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.