Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Roadmap for Emerging Leaders: 5-week Webinar Series

We are often asked if there a roadmap for women who want to break into leadership.

Finally we can answer with a resounding yes!

At Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. we have interviewed over 1,000 corporate women about their leadership aspirations and the internal and external roadblocks they face.

We discovered a specific skill set necessary to get there (…that traditional corporate leadership programs do not teach), and validated them by successfully coaching hundreds of emerging women leaders worldwide.

Those principles, processes and case studies are now packaged together into a step-by-step program, A Roadmap for the Emerging Leader, a 5-week webinar series, launching November 12.

Registration is $295. Be one of the first 25 to register, and save $50.

For more information and to register >>

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ask Jo: Emotion vs. Passion in the Workplace

Every month on the Anita Borg Institute's site, I answer a new career or leadership question.

Question: In many leadership seminars, we are told to not take things personally at work and not get emotionally attached to our projects and not communicate “emotionally.” In the same seminars, we are told to be passionate about our work and convey that passion to our peers. How does one convey passion without emotion in the workplace?

Read the column at

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Interview with Sallie Krawcheck

My friend Penelope Trunk was blogging at the Forbes Executive Women's Forum when Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Citigroup's Global Wealth Management, was interviewed. Krawcheck gave this stellar tip on how to become a visionary business leader:

"I tell all young people to become an analyst after school. You pull out bits of information and put together a picture. Sometimes it looks like a dog or sometimes a cake. Then you make decisions with imperfect information. And when you get another piece, you say oh it's not a cake. So its practice making decision with imperfect information. This is what you do as a CEO every day."

Visit Penelope's blog to read the interview.

Become an Everyday Visionary

OK, so it's probably too late to reboot your career and begin again as an analyst, but you can weave Sallie Krawcheck's advice into any job.

Next time you need to give a status update or report on results, don't just present the data -- make decisions with that information -- even if the information is imperfect.

Take your presentation one step further. Engage your inner visionary, and:

- Draw conclusions
- Describe why it is relevant in the broader context of the business
- Link your findings to current trends, or business strategy
- Make decisions
- Make predictions
- Assert your recommendations, and
- Put forward PROPOSALS.

Pitch Proposals, and Pitch Yourself Too
Are you ready to take on a bigger role? Make proposals, and do it often.

Make a habit of putting forward your ideas, solutions, or value-add projects. Get used to finishing every presentation with:"My proposal is that we... a, b, c".

But don't just pitch your proposals -- remember to pitch yourself too! Let them know you are the ideal person to lead the charge. Too often I hear women describe how they suggested a great idea, but forgot to pitch themselves as the person to lead the initiative. Someone else assumed the idea was up for grabs, and took the lead role on the initiative.

Complete your proposal by stating why you are the best person for the job:"I am uniquely qualified to lead this initiative because... a, b, c".

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ask Jo: Working through Tough Salary Negotiations

Every month on the Anita Borg Institute's site, I will answer a new career or leadership question. In this first installment, a reader asked for suggestions for successful salary negotiations.

Question: I have been interviewing for a position for which I meet all qualifications. They gave a salary range and asked what my salary expectations are, and I successfully avoided answering. However in my last interview, they asked what I am currently paid, which is below the market rate. How can I negotiate to be paid what I am worth?

Read the column at

Friday, August 3, 2007

3 Essential Elements of a Great Personal Brand

What is your claim to fame? What will you be famous for?

I've updated my recent article, on how to create a strong personal branding statement, as part of my occaisional column for the Work It, Mom! website. The site itself is a dynamic community and great resource for professional moms.

Read the article at Work It,Mom!

How to wrestle leadership roles from boomers

How do you get a leadership job from baby boomers when they won’t get out of the way?

"Act like them" says Brazen Careerist blogger Penelop Trunk. Which means "exhibiting the leadership qualities that baby boomers look for when they promote people." Read Penelope's blog posting about how Women's Leadership Coaching can help.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Women at Intel Conference: 6 Ways to Get Ahead

The Anita Borg Institute's blog features a write-up on the program I delivered yesterday at Intel. It was standing-room only as 150 women came to learn about Influencing Without Authority.

"Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Santa Clara Women at Intel Conference 2007 where I met some smart, well-educated, and successful women in all sorts of engineering, computer science, and programming fields.

Speaking at one of the sessions was Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, a firm that specializes in helping women succeed in industries that have been traditionally male-dominated, such as technology, finance, and energy. Her discussion, entitled “Influencing without Authority,” explored ways to gain credibility, get buy-in for ideas, and create a larger impact."

Read the article

Saturday, July 14, 2007

5 Attributes of Women Who Get Promoted

At Women's Leadership Coaching, we have been closely studying a recent abundance of client promotions, in order to delve more deeply into the mindset of women who have taken charge of their career path, actively sought out a promotion - and won!

(And congratulations to all of you, ladies!)

We are now able to share some lessons learned from our project to 'reverse engineer' what it really takes to get promoted.But beware- stepping into the mindset of a promotable woman is not for the meek.

I won't hold back on the tough news. The biggest obstacle may in fact be:


The following checklist of 5 attributes will help you to assess your current promotability.

1. Do you think of all the reasons why you are not being recognized?
Are you crafting a document and soundbytes that showcase your strengths and accomplishments?

2. Do you take on low visibility projects and administrative tasks that you can easily handle and have trouble saying no to people?
Are you asking yourself "what am I willing to step in and take the lead on"?

3. When your organization goes through change, disruptive challenges, or layoffs, is your response to lie low and become the 'invisible employee'?
Do you seize this opportunity to demonstrate leadership? Leadership character is actually revealed during trying times.

4. Does your fear of making mistakes lead to procrastination and difficulty making decisions?
Do you look for doors of opportunity that may be open to you, to decisively step up and demonstrate your leadership skills?

5. So you haven't been promoted. Do you allow yourself to believe you are experiencing the "golden handcuffs" syndrome?
Do you decide that your time is NOW, create a compelling business case, and 'seed' it through your entire sphere of influence?

Welcome to the mindset of a promotable woman! For more in-depth, tactical information on how to implement the above strategies, as well as stories from women who have successfully negotiated their own promotion, join us for a no-cost teleclass.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Free Teleclass: What does it really take, to get promoted?

Since her recent 'aha moment', Leslie Scida has been closely studying her abundance of client promotions, in order to delve more deeply into the mindset of women who have taken charge of their career path, actively sought out a promotion… and won!

Join us for a free teleconference where I interview Leslie Scida about her findings, including:

1. THE PITFALLS: What factors do women typically overlook, that hold them back from getting promoted.

2. THE AHA MOMENTS: What new insights do Leslie’s clients gain in their coaching sessions, to break through and get recognized for promotion?

3. THE ACTION STEPS: What accountabilities did they take on, that resulted in success?

Date: Thursday, July 19
Time: 8pm EDT, 7pm CDT, 6pm MDT, 5pm PDT (for 1 hour)

There will be a forum for Leslie to address your questions.

There is no charge for this teleconference (we like to ‘give back’ in support of our mission to increase the number of women leaders globally), but you must pre-register.

Click here for more information on the class, and to register.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Getting A Promotion

I'm on the phone with Leslie Scida, one of our most experienced Women's Leadership Coaches, updating her bio for a proposal we are working on. It occurred to me that quite a number of her clients have landed promotions recently, so I asked how many. She estimated 25%, maybe 30%. I asked which was it, 25 or 30%? Getting curious, Leslie calculated the rate of promotions across her entire coaching client base, and came up with this amazing statistic:

Over 60% of Leslie's coaching clients have successfully negotiated a promotion within the last ten months.

We were both stunned. Our stated mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions globally, but until today we never stopped to realize we were actually doing it!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Q&A: What do you need to know about emerging as a leader?

What questions do you have about emerging as a leader?

Post to the comments section and let me know what you would like to learn about navigating office politics, getting promoted, being strategic, becoming more visible, developing leadership presence, building your brand as an emerging leader, taking the lead... whatever!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Did You Micromanage Someone Today?

I met with a manager this week who is transitioning into a new role (fantastic!!) and is training her replacement.

We were discussion the difficulties of handing over her work to the new hire, so just for fun I role-played how delegation usually works:

Step 1... DELEGATE: Give them a task.

Step 2... PROD: Follow up a few days later and ask "Did you get it done?" (accompanied by a wild finger-jabbing gesture).

Step 3... Wake up to the fact that you've just become your worst nightmare: A MICROMANAGER.

After my demonstration, the manager burst out laughing and asked if I had been reading her mind.

The TASK->PROD style of delegating leaves you feeling guilty of 'helicopter management', hovering over someone, sending them the message that you don't trust them to take ownership of their work. Or, if your style tends more toward conflict avoidance, you are left to guess at whether they will complete the task, and hope that a few passive-aggressive glances will guilt them into producing the goods.

Is there a better way? Well, Yes! In a nutshell, the model for effective delegating goes like this:

Step 1: Describe the overall vision or objective

Step 2: Co-create clear expectations

Step 3: Co-create accountability

Step 4: Positively challenge them to deliver a high standard of excellence.

Step 5: Give frequent feedback

Step 6: Celebrate their success!

I will elaborate more on each step in the upcoming edition of the newsletter, which you can opt-in for here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Winning at the Game of Office Politics

Here's a link to my article on how to effectively navigate office politics, without becoming a political animal.

Financial Women's Association

In my first opportunity to partner with the Financial Women's Association (FWA), PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco are hosting a members-only networking breakfast on June 26, and I will be speaking about Winning at the Game of Office Politics (I know office politics is not everyone's favorite topic, but it actually is one of mine!).

Registration and details are at the FWA web site.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Poised for Leadership Seminar Wrap-Up

The most recent cohort to experience our flagship seminar, Poised For Leadership, started back in March with two lively and content-rich days at the San Jose Radisson. It was Leslie's first time co-facilitating with me. This group are a dynamic cadre of women holding diverse roles in banking, sales, technology and HR. What they all share is a common drive to not let their careers run on auto pilot, but to actively take the lead, confer leadership upon themselves, and 'Act As If' in a more responsible leadership role.

To share just a few of the feedback comments we received:

"Rarely have I attended a conference so rich in usable materials. I have new tools in my "bag" that I can use immediately and with excellent results."

"The Women in Leadership course is a fast-paced and fun two days of solid learning and networking opportunities. Anyone who aspires to leadership is highly recommended to take this course - both for the specific range of tactical and strategic skills taught and for the growth and self-insight gained."

"I found the seminar extremely useful. The seminar made me realize key areas that I need to focus on particularly my personal vision of the leader that I intend to become. With your help, I was able to achieve clarity in my personal vision."

Thanks, ladies... keep taking the lead!

We'll post dates soon for upcoming seminars in Denver and San Francisco. Sign up for the newsletter to receive notification. If you have a corporate group of 25 or more emerging women leaders who would like to experience the power of Poised for Leadership, contact me and we will discuss customizing a program for your team.

Monday, May 21, 2007

2007 Corporate Seminar Catalog

In addition to 1-on-1 coaching, Women's Leadership Coaching have a track record of delivering leadership seminars that help companies groom and retain women leaders. Recent clients include:

  • Women at Intel Network (WIN)
  • Oracle Women's Leadership (OWL)
  • Genesys (An Alcatel-Lucent company) Women in Leadership
  • Nortel's Global Women's Business Council
  • National Semiconductor's Women @ National Initiative
  • Rockwell Collins Women Employees Network
  • Integro Insurance Brokers Women in Insurance Forum
  • Capgemini's Women of the West.
To discuss options for your women's initiative, download the course catalog here, and contact us to set up a teleconference.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Are You the Invisible Employee?

I wrote the article "Are You the Invisible Employee?" a few years ago for MSN Careers after noticing how many smart, talented women I knew were working their behinds off, consistently delivering high-caliber work, but being passed over for more rewarding/responsible roles. If you have ever felt like you are the best-kept secret in your company, this one's for you!

Read the article at

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Negotiation as a Way of Life

As part of our presentation, Negotiation as a Way of Life, for a group of Oracle's high-potential women at the Oracle Women's Leadership Conference (OWL) today, Leslie and I shared some of the most recent (scary) data on women and negotiation from Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, By Babcock and Laschever:

In surveys, women were 2.5 times more likely than men to say they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiating.
Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women do.
20 percent of adult women say they never negotiate at all, even though they often recognize negotiation as appropriate and necessary.
When asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked “winning a ballgame” and a “wrestling match”. Women said “going to the dentist”.

I asked the group of 100 women "How many of you would rather go to the dentist than negotiate? I was joking when I asked, but a few hands were raised!

The solution we advised is to stop thinking of negotiation as a skill to be used only in rare, high-stakes business circumstances. Instead, think of negotiation as a way of life, meaning that the best way to master this skill is to negotiate everything, every day, in every conversation you encounter.

Examples are: negotiate who cooks dinner, negotiate who will drive the carpool, negotiate which movie to watch, negotiate who will help you on a project... etc. Until negotiation becomes a natural way of life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Professional Business Women of California Conference

The Professional Business Women Of California Conference (PBWC) in San Francisco is always incredible, and yesterday's event did not disappoint. I have lost count of the number of PBWC conferences I've attended, and with that the number of incredible women I have met and stayed in touch with as a result. Our women's leadership seminar programs for Oracle and Genesys came via women we met at PBWC in 2006. Some highlights:

Our VP Business Development (and Women's Leadership Coach) Leslie Scida flew in from Denver (she is such a frequent guest at our home, we renamed the guest bedroom Leslie's Room). Kim Zilliox joined us for her first official event as a WLC coach. The entire team came together for the first time!

To celebrate what has been a breakthrough year for WLC, we hosted a client appreciation event at our exhibit booth (with champagne and handmade chocolates from Saratoga Chocolates -- for those of you who are considering becoming clients!) and schmoozed with clients from Oracle, Cisco, Chevron, and Delta Dental. WLC = Women Love Chocolate!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Q&A: Salary Negotiations

Q: I am currently interviewing for a position I am highly qualified for. They have given me the salary range, and asked what my salary expectation is, however my current pay is below market. How can I avoid being offered less than I deserve?

A: When they ask this, deflect their question. A savvy and diplomatic answer is, "I expect that if we decide this is the right match, we will come to a mutual agreement on salary". Try not to reveal your current salary, or delay for as long as is reasonably possible.

Aim to defer salary discussions until the field of candidates has narrowed to just you, when you will have the upper hand in negotiations.

When you get into negotiations, ask for the highest salary in their range, then explain "I believe I am uniquely qualified for the position because..." and give three or four brief bullet points explaining what qualifies you as the best candidate for the job.

If they then offer you less, say "Hmmm. Is that your best offer?" then go silent, let them do the talking.

If they put the ball back in your court, say "I believe I am worth the top of the range because...” and repeat your bullet points. Then go silent, and let them talk.

If they persist in low-balling, explain that one of your reasons for leaving your current position is the below-market salary. Remind the employer that with your level of qualifications, you expect a competitive offer to be at above the market average rate.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

If you can't move up, branch out (10 criteria for making a lateral career move)

With corporate career paths structured less like a ladder and more like a pyramid, and it can seem like opportunities for promotion and advancement grow thinner the higher you climb.

While traditional career advancement is focused on moving up, I have seen too many high caliber women remain in their current role, hoping for a promotion, while making only incremental improvements in their leadership skill set. They risk getting bored and finding themselves in a career rut.

Instead of waiting for a promotion, a strategically chosen lateral move can be a good way to escape the rut, get re-invigorated, develop new expertise and leadership skills, and make a greater impact -- without having to throw away years of valuable relationship capital and business intelligence that you have built in your current organization.

When is a lateral move a good move? When it fulfills some or all of the following 10 elements.

You know you have made a good lateral move when:

1. You are in a division of the business that is growing, not shrinking or stagnating.

2. You are in a division of the business that is a revenue center, not a cost center.

3. You can demonstrate a link between your work effort, and business results, and make that link visible to senior leaders.

4. You report to a manager who mentors you, opens doors for you, and sends opportunities your way. Even better, work for a manager who has a manager that is doing the same for them.

5. You report to a manager whose values you respect, whose goals you can authentically align with.

6. You have opportunities to take on special projects that challenge you in new ways.

7. You gain a broader regional or global perspective of the business.

8. You can build your personal brand, or as one leader I interviewed recently described it, "establish your claim to fame".

9. You have opportunities to work with a high- performing team, who attract high-profile projects, and create an intellectually stimulating work environment.

10. You have closer proximity to mentors, sponsors and role models.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Can Working Less Land You a Promotion?

One of the greatest career-stalling mistakes women make is believing that if they work hard enough, the reward and recognition will follow.

Here's a link to my article at AOL

Thursday, April 19, 2007

3 Essential Elements of a Great Personal Brand

The 2007 National Forum on Women in Executive Leadership in DC last week featured a track for my favorite demographic: The Emerging Woman Leader. Perhaps because so many senior women we have coached have said "I wished I learned this 20 years ago", I enjoy speaking to women who are embarking on their careers, to help them navigate the pitfalls and plateaus that women often hit in mid-career.

At the Forum, one of my two presentations was on Creating a Powerful Brand.

In a similar style to Jim Collins' Hedgehog concept for companies, here's how to create a powerful personal brand. When considering what you want your name to be synonymous with, start by drawing this 3-circle diagram.

Name each circle for one of the 3 essential elements of a great brand:

1) TALENTS: What are your greatest strengths, skills, and talents?
(Or, which new ones could you easily learn?)

2) PASSIONS: What are your passions
(i.e. what subject matter areas could remain endlessly fascinated with, for the rest of your life!)

3) MARKET: What does your company/industry/market need and want?
(... that you can be paid handsomely for)

Your challenge is to identify where the 3 circles overlap for you -- and what you could become known for in your career. Too many women try to follow only their their talents and passions, without first investigating whether there is a market that will reward them. It is vital that all 3 conditions are met, but when they are, you can build an outstanding reputation for yourself.

As one senior executive (a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers) shared when I interviewed her recently, "Be Famous for Something!" For her, it was closing big sales contracts. What will you be famous for?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Introducing Kim Zilliox, newest addition to the WLC team

Kim Zilliox and I met a few years ago when we were guests on a career coaching TV show, You're Hired. We made a road trip from Santa Clara to Pacifica to the TV studio and it felt liked we clicked immediately. We talked about coaching, life, guys we had dated in college, and Kim's trip to Australia as an exchange student when she was getting her MBA. I made a mental note to myself back then that when the time came to expand the team here in the Bay Area, Kim would be top of my wish list...

Since then, Kim has gone on to become even more impressive addition to our team by completing her MA in Counseling and adding a critical piece of experience that our team was lacking to date: being a working Mom, to son Aiden (who at 18 months is cute as a button and does a great impression of a lion!).

Kim has dived in and is working with executive coaching clients, and delivering assessments Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and DISC.

You can read Kim's full bio here.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Q&A: How can I make a great impression?

Q: How can I make a great impression in my internship this summer and land a full-time offer?

A: Build good working relationships with everyone, especially the hiring decision-makers. People hire people they like having around. Examples are to arrive early to meetings and use the time to create relationships, and attend all social events outside working hours.

Deliver results in your work, but most importantly, let people know about it. Prepare brief ‘soundbytes’ to deliver during 1-1 conversations and meetings, to publicize your accomplishments. You can also use soundbytes to publicize your previous work accomplishments or academic success, for example: “As part of my MBA I researched…” or, “When I led the marketing program at my former company, I learned that…”

Drop hints frequently that you would like to stay (don't be too subtle, especially if your hiring manager is a guy), and request an informational with your manager/the hiring manager to discuss this.

For more ideas on all the above buy The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins, about how to make the greatest impact in a new job.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Q&A: How can I ensure I am fairly compensated?

Q: I have accepted a job offer from a large technology corporation (Fortune 1,000). I am concerned that pay discrepancies between men and women are still prevalent.

In addition to renegotiating my salary and benefits package, what other advice do you have on how can I ensure that I am being fairly compensated.

A: Renegotiation is one of the most impactful steps you can take. If all women were to follow your lead—there would be less of a gender pay gap! The authors of Women Don't Ask state that women who negotiate their salary at every opportunity earn at least $1 mill more over their careers.

Beyond salary negotiation, the rest of my advise falls into the category of good career-management. To maximize your compensation, try to maneuver into a job that…

  1. Is in a division of the business that is growing, not shrinking or stagnant.

  2. Is in a division that is a revenue center, not a cost center (Example: work in areas like Product Management or Sales rather than in Finance, Operations or HR).

  3. Allows you to demonstrate the link between your work effort and business results, and make those results visible to senior level leaders. (Example: If you are in Marketing, measure ROI of your marketing programs, and present results/metrics to senior leaders)

  4. Reports to a manager who you get along well with, who mentors you, and opens doors for you, who a manager that does the same for them. That way, everyone’s careers advance faster.

  5. Affords you opportunities to work on high-profile projects that demonstrate your leadership capabilities and challenge you to grow.