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Leveraging the Energy of Genders: Betty Ann Heggie Newsletter
November 10, 2010
Men - The Cure for Too Much Testerone

Wall Street bankers went on a binge a few years ago that came within hours of bringing down the entire financial system and there’s a strong argument to be made that the decisions that brought it to the brink had a lot to do with raging hormones.
 
The suits ignored the fundamentals and began a competition to see who could bench-press the most risk. It was like a testosterone DUI. They turned into a wild herd of Gordon Geckos, stampeding through the stock markets. The Gecko’s kept raising the stakes and taking more chances until their ‘hormone high’ finally spiraled out of control and it all came crashing to the ground.

The testosterone junkies burned themselves out. They were literally spent and so it seems the cure for too much testosterone, is too much testosterone. 

Now, balance is returning to the market place. Women, in case you haven’t noticed, have been called in to clean up the mess. Clearly, it was time to put a little feminine energy into the system and restore the equilibrium. 

The men who were flushed out of the system when that river of testosterone finally broke the dam, ended up at home caring family or entering “softer jobs.” Clearly it was time for a little hormone reduction therapy.

Too Much Testosterone

Betty-Ann, have you been accidently overdosing on your HRT meds? 

Uh, no. 

A study, just released by University of British Columbia, found CEO's with higher levels of testosterone will thump their chests and walk away from take-over offers even when those offers provide good value for their companies. 

After studying 350 corporate deals, researchers concluded that higher than normal testosterone levels actually limited a CEO's willingness to negotiate. 

A Sauder School of Business study, done previously, reached a similar conclusion. A group of men were asked to play a business game. Those with elevated testosterone levels went too far when trying to drive a hard bargain. They frequently rejected an offer of free money – saying it WAS TOO LOW! 

What size suit does Tarzan wear?

And, another study at Cambridge University showed that traders with high testosterone levels indulged in "impulsive, sensation-seeking" behavior, which drove markets to unsustainable levels. Dr. John Coates, lead author of the Cambridge research study says, "rising levels of testosterone turns risk-taking into a form of addiction.”

It is easy to conclude that the predatory practices of sub-prime lenders, corrupt rating agencies and laundering of risky mortgages, could have been avoided with more women on Wall Street. 

Women are the Antidote

Michael Ferrary published research in CERAM, the leading French Business School, found companies with a higher ratio of women in top management showed better resistance to the financial crisis. 

He comes to the conclusion that, "the feminization of management seems to be a protection against the financial crisis."

In Iceland, where too much testosterone brought the banks to their knees, two women have been appointed to restore financial stability to the nation. 

Male bankers took such wild risks that three banks had to be nationalized to save them from collapse and maintain Iceland’s place in the foreign exchange markets. 

The women in charge now are avoiding complex, incomprehensible financial instruments and making reasoned, rational investments that people can actually understand.

And in the US, President Obama put a woman in charge and appointed Mary Shapiro to oversee the very troubled Security and Exchange Commission.

The New Macho

An article in the Sept 27, 2010 issue of Newsweek suggests that survival for men today depends on embracing "girly jobs and dirty diapers." 

Over the last 30 years, the North American economy has moved from brawn to brain (the construction business declined while computer-use increased). Many of the jobs traditionally held by men have moved offshore (note the decline of the US car manufacturing industry). 

Accompanying this is larger numbers of women in the workforce. 

Newsweek magazine says men must "re-imagine masculinity" and expand their expectations for home as well as work. Men need to take teaching, nursing or social service jobs. 

In addition to being a "nurturing professional," everyone will benefit when men spend more time parenting. Increasingly, men expect to do it as their partners expect it of them and society will expect this new more balanced male to be the new macho as well!

Testosterone is a commodity 

When I worked at PotashCorp, we used to say that the "cure for low prices is low prices." So when prices got low, high-cost production shut down. The markets tightened and prices went up.

I know that guys think their testosterone is precious but you can have too much of a good thing. I hate to burst their bubble, but testosterone is just like any other commodity that is currently undergoing a market correction!

Betty Ann Heggie
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