Do women make better analysts?

Do women make better analysts?

By Dr. Ben Gilad, ACI Faculty

First, my answer is Yes. Second, I admit- the heading is mostly so more women read it and then come study with us. Naturally, it is a generalization, and like all generalizations, it holds a kernel of truth but doesn’t apply to every analyst.

At the recent CI+Strategy event in San Francisco, I listened to a panel of seasoned market analysts that included two men and two women. I fully related to what the male analysts, Leo Boulton of ADP and Roger Yoder of NetApp said. That’s because I am a male analyst.

What I learned, however, I mostly learned from the female analysts, Meg DeWitt of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Amy Ahrendt of Cisco. Here are the main lessons. If they are trivial to you, bless your heart. They were illuminating to me about my shortcomings.

  1. Be a bragger.

Most analysts are introverts. We prefer data over PR. Yet even if you are averse to bragging about your achievement as an individual, “bragging” about the achievements of the intelligence function is critical. If managers know what intelligence has done for others in the organization, you gain credibility. Keep track of your impact on decisions, and then communicate the successes even if it is against your nature.

  1. Reduce their anxiety.

When presenting analysis on unfavorable or strategically risky developments to executives, never leave them with the feeling of “oh, boy.”  Always tell them, “but no worries, here is what we can do about it.” This is a classic female perspective as I just tend to hit my clients with a 2X4.

  1. Work your passion.

The best mechanism to choosing topics to focus on for future presentations to the board is to follow your passion. No one knows what will become a truly strategic development, so each team member focuses on what interests him/her with an eye on the potential impact on executives’ thinking.

  1. Be patient.

One never knows when an intelligence white paper is suddenly acknowledged as relevant. Put it out there and you may be rewarded in unexpected ways. I personally find this characteristic impossible. I have NO patience. I believe the exec should see the full truth of what I presented NOW.

  1. We are a tribe.

Working alone is my preferred mode but as Sameer Bhatti said, the competitive network is a tribe. And the value of the tribe is in its diversity of perspectives. There is no one truth, said Meg and she was so right. The narrative inclusive of a variety of perspectives is what executives need and what they seem to actually value.

With these qualities (patience, communication, anxiety reducing, passion and community-centric), more women should earn CIPs™ and join intelligence rolls in market and product management. Take this post to your HR department.

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