April 12; Let Us All Work Together As One Big Family and Keep Your Hands Off My Cousin
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Four: Relationships: 12 April

[Treat] older women as mothers,

and younger women as sisters,

with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:2

Let Us All Work Together As One Big Family and Keep Your Hands Off My Cousin

Co-ed

One morning Charmaine shows up at her law office and finds that two of her female staff attorneys have spent the night at their desks completing a project. The CEO was proud and soon relieved that,

1) Security was in the building, and,

2) There were no mixed gender “issues” of spending the night together.

Men and women will labor in today’s offices in close quarters; tight cubicles. In most scenarios staff can go home after a long day in the salt mines. When the 5:00 whistle blows, employees, male and females can separate, depart and go home.

But what can the manager expect if long hours and all-nighters force the mixed genders to, well, live together to meet a deadline?

Our military and our colleges and now our military colleges face this.

Business leaders must be prepared to manage male and female relationships in superior and subordinate positions. As if the hassled manager didn’t have enough challenges.

vmi_cartoonIn her book, Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women, Laura Fairchild Brodie writes on women coming to the Virginia Military Institute in the late 1990’s. She details the physicality and the yelling and humiliation. (Yes, we’ve all had budget meetings like this-but without being forced to sleep together in a barracks.)

Rules were changed. There was to be no touching any other cadet, of any gender, without first gently inquiring, “May I touch you?” Assault and battery is permissible only between consenting adults.

The threat of sexual harassment charges at VMI, one young man observed, is always hovering in male-female contact. Another inadvertent verbal incident resulted in the woman retreating to the hospital, threatening to leave the school. The potential for a sexual harassment case left the senior warrior-in-training, who had authority over both people involved, near tears.

Political correction is a thief that steals discretionary management time. The chain of command is now consumed with a thousand petty decisions. Brodie reports that VMI leadership was embroiled in concerns that ranged from the mundane–women’s underwear and pantyhose–to the medical–menstrual periods and urinary tract infections.

Management attention was consumed by meetings on the color and care of all things feminine. They were confronted with “unmentionables” hanging in the barracks windows to dry. More meetings. And then there was the ever-present erotic: where to place the women while doing push-ups and sit-ups?

Management had to take time to consider the privacy of women. The men on the ground could look up the shorts of the women in front of them in physical training. The women were nonchalant. Brodie proudly reports that the commander’s concern for the women’s modesty exceeded their own. As 1 Timothy 5:2 says, [Treat] older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

The fight to assimilate women at the formerly all-male VMI is over. And it can be done in nearly any environment as long as senior leadership is willing to allocate considerable management resources and attention.

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