Well-traveled women are good for your business hiring decisions because they are more strategic thinkers and better risk takers.
Let’s say you need someone to negotiate a deal where the environment might be hostile, unknown, or foreign. When a women travels, she must be able to negotiate these very characteristics. Even the simplest of tasks such as ordering a meal or hailing a cab requires a deep dive into the same skill set a difficult negotiation could undertake. She must scan her environment, evaluate her vendor, and execute a request based on her analysis of an unknown and foreign environment.
Better Risk Takers
Let’s look at an example. Traveling women have a complex set of environments they must navigate, especially if they are traveling alone or with children. First they must decide if walking or moving by themselves is safe and be wary of the cultural or historical norms they will encounter. Then, they must anticipate attention based on clothing, hair and skin color, or even height. Finally, they must manage the safety of their money and identity in ways they may not do at home. Honing these three skills simultaneously requires a quick mind who can think on her feet while being aware of others.
Keen Observation Skills
How do these skill sets translate into good employees for your business? As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” When a woman travels, she will learn to overcome all of these items in order to eat, walk, and learn her way through her day. She must size up the local environment (are other women successfully hailing cabs and how are they doing it?), review the behaviors of diners as they enjoy their meals (are their brows sweating as they eat a spicy dish?), and decide what hand gestures she can use to relay her point (does waving “come here” really mean that?). Applying her observational skills to her very survival translate to the risk-taking skill sets good businesses need.
Size of Passports Matter
As you think about the complicated, critical-thinking needs of a business, wouldn’t you want someone who can overcome prejudice, reject failure, and succeed at all costs? This type of person doesn’t come from a text book or an MBA program, it comes from women with skill sets gathered through travel. Because, when traveling, these actions happen all the time by getting lost, ordering local food, taking tuk-tuks, or even determining how to rebook a missed flight in Taiwan. Not only are these simple tasks difficult when traveling, but they become even more complex for women–who, in my experience, are always up for the challenge.