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January 16, 2009


There was a really interesting article in the NY Times a few weeks ago by Peggy Klaus (workplace communication and leadership expert) entitled, “A Sisterhood of Workplace Infighting”. (The article was brought to our attention by IGC member, Rossanna Figuera.

Among other things, Peggy discusses the all too common bullying behavior that goes on between women in the workplace. I think many of us have experienced this in some form or another. So, while the phenomenon may seem a counter-intuitive trend in the face of the women’s movement, present day equality and representation-oriented workplace initiatives, and some of the more positive female stereotypes of nurturing and compassionate behavior, it is not a surprising one.

I have to admit though, reading this made me so immensely grateful and proud of the in good company community and membership. While we were shopping this idea (a community workspace for women entrepreneurs) around to folks during our start-up phase many people, both men and women, expressed concern about the potential for catty and bitchy behavior in a workplace for just women.

While we certainly didn’t expect that would be true - thank goodness the concern was for naught!

Everyday we observe members to be helpful and supportive towards each other, often offering strategic advice, contacts, resources, and ideas. We have witnessed this collaboration and collegial expression even between members in the same industry who could choose to view themselves as competitors.

You can speculate about why IGC is home to these overwhelmingly warm and positive interactions…perhaps it is because we are not all part of the same company. Or perhaps it is because there is a marked (though not complete!) absence of men. Or perhaps it is because as entrepreneurs we experience everyday the benefits of helping each other and paying it forward. Or perhaps it is because we are only a part-time location for even our most frequent members.

But for whatever the reason, I am glad to work with you all! And I am glad to see that there are places where this female bullying doesn’t exist!

Posted by Adelaide Fives

Archived versions of our monthly member digest are now available!!

For those who haven’t read them before, the digest is our way of sharing with you (women business owners, entrepreneurs – aspiring or otherwise) some of the best news on small business ideas, models, and innovation that we discover. The content has been filtered because it makes us think differently and critically about entrepreneurship and our business. We hope it will challenge and enhance your thinking too!

In each Digest you will find at least 4 sections:

Mindset: Topic-based thoughts from Adelaide Fives & Amy Abrams
Business LookBook: An interesting, innovative, and thought-generating business or business concept.
Clippings: Relevant and thought-provoking articles and news
Musings: A recap of our blog posts…(which if you are reading this here, you can already see!!)

Our Archive Home Page

And as a short cut, here are links to:

Jan Digest

Dec Digest
Nov Digest

Oct Digest

Happy Reading & Thinking!

Adelaide & Amy


This week we had a great Consultants Connection Meeting, where we discussed “Cleaning Out Our Clients”. Participants had an opportunity to categorize their current client list consider both profitability and value (other rewards besides money that you may get from working with certain clients, such as contacts, challenge, diversification into a new field or industry, fodder for a book or article, that feel good feeling).

Once we identified the types of clients that we had, we then had the chance to think about those relationships as part of our larger business strategy.

* What makes a client both high value and high profit? How do you get more of them?

* What can you do to increase the profitability of those clients that are high value but low profit? What impact does having a large/disproportionate amount of these clients have on your business? (i.e. Opportunity costs!!).

* What can you do to decrease the negative impact of low value clients, even if they are high profit?

Folks suggested partnering with other professionals who may be better equipped to service these clients or help you with the parts you don’t like. Other people suggested weeding these clients out through better screening before the engagement begins.

* Lastly, what should you do about low value, low profit clients?

Get rid of them!! They are taking up valuable time and energy that can be better spent on better clients!

Further insights were discussed, such as:

* The role that marketing plays in both attracting the clients of clients you have AND setting expectations for the way the work gets done.

* Also, participants considered the a lot of troublesome client behavior can be mitigated through both good screening and good coaching about client expectations and boundaries.

It was, as always, refreshing and encouraging being able to discuss these common challenges with such smart and strategic women…I think we all left with tons of food for thought! Thank you to everyone who participated for your WONDERFUL contributions!

posted by Adelaide Fives