By Hudson Valley Content Studio Leader Eve Ashworth

Yes, you heard that right! Men and women have got to work together, and we have to make it work better. When good men and women work side-by-side, they form more powerful teams, provide better results, and add to the longevity of a business.

Look, nowadays with the #MeToo movement we are all privy to the dirty underbelly of men behaving disgustingly with women in the workplace. But if our takeaway is a mistrustful and more segregated business world, the result is going to be an even greater gender-biased environment than the one we are in today. And living in Gilead is not good for men OR women.

Though the predatory monsters have had opportunities to freely do their “groping” in every area of society, it is unfair to judge all men – or in a few cases, women – based on these shocking stories. In my experience, these cases are the exception, not the rule.

When men and women work together, they can produce exceptional results in the workplace and even more importantly, they wind up doing the same for their personal lives and therefore for the world in general. Women benefit from working with men, and men benefit from working with women. It is symbiotic.

A Real-World Experience Of The Benefits Of Working Together

Ashworth Creative Founders
Eve & Isaac Ashworth

My husband Isaac and I have been married for 21 years and have worked together almost as long. Like any couple who have been together for decades, we have struggled through challenges, and there are many circumstances and situations that still pop-up and demand to be worked through. But, it is because of the obstacles (combined with our commitment to work our way through them no matter what) that we have seen the amazing  potential that comes out of men and women learning from each other.

Had I been alone running our marketing agency, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off for very long. And I don’t think Isaac would have either. The reason for our success is that we balance each other by working together. I like to take big risks, and Isaac doesn’t. He talks me out of the crazier, impulsive risks and I can nudge him toward more calculated ones that have benefited us.

I find that male and female perspectives are unique.  For instance, when it comes to employees, his approach is entirely different from mine. Sometimes people do things that will really bug me, and Isaac will say “that is just the way some people are at work, why would you let that bother you?” and I immediately drop it and move on. And I can point out things to him that ultimately help us both better at managing people.

How We Have Succeeded In Working Together

Isaac and I believe that your work should be an extension of how you live your life and this philosophy is deeply embedded in our company.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for drama, and we make this clear in the very beginning of our relationship with team members. If you have an issue, you need to approach people directly, or reach out to a manager rather than talk behind anyone’s back. We try to give people the tools to be able to run their own business within our business. We don’t want to be micromanagers or babysitters.

In the environment we have created, there is neither a man or a woman in charge. Because of that equal partnership, we have been able to create a place where genders work together, feeling safe and also where opportunities are available equally.

We never, ever, hire based on someone’s gender. Because of this, we look at people in terms of their potential as a valuable resource. We have had times when there were more women on staff than men and vice versa, but it is never anything that is obvious or glaring. It is an environment that feels different.

Team Building Advice: Fire Fast And Hire Slow

The biggest regret that we have is that we didn’t part ways sooner with someone who clearly wanted to bring their toxic personal life to work with them. So don’t be afraid to take on extra work yourself if it means taking longer to find the right person for the job. When you are not afraid to fire someone, you can save yourself from wasting years of salary on a hire who is not doing right by you and the rest of your team.

Conversely, if you interview someone with that spark  of energy in their eyes, showing that they are really raring to go and want to take on new challenges, hire them but not until you’ve interviewed them a couple of times and given  them a sample project to work on.

Here at Ashworth Creative, we are a small firm, so we often need to step in and perform tasks that were not necessarily in our comfort zone or our original bag of tricks, so we depend on talent that is flexible and eager to learn, but it might take a couple of meetings before you know that.

It’s About More Than Men and Women

Yes, to build a great culture in your company and throughout the planet, it is vital that we focus on gender balance and ensure that men and women are working positively together. We bring a different set of skills and experience, be it a man or woman, and the perfect amalgamation of these differences is what will take us all into a better future.

But it is clear that it is time we step up our game in managing how we all come together as a people, whether it be man, woman, your race, color, religion or sexual orientation. No matter what it is that you believe in, it’s simply no longer workable to generalize about one type of person. If we don’t return to the basics of patience, tolerance, and kindness, we are not going to live up to our enormous potential.

There is an open invitation waiting for us to build a society that is safe and draws out our individual talents and contributions. We choose to begin building a supportive culture in an area where we do have some control – in operating a gender equal business.