Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series: Now open for registration

We're excited to announce a stellar line-up of new topics and speakers for our 2013 Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series. The year-long, six-part series of webinars blends leadership skills training with advice from guest speakers who are senior-level women leaders.

In every webinar, you will:

  • Hear outstanding women leaders share their top career and leadership tips
  • Add to your toolkit of leadership skills 
  • Learn proven strategies to advance your career.
A one-year subscription gives you access to six new webinars and to a library of over 30 recorded webinars on demand--all featuring top women executives sharing the secrets to their success.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013
| Dealing with Difficult Conversations at Work
There will almost certainly be a time when you need to have a difficult conversation with a subordinate, a peer, or even your boss. The stakes can be high. Are you fully prepared? In this webinar, we'll cover real-life examples, do's and don'ts, and communication tools for handling tough conversations gracefully and effectively.

Guest Speakers:

Betty Chan-BauzaVice President, Product Management,
Identity Theft 911


Erin Chapple,
Group Program Manager,


April 30, 2013 | Building an Influential Brand with Social Media
Guest speakers: Liz Brenner, Senior Director of Talent Marketing, SAP and Margaret Resce Milkint, Managing Partner, The Jacobson Group.

June 18, 2013 | Leading Meetings
Guest speaker: Luann Pendy, Vice President, Global Quality, Medtronic.

August 27, 2013 | Breakout Career Moves
Guest speakers: Nehal Mehta, Director QA, NetApp and Sara Sperling, Head of Diversity, Facebook.

October 29, 2013 | Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory
Guest speakers: Donnell Green, Global Head of Talent Management, BlackRock and Caroline Simard, PhD, Associate Director, Diversity and Leadership, Stanford School of Medicine.

December 3, 2013 | Ask a Male Executive
Guest speakers: David Head, Senior Vice President, Customer Segment Executive, Employee Banking and Investments at Bank of America and John L. Hall, Senior Vice President, Oracle University.

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Join now for access to the webinar on February 26.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Five Ways to Accelerate Your Career Advancement in 2013

It is every up-and-coming leader’s dilemma: You can’t get a leadership job without experience, but you can’t get leadership experience without the job. If you aspire to advance into a role with greater responsibility, you really can’t afford to wait to receive an invitation to lead. You also can’t afford to wait for someone to hand you a promotion.

Being proactive in how you manage your career takes more than setting goals and working hard, so I took a look back through my ‘Ask Jo’ articles from the past eighteen months, searching for a handful of career-advancement strategies that will give you an edge. Here are five top tips for steering your career toward advancement in 2013.

1. Stop ignoring office politics
In an article titled Seven Career Killers, careers author Erin Burt points out that refusing to engage in office politics can be a career-killing move. “Avoiding politics altogether can be deadly for your career. Like it or not, every workplace has an intricate system of power, and you can — and should — work it ethically to your best advantage. To get a promotion, avoid downsizing or get a project approved, you need co-worker support.”

Nina Simosko, Senior Vice President of SAP’s Global Premier Customer Network, agrees, “Politics are a reality and one must not ignore them or do so at their own peril. I am not a fan of politics, but I have learned that ignoring them can have negative consequences. So, I do believe that we all must understand the nature of the politics within our respective companies and participate to the extent necessary.”

Instead of ignoring office politics, become a savvy observer of the communication and relationships that surround you in your organization. Pay attention to how people interact with each other in meetings, in the hallways, at lunch, or virtually. Seek out those who have influence. I call this skill “organizational savvy,” and it is also the most important skill for navigating office politics in a positive and effective way.  Read more about developing organizational savvy in Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Office Politics.

2. Re-brand yourself
Have you allowed others to define your reputation? Everyone has a certain reputation or “brand” that they are known for in their workplace, however for most people that brand is created by default, not by design.

Re-branding yourself starts with understanding your current brand. What reputation are you currently known for? What do others say about you? It’s important to know, because then you can choose to embrace that perception and build on it, or take steps to change how you are perceived. Get a baseline to understand the existing brand that you are known for. Ask managers, mentors, trusted colleagues or HR partners to describe how you are currently perceived by others.

Identify the new brand you want to be known for, and create a short, concise brand statement that describes what you want to be known for, and align your communication and actions with the brand you want to be known for. Read about the three steps to take in How to re-brand yourself for a big leap forward in your career.

3. Build a diversified network of sponsors
A study published in 2011 by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that people who have sponsors are more satisfied with their advancement and are more likely to have access to stretch assignments than those who do not have sponsors.

Think about the next job you would like to have. When that opportunity opens up will it be your name that is mentioned? Don’t rely on mentoring alone to get you there. In addition to having mentors, line up a diversified network of influential advocates and educate them about your value and your career goals.

Michelle Johnston, General Manager of Channel Platforms and Strategy with Intel, recommends having more than one sponsor. “I would recommend that everyone needs to have three to four advocates outside of their direct management chain. You need to build networks so that you have people who are looking for opportunities for you.” Read more about the critical difference sponsors can make, in Sponsors: A Key to Career Advancement.

4. Say “no” to stretch assignments
In a webinar for women in the energy industry, I interviewed a partner in a consulting firm who stated categorically, “I wouldn’t be in the position I am if I hadn’t had the courage to step into leading activities that were not in my area of expertise.”

But despite all the benefits of volunteering for stretch assignments, there are times when the extra workload can work against you. How is it that some women use these opportunities to make a big leap forward in their career, while others just burn out? The key is to be highly selective. If you are going to take on responsibilities outside the bounds of your job description (and I hope that you do), you must choose strategically.

One common career misstep that many women make is accepting too many low-visibility assignments which require them to work long hours without gaining the benefits of recognition and skills growth that a true ‘stretch assignment’ would bring. Here’s a checklist for evaluating whether a stretch assignment will move your career forward (or not!), in When to say “no” to stretch assignments.

5. Put yourself forward to be developed as a leader
I have known many women who were smart and hardworking, but nonetheless believed that if they just worked hard enough for long enough, someone from management would eventually stop by, hand them a promotion and say, “You’re a leader now!”

“Don’t be shy or hesitant about putting yourself forward as someone who’s interested in being developed as a leader” said a corporate secretary in the energy industry. She added, “Sometimes, there’s not a formal way to do that in your organization, so be sure to communicate that to people that you work with. Let them know that you see yourself as someone who has that potential and interest to develop in that area. Waiting for something to happen to you may well bring disappointment.”

You can’t afford to wait for someone to come along and develop you as a leader. Don’t wait for permission or an invitation to move beyond your current role or take on more responsibility. Read more tips on taking charge of your career in Own Your Career: Six Ways to Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory.

Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. Join Jo for her Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series beginning February 26, 2013. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the Article Archive: Getting the Lay of the Land in a New Role

What is the best way to navigate a role-change to a new team at a large company?

During a leadership webinar, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Senior Vice President and Chief Tax Officer of the Wal-Mart Tax Department, shared with me the importance of quickly getting the lay of the land when coming into a new position. She explained, “The first step that I take when taking on a new assignment or a new project is what I call ‘surveying the landscape.’ I study my surroundings, and I try to understand the people and processes that drive value in that particular area.”

Here's how to quickly survey the landscape when you start a new role.

1. Find someone with organizational savvy
Find someone who is well-regarded and well-networked in your new group and ask if you can schedule some time to speak them. It could be your new manager or someone who appears to have some influence in your new group. Let them know you appreciate how knowledgeable and well-connected they are, and that you would appreciate their advice as you begin your new role. Review the org chart with them. Ask:
  • Who are the key stakeholders I should get to know?
  • Who should I introduce myself to?
  • What questions should I ask them?
Create a checklist of names and create a plan to connect with each person in your first months in the job.

2. Become the go-to-person
Before you set out to meet those key people, develop a 30-second commercial that concisely explains your role, your responsibilities, and how you can be of help. Share it at every opportunity as a way of educating others about your role, and the reasons why they should come to you. Use it to introduce yourself to all the key people, asking how you can help each other and listen for tips on how you can make the greatest impact in your role. Here is a format to use:
a)    Your name
b)    Your new job title
c)    I am responsible for… (share three concise bullet points that describe your role)
d)    Come directly to me whenever you need… (share three more concise bullet points that describe the reasons why they should come to you.
Seize every opportunity to introduce yourself in this way so that you can educate others about your new role, the value that you add, and why they should come to you.

3. Embark on a listening tour
Start your new role with a “listening tour” by connecting with every individual on your list of key stakeholders. The purpose is not just to introduce yourself, but to have a meaningful and educational discussion with each one of them in your first month in the job.

Your goal is more than just getting introduced. In each conversation you will most definitely need to introduce yourself and your role, and ask them to do the same. Discuss the ways that you can help each other, but also listen for additional information that is going to help you uncover who people and processes are that really drive value. Gather intelligence on the following categories:

a) Informational powerhouses
Try to discover who the “informational powerhouses” are: those individuals who keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on in the organization, the industry, and the broader business environment. By knowing who to go to for historical data and emerging trends, you will find yourself empowered to make better business decisions more quickly.

b) Influencers
Listen for who the key people of influence are: those who have an enhanced ability to lead change and make things happen. They are not necessarily found in high-level or high profile positions, so pay attention to who holds influence regardless of their job title.
Notice which way influence flows in the relationships surrounding you in your new team. Is influence flowing in the traditional top-down manner? Are there people who are equally able to influence each other? Are there any of those rare individuals who have the ability to “manage upward” who are influencing their management?

c) Coalitions
Look out for groups of people who have formed groups that work together effectively, and are freely share information, resources, and opportunities. Ask yourself, “What do they have in common? What is the social glue that binds this group together?”  This will give you clues on how to work more effectively with those groups and individuals.
By taking time to build relationships, listen, and get "the lay of the land", you will pick up momentum and add value in your new role much more rapidly than if you spend all of your time mastering the technical aspects of your role.

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot was a guest speaker in the webinar, Are You The Invisible Employee?, part of the Emerging Women Leaders webinar series.

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