more resources.

Someone with both tools is clearly best prepared since they see more solutions to every problem. In simple situations it doesn't matter but in some situations using the wrong tool prevents progress and we may not realize that's our problem, especially of we are much better knife-wielders.

And yes, if your model or problem solving is dividing what exists, then zero-sum is a more likely "solution".


I think a combination of both is good realistically speaking. Sometimes change is not entirely necessary because the systems in place are fine and built in a way that allows for sustainability and sometimes emotion is not a necessity... I think a balance is what is needed as opposed to an X vs. Z type of system.

Gregory Rader

John great post. This analysis begs the question, how will masculine culture adapt to this imperative. I recently came across a quote discussing the dominance of paternalistic values in contemporary culture to the effect of "the world is not organized around connection", the implication being that it is organized around competition (masculine). Yet, increasingly as you note, the world is organized around connection.

I am optimistic that men (and the masculine) will adapt successfully just as women (and the feminine) have adapted quite successfully to paternalistic culture. Social media/web 2.0 culture is quite literally a culture built around connection and yet is a culture that many men have embraced enthusiastically.


The future of business belongs to the feminine archetype.

Depends on how you define feminine archetype.

Margaret Thatcher is very different than other female leaders, for example.

Joe McCarthy

I thought about the feminine vs. masculine at several points while reading The Power of Pull, and am glad to see you highlight the distinction here.

I recently encountered another example that corroborate several of your points. Alyssa Royse wrote a Seattle 2.0 blog post about Are VCs Too Smart For Their Own Good?, in which she reminded me of an insight shared by Guy Kawasaki:

... you should always get a woman’s opinion. It’s not because he thinks women are genetically superior (though he does say that,) it’s that we’re better at evaluating a bad idea when we hear it. He blames it on the fact that men have a “killer instinct” that makes them predisposed to think that any idea that will lead to “killing” an existing company or product is a good one that should be pursued. This killer instinct (which I think sounds very similar to the instinct to get laid,) supposedly clouds men’s ability to think clearly and rationally, and sometimes makes them make stupid decisions, (which again, sounds very similar to that instinct to get laid.)
Angela Dunn

Thank you, John,

Some numbers of success:

"New research shows what many have long suspected: women entrepreneurs are poised to lead the next wave of growth in global technology ventures." http://www.illuminate.com/whitepaper/.


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