Masculine vs feminine consciousness: The path to adaptive thinking
Our education system is built on a foundation of rote learning. What we learn and how we learn it are skewed towards a dominant masculine consciousness. To prepare new entrants for the business world we indoctrinate their ways of thinking. As leading scholar, Dr Ken Robinson suggests, "We need to teach people HOW to think, not WHAT to think."
There are strong parallels in what is known as right brain thinking, what Dr Ken Robinson describes as the way of the artist and what I suggest is feminine consciousness. Whether your perspective of feminine consciousness is drawn from the brain (right hemisphere), the heart (chakra) or the feminine – they all point to the same thing.
Consciousness as we perceive it in a business context is dominated by reading, writing and arithmetic. It is skewed to scientific inquiry and the emphasis on logical, rationale and quantification. One of the catchcry's in business is "If you can measure it, you can manage it."
Unfortunately, this makes for a one dimensional perspective of consciousness. If it comes down to what we learn and how we learn it, then what place is there for faith, heart, feelings and intuition? What place is there for non-linear or spatial thinking?
Dr Ken Robinson is both an academic scholar and proponent for the arts. He and others like Ronald Heifetz, author of The Practice of Adaptive Leadership suggest that in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing technological environment what we need is not a map but a compass. We are entering a realm of dynamic, fast-paced change the likes of which we have never seen and most certainly have not prepared for. How can you prepare for rapid change when you have no idea what it will look like?
This is the crux of feminine consciousness. It is embracing change, chaos, uncertainty and contingencies. I suggest one very obvious way to prepare for radical change is loosen the chain of command. Fixed structures don't serve in a fluid environment. The more autonomy workers have and capability to make real time, local decisions with a healthy degree of spontaneity the more adaptable and flexible is workflow.
I am not suggesting it be a free-for-all but rather individuals who participate in the creation of the vision and are involved in strategy formulation will then have ownership and a clearer context within which to take risks, make decisions and be accountable.
This is a culture, largely behavioural, not a formula.
Feminine consciousness is fluid, accepting and embracing. At its core it is holistic. It is interconnected with all things and aware of its relationship with its environment. And because of this there is a strong spiritual core to it. Self-awareness is an integrative part of both masculine and feminine consciousness.
If you are looking for ways to think outside the box perhaps the place to start is by asking, "What box?"
Dennis Roberts helps small business owner/operators start, run and grow their business from conception to exit. He is available for strategic advice, business planning, one-on-one coaching/mentoring, advisory board, interim management and facilitation.