Dr Pauline Crawford, behavioral consultant and innovative thinker, looks at relationships with new eyes, and wonders about the current confusion over ‘who’s in charge’ - women or men? After working with people at the top of business for over 30 years, she sees a new light in the jungle of relationships. Her passion is to engage leaders in emerging 'magical conversations' that help both men and women co-create a successful future. This is an interview about her life and why she does what she does with such passion....
What influenced you in your early life?
Born a tom-boy, I was much happier climbing trees with my brothers while my sister attended dancing classes. I dreamed of adventures at sea and found it easy to solve puzzles. As a mathematician and artist, I loved simultaneous equations and innovating multiple possibilities! Conversation with friends and laughter was paramount in my upbringing. Yet I found being ‘feminine’ a daunting task.
I left University with a Sociology and Statistics degree, my formative work career in the 70s was in travel. I loved using my left and right brain and naturally applied myself to the practicalities of business alongside the emotional flow of relationships. I learned all about gender politics early on in my career and the balancing act that kept everyone happy to get the job done.
What changed your life as a woman in business?
After motherhood, I desired action. I applied my masculine logical brain to business and my female energy to help others to realize their natural potential.
In my early return to work, my ‘tipping point’ was studying Image - here physicality was the key. I studied people, their minds, their bodies and their perceptions. Through this I realized the key was in the body. I discovered and observed the link between straight bodies and masculine minds. My tom-boy straight boned skeleton was linked to my masculine brain, yet I was totally female in a biological sense.
My core nurturing female side was attributed to my biology. My masculine-mind (for mapping things together) came from my natural brain preferences for logic and spatial skills. I also discovered not all women were like me! The more gently curved woman was naturally more intuitive, more ‘feminine’.
Men also follow this pattern. The straight sharp featured male is more masculine by nature and brain preference, and the gentler shaped man is also gentler in style - one might say more ‘feminine’ in making relationships work.
How did you discover about relationships between men and women?
Being an innovative thinker, with Edward de Bono as a second cousin, and my mind-mapping brain, I logically designed a Gender Dynamics Map. The map has six perspectives, and uses biological patterns and learned behaviour as empirical evidence. The map helped me to solve my personal dilemma as to why my female body housed a masculine-mind - perfectly normal! The Gender Dynamics Map defines the main differential from our biology with secondary variables of mind-preferences from masculine to feminine in all genders. Working with this map, relationships became easier. Emerging conversations started to occur even in serious business environments.
Over the years I have become an expert in behaviour, emotions, personality and conversations. Gender dynamics is my special focus area and is hugely successful in the boardroom.
I have worked with many thousands of clients and their true gender dynamic helps them to successfully communicate and interact on a personal and professional level to create best outcomes, especially now as we live in a world where client relationships are the key to market success worldwide.
How does your work help women to succeed in today’s world?
I have worked with women in many amazing companies across the UK and Europe, Asia Pacific (4 years in Malaysia) and now US, based in Nevada, I have consulted with a range of PLCs and major public sector organizations - and government bodies in Malaysia. I have researched cultures, investigated how men see the world of women today, developed a wide range of people in diverse situations, worked with leaders to create best performance, and gained an insight and passion to eradicate negative behaviour across the workplace. What I have noticed is that ‘people are people’ whatever the business sector and failure comes through the breakdown of relationships rather than the business operation itself.
I feel that business, worldwide, expects women to be more male oriented rather than enabling women to work with their own female potential to use masculine or feminine energy - whichever is most natural - combined with their instinctive relationship expertise as the key to success.
My experiences proved to me that my natural tom-boy 'masculine-minded' female persona was perfectly normal but the social expectation to be more feminine had a definite negative impact on my confidence level. It was hugely liberating to discover that I was a totally valuable female with a masculine-mind – understanding this is the key to relationship success for women like me.
I have met business women from all walks of life who are ‘strangled’ by the male criteria that goes with business success. We each have a range of feminine and masculine potential within us all and choices in how we behave in each situation. "To be tough" may have been a way to the top, however now it is by being strategic and savvy that women can be at the top. She is skilled enough to get to the top, without losing the best female attributes that add so much in today's enterprising environment. It may be a tough journey however no need for a woman to become tough. Take on board the challenge even when at first sight it seems unrewarding. When she wins in a female manner, presenting the expansion into the new perspectives of the Gender Dynamics map, embracing the male business requirements, all will be worthwhile. The dynamics of every conversation win will assure her of genuine success.
How can we shift perspectives and become more aware?
For example; a female CEO client of mine had a classic situation to deal with...the male alpha expert Doctor and the sensitive male Professor. Attempts to create business conversations with them failed miserably. We worked together on this problem using the Gender Dynamics Map – SUCCESS! My client succeeded in meeting the different needs of these men by delivering her message in two entirely different ways; directly in bullet points to the alpha Doctor and softer tones to the Professor. Both parties were delighted to be understood, the deal was successful and beneficial for all.
This shift of perspective can solve many problems. I am totally convinced that for men and women to co-create successful relationships they need to understand the six male/female gender dynamic perspectives and which may even help to solve the global economic crisis The majority of consumers are women, like me, who want a different world, a world of inclusion, abundance, harmony – yes wealth – and success for all.
How do you work with leaders of today’s business world?
Corporate Heart has its own team of experts that bring together a mix of gender dynamic types to serve our clients. “We walk our talk”. The core of our philosophy is adding value both personally and professionally, not just to our clients but to our own lives. Our understanding of who we are as men and women is vital to success and happiness in the boardroom. We value the basic tenet of life “to be uniquely our natural best and value others as we do ourselves”.
Currently working one-to-one, with top teams, or leaders of huge corporate cultures, I know there is a thirst for change and wisdom to share. Yet I see major blockages in both men and women who don’t see beyond their jungle niche. I do believe that women can lead on the ‘gender’ agenda but this will only come together when we truly celebrate the female species in full. If the jungle is our habitat, it’s the inhabitants that need to recognize their worth! I want women to celebrate the value of their variations of femaleness, and to value men for their maleness. Our dilemma is to know how to make the jungle safe for all.
What will your legacy be?
My work energizes my life, entwined intricately into my very being because my personal philosophy for living is what I teach others. My other passion is to create a better healthier, more caring world for my grandchildren.
I believe if we understand the jungle of relationships, with mutual respect and genuine smiling, we can create any future we desire both individually and collectively. They say the longest journey is from our heads to our hearts, and that is where relationships begin and flourish. My vision is a world which honors and respects women and hears their voices on the world stage, with men being proud to stand beside us.
Dr Pauline Crawford
CEO Corporate Heart Pauline hosts emerging conversations for male and female leaders to share viewpoints, possibilities and visions for the jungle. She works internationally with this activity to help influential leaders evolve a new corporate blueprint for business and life that embraces men and women. Having lived and worked in the UK for 25 years, Malaysia for 4 years, she is now in the US coming up to 2 years. "People are people all around the world and men and women are now challenging each other for business today, working together is the only way forward". Her passion is to help leaders to overcome the difficult conversations they surely have many days and often don't talk about!