Monday, February 18, 2013

The Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series is a year-long, six-part series of webinars blending leadership skills training with advice from guest speakers who are senior-level leaders.

In every webinar,
• 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.

Program Schedule

 1. Dealing with Difficult Conversations at Work, 2/26
 2. Building an Influential Brand with Social Media, 4/30
 3. Leading Meetings, 6/18
 4. Breakout Career Moves, 8/27
 5. Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory, 10/29
 6. Ask a Male Executive 12/3
Guest speakers include
  • Betty Chan-Bauza, Vice President, Product Management, Identity Theft 911
  • Erin Chapple, Group Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Margaret Resce Milkint, Managing Partner, The Jacobson Group
  • Luann Pendy, Vice President, Global Quality, Medtronic
  • Sara Sperling, Head of Diversity, Facebook
  • Donnell Green, Global Head of Talent Management, BlackRock
  • David Head, SVP, Customer Segment Executive, Employee Banking and Investments at Bank of America
  • John L. Hall, Senior Vice President, Oracle University
Single log-in for the 6-part series, $188
Corporate partner registration of 50 log-ins, $2,698

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Working Effectively in a Virtual Workforce

Does your job require you to work with virtual team-members? Most professional careers now do. How well you perform depends on your ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues who aren’t in the same building or even the same state or country. You can’t afford to focus on working effectively with only those team members that you see face to face.

In the webinar, Working with Virtual and Global Teams, I interviewed Marie Pettinos on what it takes to thrive as a team-member in a global, virtual, and highly diverse workforce. Currently Senior Director of Strategic Business Management at Siemens Healthcare, Pettinos grew up splitting her time between New York and Ireland. She has since worked in Japan, England, and India.

Her role now requires her to lead globally distributed teams that she coaches to break out of their geographic silos and build trust, alignment, and accountability in their virtual workplace relationships. Here are what she considers to be the critical skills for being effective as a team-member in a virtual workforce.

Start from a position of trust
“In the past, I have had team-members take an exception to working with virtual peers”, said Pettinos. “They would ask, “How do we know they’re really working? How do I know that they’re putting as much time into this as I am?”

“The most critical skill is to start from a position of trust,” she advised. “You have to trust that all team members are aligned and working with you on the same objective. Assume that they are there and that they are working. Whether they’re sitting at their desk or sitting on their bed or wherever they’re doing it, they’re actually working.”

Engage remote employees
Whether you are leading a meeting, leading a group or participating as a team member, you need to engage remote employees. “It often happens that there are teams partially collected in a remote location,” observed Pettinos. “Engage those remote people, first and foremost. Make sure they know that they’re part of the team.”

Effective facilitation of virtual meetings requires being very inclusive. “Start by asking for participation from the people on the phone”, she suggested. “Be very aware, if you’re leading the discussion, to direct your conversation towards the microphone. You’ve probably seen examples where people turn away to look at a whiteboard or screen and without realizing that people on the phone can’t hear them.”

Don’t forget to compensate for your own cultural biases. “Pause and wait for input. In certain cultures within the United States and elsewhere, we’re very quick to talk over somebody to make sure we get our point heard,” Pettinos pointed out. “In some cultures, to be respectful of people’s space and time, they’ll let you finish the sentence before they jump in. Allow people to contribute.”

And don’t always presume that the meeting should be held at your convenience. Pettinos recommends being highly sensitive to time zones. “Be flexible. Compromise, and make sure you’re really inclusive of everybody.”

Treat everybody like they are in the room
Finally, your objective as a team-member is to create an atmosphere where everyone can contribute and collaborate fully. “To put everyone on a level playing field, act like everybody is in the room, and that everybody is a key player,” Pettinos added. “Once you do that, you can set the stage for effective collaboration.”

Marie Pettinos was guest speaker in the webinar Working with Virtual and Global Teams, part of the Emerging Women Leaders webinar series. 

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From the Article Archive: Making the Most of Mentoring

Question: Is it okay to have more than one mentor?

Absolutely. Most successful women leaders will advise you to have more than one.

Sandy Postel is an award-winning leader who will advise you to seek out a diverse slate of mentors. Postel retired last year from her position as Vice President of Manufacturing, Quality, and Boeing Production Systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Postel has been recognized as a Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Fellow in 2009, is recipient of SWE’s Upward Mobility Award, and was recently was named SAE’s J. Cordell Breed winner for outstanding woman leader in the mobility industry.

So what does an award-winning leader advise?

“One mentor is useful but you should have a whole portfolio of mentors. It’s like your personal board of directors” explained Postel, who is frequently called upon to deliver speeches on career-related issues.

Postel has refined a list of what to look for in a mentor. “There are really four different roles for mentors”, she said, referring to the roles of Coach, Appraiser, Advisor and Referral Agent, as described by Caela Farren in the book Career Spark for Managers.
1) The Coach

The first type of mentor is the coach.

According to Postel, this is “someone who’s probably not in your line of management but who really wants to see you improve your skills, encourages you, and helps to unlock organizational secrets for you.”

“Sometimes it is a peer”, she added. “Sometimes, it’s a one-time deal, for example, if somebody talked to you about a specific assignment or opportunity, or to coach you through a specific event. Or you may have a coach just on one dimension of your development plan, for instance if you needed to develop your public speaking skills.”

2) The Appraiser

“An appraiser observes your performance first-hand and speaks honestly with you about your performance versus your potential”, Postel explains.

Most commonly an appraiser is a person’s manager; however, Postel is quick to point out “… it could be a customer who is very familiar with the work you do, or it could be a colleague or a group of colleagues that you spend the most time with.”

Most companies have an annual performance management process, though some managers are better at performance management than others. According to Postel, the onus may fall on an employee to encourage their manager to become a better appraiser. “You really need to pull out the honesty, even if your boss isn’t very good at it, and find what he or she thinks about your potential, versus your performance.”

3) The Advisor

An advisor helps you to understand what the business needs are and assess what portfolio of skills you require to advance within that business environment.

Postel views this as an ideal role for senior executive mentors to fill, through participation in formal company mentoring initiatives, and says “This person tells you about the career path in your company and talks about risk and how the company perceives what risks you take. 
Advisors can assess your plan. This is a role that senior executives can play because while they may not observe your performance first-hand, they can certainly give you the lay of the land and describe what the company is about.”

4) The Referral Agent

“The last one is a referral agent and that’s the person who can create connections”, said Postel. “People come to a referral agent to find out how to navigate or to get information. They’ll help coach you around your development plans and your approach for getting training and the new assignments. For instance, people whose performance I did not know well used to come to me and say, “I want to get experience in new product development. Who can I talk to, to get started?”

Postel would act as a referral agent, advising mentees on who they should talk to and introducing them to leaders in her network who could answer their questions in thirty minute informational meetings.

She concluded “A referral agent’s role is valuable to you because it extends your network. It is also important to the company as its mentors and leaders are passing good people’s names to other leaders. It’s a real win-win and it makes for a great collegial environment to make the most of talent in the organization.”

Sandra Postel was a guest speaker in the webinar, Making the Most of Mentoring, part of the Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series.

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