Thursday, April 9, 2009

Men In Black

Yesterday had me spending the whole day in Utrecht at a seminar for Entrepreneurs. This time it was the yearly Week van de Ondernemer. As it usually goes with these kinds of events, I couldn't help noticing the dourness of how the men were dressed. I don't know if this is a dutch thing but all these hundreds of men wore black suits.

If I hadn't know better I would have thought that I had accidentally fallen into an MIB secret convention; With all the blackness but little of the coolness and savvy displayed by Tommy Lee and Will.

Talking with Carolyn and Monique, 2 leading ladies who I met up and instantly hit it off with, we couldn't help commenting on this phenomenon.

Our conclusion was that people, and in this case these men, despite all their individual need to come across as the "succesful business man" still have an even stronger silent need to fit within the confines of safety and convention. As Explained in Seth Godin's new book TRIBES,

people need to lead and be lead.

People need to belong to groups.

People need to identify with a group.

People need to have their membership to their group visible and recognizable to others - group members and non-group members alike.

The whole mass of black-clothed brotherhood held a certain safety and feeling of belonging and ofcourse also exuded an aura of territorial protection and male potency which is probably why no guy was wearing a tan linnen suit.

Black is a colour that somehow hides flaws while denoting power, mystery and to some extent danger.

A man in a tan coloured suit, certainly amongst his blacksuited brothers would probably come across as approachable, unprotected and ultimately weaker than the rest.

Now what guy would want that for himself at a meeting like that?

Which brings me to the next topic of discussion: Why is there always a scarcity of Women speakers at business conventions like these? Most of the MIB speakers I listened to sucked and were downright patronizing.

Where are the Leading Ladies?

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