Quit Being a Girl!

This week’s blog post is by guest blogger, Tiffany Whitby, from the Challenge Consulting recruitment team … (this is not Tiffany pictured here …)

One of my passions is enhancing the role of women in business; specifically, examining and promoting strategies to ensure women have the opportunity to attain senior and management positions. As such I have actively joined a number of websites dedicated to this subject including; sphinxx, Ruby Connection and also Business Chicks.

Of the 3, I recently attended a Business Chicks seminar titled ‘Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office’ based on the book by bestselling author Dr Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. The 2 hour workshop was full of tips and helpful ideas to assist women get what they want out of their careers, first of which was her statement ‘quit being a girl’.

Another one of her tips was don’t use preambles; so I will just get straight to the point with the top 10 tactics every woman needs in her skill set:

Top 10 Tactics Every Woman Needs in her Skill Set:

#1. Know your playing field

– Boundaries, strategies and rules

– What works in one organisation/industry won’t work in another

– There are different boundaries for men and women

Do not put statements into the form of questions, be direct and straight, and if needed add a tagline (which can soften the message)

– Emulate winning women such as Gail Kelly

#2. Be crystal clear about what you want

– Know what you want. Until you have clarity about what this is, you are not going to get it

 #3. Identify your boundaries

– Know where people can come over and in

– Define your boundaries

 #4. Be willing to walk away

We stay in situations to long. If everything has been done to turn around a bad situation and nothing has changed then leave!

 #5. Use headlines and taglines

The most important thing we want people to know should be the first thing out our mouths (headline). Then use 3 supporting facts/data. Tagline at the end eg. ‘did I answer your question?’

#6. Manage your emotions

– If you feel as though you are about to cry in the workplace excuse yourself; crying in the workplace makes people feel uncomfortable

– Put the tears into words and focus in the problem and solution

 #7. Plan in advance for how you will respond to resistance

– Let people know you are planning on changing your behaviours and enlist their feedback and support

 #8. Understand (and use) the “Quid Pro Quo”

– Something in exchange for something else

– Leverage the relationships you have

– If you give something, you receive a figurative ‘penny’ to use when you need something – make sure you use them!

#9. Build your brand

– Use the WALLET acronym:

Write it down: write down what you want people to say about you when you leave a room

Apply actionable behaviours: think about what a camera would be able to see

Look to the edge: of the playing field

Let others know about your brand

Elicit feedback (360o feedback)

Treat others with abundance (give things away eg. assistance on a project)

 #10. Employ contrast

– Talk about what you do want and what you don’t want

Dr Frankel then went on to explain the Top 10 Mistakes Women Make:

#1. Not ‘getting it’: eg. Don’t wait to be invited for a position, pay rise, something you want. Create tactics and strategies

#2. Working too hard: within everything organisation there is a baseline to which you should work towards, work up to this and set realistic boundaries with people

#3. Not setting boundaries: work out what your vision is for what you want and ask yourself: “what is important to me?”

#4. Striving for perfection: women will often put in 150%, when more often than not a job that is 80% there is good enough

#5. Ignoring the look and sound of success: Credibility is made up by: 50% of how we look, 40% of how we sound, 10% of what we say. An example is the JFK vs Nixon debate. People say Nixon won for what he said, however JFK won based on how he looked.

#6. Unclear branding/vision: we trust people who are consistent and likeable. Read the book “Brag! Tooting your own Horn without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus

#7. Staying too long in a bad situation: sunken costs (keep putting ‘something’ in thinking a situation is going to get better, when in fact it’s not). We need to understand when it’s time to walk away. Ask yourself the question: “What am I getting out of this?”

#8. Waiting to be given what you want: Read the book “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

#9. Using too many words: cut communication by 30%. The longer we talk the more the message gets diluted.  Queue answer question and then ask ‘have I answered your question?’ Be careful with body language.

#10. Trusting your financial security to someone else: know where your finances are and where they are being invested. Stay involved with your money!

Challenge Consulting’s online poll last week asked the question “What is the #1 mistake women make on their way to the top at work?” The results were:

#1. Waiting to be “invited” instead of asking for a payrise, promotion, etc – 50%

#2. An unwillingness to self-promote and “toot their own horn” – 29%

#3. Staying too long in a bad situation – 14%

#4. Striving for perfection: putting in 150% when often 80% will do – 7%

With all of this information I have now taken in it is time to put it into practice. As Dr Frankel said, let people know you are making changes, so, everyone: I am making changes … don’t say I didn’t warn you!