How Women's Talents Will Affect The Workplace

May 21, 2007
The innate female ability to discern fine shades of meaning and negotiate what is unseen will turn out to be the essential competitive tool in the workplace for this century.

In her new book, The Art Of War For Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work, Chin-Ning Chu, president of Asian Marketing Consultants, adapts philosopher-general Sun Tzu's ancient masterpiece to show women how to use his philosophy to succeed in business.

IndustryWeek posed a few questions:

Q: You talk about the fact that women seldom see themselves as leaders. Why is this? How does it impact women in their business environments?

A: Most women are brought up to think that they should act like a well mannered lady. Generally we consider being a leader requires one to be assertive. As a lady, she should not be assertive on her own accord, rather, she should be appointed to a position of leadership first before she can act asserted. Wrong. Leadership is a state of mind, not about a job title.

Before your boss sees you as a leader you need to exhibit your leadership quality first. If not your boss will promote the person who views themselves as a leader first and pass you by.

Q: Your advice to women is to make themselves valuable by bringing in projects, clients and ideas that are unique. Why are women hesitant to tackle this? Do men know this general business strategy already and women don't?

A: No, men do not know this better then women. This is not a gender issue. Once I gave a speech in Bali for the Asian IBM 110% Club. The attendees are the best performers IBM had in Asia. During the ceremony the company gave out rewards to the top six performers. Among them, four were women and three were pregnant.

Q: In the book you say that we are moving from the Man's Century to the Women's Century. Can you give a brief overview of what this means and how women can prepare for this?

A: I believe the 21st Century is the Woman's Century. This is due to the grace of Universal Timing. In this century women will achieve more then thousands of years added together. However, this does not mean everything will be well as it depends on each individual's actions.

For example, Hillary Clinton is running for President in 2007. Women worldwide would like to see her as the first woman U.S. President. Yet when I analyze her chances of success according to Sun Tzu's Art of War's five essential elements for victory, it is going to be tough for her to win. View the analysis here.

Q: The book also talks about the 21st century also being known as the known as the Pacific Century. What characteristics does this embody?

A: The 21st Century is commonly spoken of as the "Pacific Century," because the Pacific is, and will be, the leading growth area. Along with the rising of the Pacific economic power will also come Pacific culture values which tend more towards the intangible and intuitive.

See more on women in manufacturing, including additional articles and educational resources.
Generally people identify the dominant themes of Western culture -- direct, rational, logical, saying what's on your mind -- as masculine qualities; while the Pacific or Asian qualities are distinctly female qualities -- intuitive, subtle, dualistic.

The Pacific culture recognizes a full spectrum of gray; that life is filled with ambiguities and paradox. That which is absent is more real than what is present -- what you see, touch, and hear is less important than what you cannot. Thus the Pacific Century is also the Women's Century.

During this century the female qualities such as empathy, intuition, loving, being accommodating that were considered inferior during the last century, are going to be the dominating force. The innate female ability to discern fine shades of meaning and negotiate what is unseen will turn out to be the essential competitive tool in the work place for this century.

Ms. Chin-Ning Chu, is president of Asian Marketing Consultants, Inc., chairperson of the Strategic Learning Institute, and president of Neuroscience Industries, Inc. She is also the author of Thick Face, Black Heart and was a major contributor to the Discovery Television Great Book series on The Art of War. She is the descendant of Chu Tuan-Zhang, the pauper who became the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty by defeating the descendant of Genghis Khan.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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