Interview with John Smith

posted June 4th, 2013 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

Today’s post is the first of three excerpts from my interview with “John Smith.” John is a hugely successful participant in the Canadian securities industry and I thought his perspective on a variety of issues would be interesting to consider!! I was thrilled he agreed to be interviewed. I hope you enjoy reading what he has to say and as usual your comments are most welcome!!


As we began the interview, John says this about women “I consider females superior to males in many ways.  In general, they’re superior. They’re better people for the world than men are.  They are.  Men care about themselves and/or moving up the corporate ladder, whatever the hell that is.  Women seem to have very keen world interests that they care deeply about. They give the mothering, providing love to their children and so on.  Mothering is mostly left up to them unfortunately because men just…it’s not in our genes.  It’s in a woman’s genes. Women bear the children and throughout their whole life they’re taught to look after them. One of the great things is, if you have daughters you’re way more likely to be looked after later in life than if you have sons, plain and simple, because daughters are more caring and more loving.  I don’t even know if you’d ever describe men as loving quite frankly.”


I asked John to describe his impression of the difference between the experience of a male and female in the corporate world or the securities industry.


He says: “Well, I’ve had lots of female employees.  In fact, I love to deal with women and if I had a choice between a man and a woman who had equal capabilities, I’d take the woman every time.  Why?  I would do that because they’re more loyal to the company.  Men are loyal to themselves; women are loyal to the company.  Women are less likely to be so egotistical that they create problems for the company.  I rarely have women nagging at me about this, that and the other.  Of course, perhaps one of the reasons for that is that I am, fair in how people get compensated and if you compensate a woman the same as a man then they appreciative it, oh my God, where did that ever happen to them before and therefore they’re not as likely to complain,  Whereas a man…I’ve had more guys come through here that have a great year and have this huge demand for something and if you don’t pay it they tell you they’re leaving or they just leave anyway.  That rarely happens with women.  They’re happy to do very well and they’re not likely to rock the boat.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t rock the boat, if there’s a real reason but they’re less likely to rock the boat and if they do, they rock it in a different way.  They’ll come at it as ‘we need to do this’ or ‘we have a problem,’ instead of the male attitude of being antagonistic and forcing you to solve some issue between guys in the company and things like that.  In fact, probably my most enjoyable experience in my business career was having two women get a $100,000 bonus. I was so happy for them and they could hardly believe it but it was the right and fair thing to do and it was almost unheard of at the time.  I took a lot of pleasure out of that.”


I asked John whether he thought women face obstacles, difficulties and road blocks in the corporate world which are different from those faced by men and if so, what they are.


John says: “They do.  Most men who run companies, the majority of companies, for some reason think they should promote men rather than women. I have no idea why, but they do. I see it in all sorts of places that they want to have their buddy get the job rather than a woman.  Women have the problem of men thinking of them as sexual objects which really impedes things.  It’s a horrible way of approaching it but modern men think that way and it means women have a tougher time than men.  They have a tough time because they’re women and typically have families and when they have a family, they’re the primary caregiver and that creates all kinds of obstacles.  Also, women don’t seem as aggressive as men in the way they approach the job and the way they carry on in business.  Therefore, in a man’s world where aggression is supposedly super important, it puts a woman in a very difficult position vis a vis a man.”


I asked John whether he thinks you have to be aggressive to succeed in every part of the corporate world or just in his world.


He says: “I don’t think you have to be aggressive.  I personally don’t think you have to be aggressive at all.  You can simply be smart and accomplish a lot.  If you look at our business, if you’re a great salesperson you’re a great salesperson, you don’t have to be aggressive necessarily.  You could be a great analyst without being aggressive. There are more female analysts than anything else because they just work on their own and do their reports and if they do it well they succeed.  So you don’t have to be aggressive…there are many, many ways of advancing in the business world.  One of them is being aggressive and some people employ that methodology.  Others are being social and climbing that way.  I’ve seen that in many instances.  Others are just being smart.  Put the numbers on the table and hopefully you’ll be rewarded appropriately.  I prefer the last method because it’s the long-run solution.  Being aggressive is not a solution and being a sociable guy is not necessarily a solution.  The people you really want to reward are people who come up with great ideas and can produce products that help your business grow.”


I asked John whether as the leader, manager and operator of a business, he can distinguish the strategy people are employing to get ahead.


He says: “Sure.  You can see when somebody’s contributing, for sure.  It’s quite obvious.  Some people have a great ability to think compared to others and others might just be hangers-on or followers or whatever. It doesn’t take too long to distinguish between the independent thinkers and the followers.  So, no, I don’t think it’s that difficult to figure it out.”


What Strikes Me?

Women face obstacles in the corporate world men do not


Some men believe they should promote men…not women


Being a woman, having a family and being the primary caregiver creates all kinds of obstacles


There are many, many ways of advancing in the corporate world without being aggressive


The people you really want to reward are people who come up with great ideas and can produce products that help your business grow


What Strikes You?


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