Difference > Equality



Men and women have different brains. That's the case author Kate Lanz, author of "All the Brains in the Business: The Engendered Brain in the 21st Century Organisation (The Neuroscience of Business)," says. Let's discuss.


The boys and their meathead melons do their best to understand all the knowledge this brilliant lady is droppin' on this must-listen episode.


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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

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Sovren (1s):

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Intro (29s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HRS most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.


Joel (48s):

Aw, yeah!


Chad (51s):

Let's go! Alright Cheeseman. How you doing man?


Joel (53s):

Oh man. The world is awesome!


Chad (57s):

Lies! Welcome to the Chad and Cheese Podcast everybody. We're starting out this podcast with pure lies and with Kate Lanz, I say Lanz because she's proper!


Joel (1m 9s):

Lanz. The Queen's English.


Chad (1m 12s):

She is the founder And CEO of Mindbridge and author of the book. Give me a second. I don't want to screw this up...


Joel (1m 18s):

Take a deep breath.


Chad (1m 19s):

... All the Brains in the Business, got to take a second breath, The Engendered Brain in the 21st Century Organization the neuroscience of business. That's right, kids, neuroscience on Chad and Cheese. Check that box.


Joel (1m 34s):

I feel like book titles are the new keyword stuffing for SEO. It's like, let's make that title as long as possible.


Chad (1m 41s):

I love it, but okay, so Kate, that's a little bit about you, give us the deep, dark long walk on the beach in Twitter form. About how about you give us a little bit more about you.


1 (1m 51s):

She's a Sagittarius that enjoys cricket and a cold ale.


Kate (1m 57s):

I'm actually, I'm actually a Virgo, but the ale bit is true. So I spent the first part of my career bootlegging round emerging markets and Guinness was one of the many products that I had the great privilege of not only selling, but also enjoying.


Joel (2m 16s):

Selling Whoa, this, this interview took a different turn.


Chad (2m 19s):

Love it. So right out of the gate, it's no longer a man's world. So why are we asking women to think like men, the Engendered Brain in the 21st century? I think that's the connection that you're trying to make, right?


Kate (2m 33s):

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Very often and it is still the case despite lots of really, really well intentioned and well executed initiatives for diversity and inclusion, still too often, women are kind of expected to be the best men that they can be at work and whilst there are lots of things that our brains have in common. There are some important things that they have in difference and those differences don't get seen as well as they could. And that's what I, that's why I wanted to really bring the neuroscience of brain sex difference to the party.


Joel (3m 6s):

We'll get into the work thing in a second. When I, when I heard we were bringing on the show, I was really curious about your take on the timeliness of the coronavirus and COVID-19 and why countries with women leaders, New Zealand, Germany, come to mind ...


Chad (-):

are kickin ass!


Joel (3m 24s):

... are doing so much better than say, I don't know your leader in our leader.


Kate (3m 30s):

Yeah. Right now, of course, you know, there are many factors that the impact that said, I, I don't think it's purely coincidence that the way some of those women are leading, many of those women are leading is having a good effect. I think that women's brains and bodies are more attuned for collaboration and cooperation and less inclined to kind of silo and compete and grandstand. That that's being very stereotypical so forgive me for that.


Kate (4m 3s):

But I, I do think there's something profound.


Joel (4m 6s):

That's ok, we do that on occasion.


Chad (4m 8s):

Quite often!


Kate (4m 11s):

But there is, there is a difference in the approach that I think has worked better. And the truth of the matter is the coronavirus we can only solve, if we do it together, it's a global pandemic. It's affecting all of us. It's not going to go away anytime soon. So becoming siloed and competing and, and shutting each other out, is just simply not the way forward. And a lot of the women leaders demonstrating good collaboration


Joel (4m 40s):

And, and just like women leading countries, at least in this crisis is a good thing. Are there case studies that you know of with women CEOs that have handled, you know, damage control much better than maybe some of their male counterparts, any success stories of women CEOs out there?


Kate (4m 57s):

Yeah. I mean, there were, there were some wonderful women CEOs in both the States and in the UK, I'm not sure I'd call out anything in terms of sort of crisis management, per se. There are organizations where the organizational design is beginning to be less hierarchical and more organic and emergent with teams that, that form, and then un-form and come together around the tasks. So Driving Agility and GSK for example, a very successful female CEO, Accenture in the States recently, a very powerful, impressive female CEO.


Kate (5m 35s):

And I do just, I just think that, well, I actually think it's important that we come, that things happen in partnership. It's not like men's brains or women's brains are better, but they are designed to compliment each other and too much of what goes on in organizational cultures, suits brains that at the more male Brit and the brain sex spectrum, you know, and by the way, the sex of your brain isn't necessarily the same as the sex of your body. So it's quite a sort of subtle, sophisticated thing.


Chad (6m 8s):

Yeah. Well, okay. So quick question, because from my standpoint, as, as I dove into this and tried to think hard about it, and man, my brain hurts, it seems we really haven't evolved our behaviors from when we were actually surviving in the wild. We only just put on suits and sat in offices. We really focus on that survivability kind of instinct versus being able to really evolve as human beings.


Kate (6m 34s):

Yeah. Bingo, that's it. You said it, you know, our brains really haven't changed much since, since we left the caves and here we all are. And in a very modern, sophisticated environment, which, you know, by the way, our prefrontal cortex has created, but the brain still functions with the ancient limbic brain jumping in first and reacting emotionally to stuff before we can start thinking about it. And that's what gets us into a whole lot of trouble.


Chad (7m 0s):

Okay. So you talk about the emotional piece and there is always the stereotype that women are just too emotional to lead. Why is that something that is put out there and what is actually behind it, for the good or bad?


Kate (7m 14s):

Yeah. Women are more typically on average tuned in emotionally, they have higher levels of oxytocin in their brains and bodies, which is the bonding hormone. The way they notice the world. So they, they, they see micro-expressions in people's faces and they, and they pick up other people's emotions.


Chad (7m 33s):

They pay attention.


Kate (7m 35s):

Well, the different type of attention. It's not that, yeah, it's a different type of attention. And that's the thing. Women take their power on average, differently from the way men do you know that that's important to know and to leverage that difference because it has a huge impact on performance as we're seeing, as you say, with some of the female leaders in the world at the moment,


Chad (7m 56s):

Talking about taking power, talk about that, because I mean, that, that to me, being in a male dominated brain, which is the T the two idiots on this podcast are obviously we know what that means. How does, how does, how does a female take her power differently? And I mean, this is, this is incredibly awesome to understand, not just for working with females, but I also have a wife, right. So this is great relationships,


Joel (8m 24s):

Help us Kate.


Chad (8m 25s):

please, Kate


Kate (8m 27s):

With great pleasure. Yeah. So if I really summarize it in very simple binary terms, women tend to take their power collaboratively through relationship and men take that tend to take their power competitively through, through hierarchy that isn't sort of massively oversimplifying because of course, you know, we all do both of those things, but, but if I boil it right down, neurobiologically that, that tends to be the way that we've evolved.


Kate (8m 58s):

And very often the relational side of the equation gets is, is largely unseen in terms of what gets measured, what gets rewarded and, and many big corporate cultures. And that's missing such an important trick really. And the point that Paul and I are trying to make in the book is that if you let all the brains in the business, come and do their thing their way, then you get the best out of them. And if you're trying to force the brain to be something that it's not, it's a bit like driving with a handbrake on, and you're just never going to get top performance.


Joel (9m 34s):

Okay. You mentioned, you mentioned culture and there's obviously corporate culture, but I'm curious how just general culture plays into it. I mean, here in the States, a woman from New York city isn't necessarily the same culturally as a woman from Wisconsin, a woman in England also isn't the same as a woman, generally in the US. Does culture in general play into this, in this formula, or not?


Kate (9m 56s):

More in the sense of being feeling seen and feeling welcome. So organizational cultures are defined by the way, things go on around here, type things. So the way people run their meetings, the things that get rewarded and so forth and what I'm arguing for, but our brains have basically got two dominant modes. We can either be in survive, where we're slightly on the defensive, we're protecting ourselves. We're producing the neurochemistry, which is adrenaline and cortisol.


Kate (10m 25s):

And we were not really open to learning and being effective as a result. Or we can have our brains in thrive, which is when you're in flow, stuff comes easily, you think, well, you get your energy levels just stay high. And organizational cultures that recognize how to get individual brains into thrive are the ones that win. And they are boy, do they win? And there's a lot of research to support that.


Kate (10m 56s):

And so it's all about that. So if I had a, you know, a woman in my team from New York, who's very different culturally, from somebody in England, I would just be looking to understand what's that individual brain, what motivates it? How can I get that person's brain into thrive? And that will be different for each individual.


Joel (11m 17s):

It seems like, the 20th century initially was all about sort of women adapting to the male environment, right? Like Chad and I both remember the shoulder pads of the eighties, right. And women sort of trying to be like, men is the pendulum swinging the other way where men are starting to try to think like women. And at some point, do we come together because of that pendulum swing? What's your take on sort of that, that dynamic?


Chad (11m 44s):

That was a knock on me for doing yoga.


Kate (11m 46s):

Good for you.


Joel (11m 49s):

Hot yoga chat. Only the hot yoga.


Kate (11m 53s):

Yeah. That's a lovely question.


Joel (11m 55s):

And lovely.


Kate (11m 58s):

Yeah. Lovely question. Basically. Yes. If I look at the younger, if I look at my kids, two, two, two sons, you know, young men, young adults and their girlfriends, that generation is so cool. So many of the issues that my generation had to front into in business are just, they're just going away. What we need though, is for corporate culture to catch up with it. It's still designed in the cold, the old, slightly militaristic hierarchical model that, that needs in a chuck it in the bin and rewriting with all the brains equal numbers of men and women and within those equal numbers, really diverse brains to, to, to replot what do we focus on?


Kate (12m 39s):

What are we reward and how do we really enable people to do their best?


Chad (12m 45s):

So we, we talk a lot on the show about equality and in the book, it actually talks about the power of gender difference, not gender equality. So you see that's the secret source or the secret sauce for success. Can you tell us about that, about the difference between gender difference in gender equality?


Kate (13m 8s):

Yeah. So I profoundly believe that that we should all have equal opportunities. The way that we get to those opportunities is different. So men's and women's brains on average will approach the task differently. And it's really enabling the difference to not just be at the party, but be invited to dance. And so whilst we have a lot in common between our brains, there are some important differences that if you know what they are, you can leverage them. And I do this with my clients all the time who understand this stuff and they use it, they use it in negotiations.


Kate (13m 44s):

They use it in conflict situations...


Chad (-):

Good cop/bad cop.


Kate (13m 48s):

... understanding, sorry, not necessarily. Yeah. And it's not necessarily it, but it's like a different way of paying attention in the world. And so when you pick up what other people are noticing that you maybe aren't noticing,


Chad (14m 1s):

right.


Kate (14m 2s):

.. you can use it as opposed to act in ignorance of it. And everybody wins. Everybody wins.


Chad (14m 11s):

I'm pretty much trying to talk about the power of design within a corporation and how they actually work, not the same, but different to get to the, to the same task completed. Yes,


Kate (14m 24s):

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So it's allowing the, so, so for example, there's some really interesting research out of the University of Pennsylvania, which looks at the way the neural connectivity works in the brain and in the male brain, the connectivity is running farm or inside each hemisphere front to back. In the female brain the activity is predominantly operating between hemispheres. And so in the male brain, neural patterning, you tend to get the risk response, which is input in from the five sentences to coordinated action, kind of, you know, get on with it, fix it fast.


Kate (14m 60s):

With the female brain, the way the attention works is more emergent and iterative. And so women might think more broadly, might take longer to look at a task and come up with solutions to it, but they'll come up with different solutions to it. And you get both of those brain patternings working successfully together, and you will really problem solve very effectively and very creatively. And, and that's the trick is like understanding where the different shows up and leveraging it.


Joel (15m 28s):

We talked quite a bit on the show about how COVID-19 is accelerating so many things, right? Whether it's technology or culture, et cetera. And I'm curious on your take in a work from home world, does this slow down the minds coming together? Or am I missing something? Because my take on it is if we're not in the same room together, connecting in that way is going to be tougher than it is if we're at the at home desk.


Kate (15m 56s):

Right? Yeah. Cool question. One of my dominant observations, working with clients over these last some months is that actually more brains are coming to the party because people are not in those big buildings in London or New York or wherever, where there is a kind of way of going on and you know, a dominant pecking order or whatever. And so I'm hearing from a lot of clients that voices that they haven't heard so much from in the big buildings in London are speaking up more online and that people are feeling safe and having the time and the space.


Kate (16m 32s):

So I think there's a huge amount from, from working from home that is actually far more brain-friendly than the way we were kind of going on before.


Joel (16m 40s):

Interesting. Interesting. So there's an old saying that, you know, change happens, you know, one funeral at a time, meaning that when, when the old die out, the new ideas come into play.


Chad (-):

The old white dudes.


Joel (16m 50s):

So this is my own, this is my okay. Boomer question of the day. How does, how does age fit into, into your calculus?


Kate (16m 59s):

Yeah, that's another, another cool question. I mean, like I say, I look at my kids' generation and some of the stuff I was grappling with as a, as a young woman in business, they will just not tolerate it quite frankly, they'll just leave, leave the company will never apply in the first instance, if they don't really sense that this place is really open to diversity. So that's cool. So I do think there's an age element to it. And I do think that, you know, some of the old, the old leaders will be, it'll be good to say bye-bye.


Kate (17m 30s):

That said also a lot of the guys I work with who are in positions of power are very committed to making the workplaces that young people come into genuinely equal in terms of valuing the difference. So I do think there's a really strong argument for partnering with the existing power structures in an intelligent, thoughtful way where that's possible, obviously.


Kate (18m 2s):

And there were some notable examples where that's not the case, but so


Chad (18m 8s):

So I read a Kinsey study that talked about $8 billion Us being spent on DNI training every year. That's a lot of money.


Kate (18m 20s):

It is a lot money.


Chad (18m 21s):

The big question is, does it work?


Kate (18m 23s):

I think that those efforts have done and they have been worthy efforts. I think they have raised awareness, but it's, it's been glacially slow. And you know, my thoughts on that because a lot of the power structures in place don't want to relinquish their position. So I think there's a real moment in history now to accelerate massively and really create gender balance across organizational structures, political structures, and just, just do it just let's just change the game and let's change it now because future generations will depend upon it.


Chad (19m 2s):

So the $8 billion to me and tell me what you think $8 billion to me seems like charity. They're giving it to charity. There's this great, wonderful, inspiration and motivation that happens out of it, but there are no outcomes. Or there a little outcomes. Take a look at the number of females that are CEOs in the fortune 500 today compared to just five years ago for goodness, eight, $8 billion. If we spent that money on actually creating programs to pipeline females or individuals, more diverse individuals into those positions, I would think that, that would would help.


Chad (19m 39s):

But what it sounds like you're saying is the people that are in power now, like the way it is. So this is really just kind of like throwing money out there, saying, look at what we did. We're doing this great training and we're done. Is that what you're feeling? This isn't something that is really meant to drive outcomes?


Kate (19m 59s):

I think most of the initiatives that I've seen a genuinely well-intended, they're very well-intended, but it's like, you know, turning these big, slow battleships around. And so I would say awareness has been raised, changes is happening, but it's just too slow. And of course there are pockets, and I think they are pockets where it's a tick box exercise, and nothing new has really, really happened. And I think we need to be far more radical. And, you know, if ever there was a moment that demand demanding medical change, it's now.


Chad (20m 32s):

Yeah, right.


Joel (20m 33s):

We have yet in this country to elect a woman president, there is a consensus that a woman may never be president and a few lifetimes. And this is more of a general curiosity question for me. So I hope you'll humor me on this, but as someone who lived in a country, and I assume you remember Margaret Thatcher? Joe Biden, the democratic competitor has already committed to selecting a woman as his vice president so I want you to put on your political consultant hat for a second.


Joel (21m 5s):

And what would you tell Joe Biden in terms of what to look for in a female vice president in order to win a general election?


Kate (21m 13s):

Yeah, love it. And, you know, good for Joe Biden. And it would have been just criminal not to not to have done that. What should he look for? He should look for somebody who is very much their own person. They know themselves well, and they're confident and happy with who they are. Somebody who is, has got a track record and, and challenging the status quo and somebody who is not trying to be the best man that they can be, but has got demonstrable evidence of being proud and delivering results, doing things as, as she would do it.


Chad (21m 52s):

Well Kate I would like to say, thank you for joining us. I have one last question for a couple of white dudes who want to, To help in this, in this, this effort. What can, what can we do?


Kate (22m 10s):

Thank you. That's a fantastic question. First of all, please do. And I read the book and really understand some of the neurobiological differences because once you know what they are and where they are, you, you can have conversations and notice things in a really different, but subtle way. And then I would really encourage you to partner with the female talent that you see around you and in your lives. Generally not, you know, not just the work environment, but everywhere and lean in and enable those in partnership.


Kate (22m 45s):

Those women's brains to thrive and, and you will see results and you will see people flourishing, but they will do it differently from the way you guys would. And it's when the partnership really works. It's fantastic. It's a wonderful thing. And it just on that note, one of the young men I worked with in a financial services company, he emailed one of the women he worked with after one of the sessions we ran and he just said, you know what? I owe you an apology. I was always kind of slightly discounting the kind of ideas you brought to the conversation because they just didn't jive somehow with me.


Kate (23m 21s):

Right? So now I can see that you, that you pay attention differently. You notice different things. And actually I'm the one who was missing a trick. So my apologies, I will reach out and ask you what you think. And it's that kind of response, and really listening carefully to what that response is, and, and partnering to bring all the brains in the business to the party and let them dance.


Chad (23m 45s):

Excellent.


Joel (23m 46s):

Kate Lanz, everybody, founder and CEO of mind bridge Kate for our listeners who want to know more about you, your books and all that good stuff, where would you send them?


Kate (23m 55s):

Cool. Well, for the book, please look on Amazon. All the Brains in the Business, you'll find it and you can order it in a hard copy or soft copy on Amazon. So please read and enjoy. I didn't write the book to sell lots of books. I'm certainly not going to be retiring on any proceeds. I wrote it because it,


Joel (24m 14s):

I don't know. You just interviewed with Chad and Cheese, Kate.


Kate (24m 18s):

Well, good. I wrote it because it just felt really important to share the knowledge and the insights and I'm on LinkedIn. So Kate Lanz, that's LANZ on LinkedIn, and I'm very happy to connect and answer questions. People have. I want to create a big conversation about this stuff.


Joel (24m 39s):

Awesome. And that's also minebridge.co.uk, correct? Correct. Yes. All right, Chad, I'm going to go listen to some women. We out. We out.


Outro (24m 50s):

Thank you for listen to podcasts with Chad and Cheese. Brilliant! They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Anyhoo, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We out.

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