Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's wrong with working hard?

By Jo Miller

Are you a hard worker? Do you have a reputation for hard work?

In this video, I explain why working harder won’t get you promoted—and may even hinder your career advancement. Doing great work and delivering outstanding results aren't always enough to attract reward and recognition.

Here's a great reason to get your nose away from the grindstone. Watch now.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Make a breakout career move! Join us for the Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series starting August 27.

Have you ever wondered how to make a big leap forward in your career? Join us on August 27 for a webinar on Breakout Career Moves, and discover how to create your next big career opportunity.

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 women 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.
Breakout Career Moves  
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 

If you’re ready for your next big career move, don’t wait for it to find you. In this webinar, learn how to create opportunities to do what you’re great at and passionate about. Hear from women who have successfully defined their careers by creating their own high-profile projects, stretch assignments, and customized roles.

Nehal Mehta,
Director of QA, NetApp.
Sara Sperling, 
Head of Diversity, Facebook. 

About the Webinar Series

A one-year subscription to the series includes six new webinars per year with access to over 30 past webinar recordings, all designed for emerging women leaders--early-career and mid-level women in corporations.
Gather colleagues to watch with you in an office or conference room and schedule a group discussion immediately after the webinar (we'll provide discussion questions).

Individual Membership

  • Join live, $188. One-year membership for a single site. Includes six upcoming webinars plus on-demand access to over 30 past programs
  • View on-demand, $168. One-year membership for a single site. Includes access to the replays of six upcoming webinars plus on-demand access to over 30 past programs.

Corporate Membership

The webinars are a scalable, low-cost way for corporate women's initiatives to offer leadership development and networking events.
  • Join live, $2698.One-year membership for 50 sites. Includes six upcoming webinars plus on-demand access to past programs
  • View on-demand, $2298. One-year membership for 50 sites. Includes access to the replays of six upcoming webinars plus on-demand access to past programs.
Learn more or register now

Corporate Members include Alcatel-Lucent, Cargill, eBay/PayPal, Farm Credit Services, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, JDSU, Lexis-Nexis, Mastercard, Medtronic, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Siemens, Symantec, UBS, Women's Wireless Leadership Forum, and a large financial institution.


Webinar Schedule

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

Ask a Male Executive I December 3, 2013
Guest speakers: Kieth Cockrell, Sr. Initiative Portfolio Executive at Bank of America and John L. Hall, Senior Vice President, Oracle University. 

Win at the Game of Office Politics I February 25, 2014
Speaker: Jo Miller, CEO, Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc. 

Building Relationships of Trust I April 22, 2014 
Guest speakers:Joanne Collins, Assistant Vice President - International Markets, SCOR Global Life Americas and one other, to be confirmed. 

Intrapreneurship: Why Your Company Needs You to Lead Like an Entrepreneur I June 17, 2014
Guest speakers: Nina Bhatti, Founder, Start-up in Stealth Mode and Rebecca U. Harris, Director Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.


Being Strategic: Three Components of a Good Strategy

Question: I tend to be tactical but am now in a position in which I am being asked to be more strategic. What is the action plan for transitioning? Is being strategic a learnable skill?

Jo Miller answers: “How can I be more strategic?” is a question everyone asks, but what does it mean? And what is strategy, anyway?

Ellie Pidot is Vice President of Strategy at Medtronic, where she works closely with the CEO and senior management team to lead the development of corporate strategy and improve the quality of strategic decision-making company-wide.
So what is strategy, according to a seasoned executive strategist? In a style refreshingly free from business jargon, Pidot explained that “Strategy is a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action.”

In addition to developing corporate strategy at the highest level with the senior executive team, Pidot also works with Medtronic’s eight business units and various regions worldwide, helping to facilitate their strategic planning process. One of her top tips for being strategic is “collaborate, collaborate, collaborate,” and her approach to strategy creation involves serving as a thought partner to executives across the company. Pidot begins by asking questions that provoke the type of deeply reflective thinking that enables a business or region to develop its own strategy.   
Typical questions she recommends asking when formulating a strategy are:  

  •     What are your customers’ unmet needs? How should your strategy address them?
  •     How will your markets be different in the future than they are today?
  •     What can you do to position yourself for the future?
  •     What is the business case for your investments?
  •     How will you measure and track performance to ensure impact?
But what if you are not leading a business but are an individual contributor who is trying to be more strategic?

Pidot recommends asking similar questions while imagining your boss as a customer “Ask yourself, what are your customer’s unmet needs, meaning what is it that your boss wants and needs,” she advised. Reflect on your job description and what you know about your boss, and how you could make their life easier. “Look for ways to better predict the kinds of things that they want you to do” she said. “By coming up with a list, you can probably anticipate those needs better. Have a bias for action and get things done. Have milestones. Check them off and follow through. Come up with a plan, and think ahead in a way that is proactive. Being strategic is about having a long-term plan, and putting it into action. It almost sounds silly to think of that as a strategy, but it really is.”

Three components of a good strategy
To anyone who is hoping to develop the skill of being strategic, Pidot recommends that any good strategy needs three characteristics: to be forward looking, aspirational, and grounded in facts.

1. Be focused on the long-term and forward-looking
Pidot advises that to be effective, a strategy must be forward-looking.

“To move from getting caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of the job and become more strategic, you need to be looking ahead.” Pidot recommends asking yourself “What is the world going to look like, five or ten years from now? How are the dynamics that I am operating in going to change over time? How can I put into place a set of actions to get me to where the world is going to be?”

2. Be aspirational, while recognizing constraints
A good strategy needs to be aspirational, while recognizing your starting point and constraints. Pidot explains, “You need to be bold enough in your aspirations that you can get excited about it, because you are going to spend a lot of time working on your strategy, but at the same time recognize where you are today, and what constraints you might have on the potential actions that are at your disposal. It is a careful balance. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself but at the same time, you don’t want to limit yourself.”

3. Be grounded in facts
A common misconception about strategy is that it requires thinking at the ‘high level’ and not digging down into the detail. When asked by a would-be strategist “How can I get out of the detail and be more strategic?” Pidot advises, “One of the common reasons that strategies fail is that they are not grounded in facts, data and a deep understanding of your customers and business environment. One of the most important elements of strategy is moving away from ‘managing by anecdote’ and developing a much more systematic approach using facts, data and analysis.”

Take time to think
A final key to becoming a better strategist is to take the time to think.

“We all have challenges and our days are jam-packed. We are running from meeting to meeting, trying to accomplish more in less time,” observes Pidot. “It feels sometimes like we don’t even have the time to get our job done, let alone have time to step back. But I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to have unstructured time with yourself or with your team, just to think. An agenda-less hour or two is critical for generating creativity and different thinking.”


To learn more about ways to be strategic, watch the webinar “Being Strategic” with guest speaker Ellie Pidot.
Members, log in now to view the webinar recording.
Not a member yet? Join now for immediate access to the webinar.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Anna N Schlegel

I view my work team as if it were a sports team. Each member has a clear role and position. I played volleyball for many years and this stuck with me.

Name: Anna N Schlegel
Current title: Director, Globalization Programs Strategy Office
Company: NetApp Inc.
Favorite business quote:
It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”—Henry Ford

What is your leadership style?
I view my work team as if it were a sports team. Each member has a clear role and position. I played volleyball for many years and this stuck with me. On a sports team, each teammate plays an integral part; keeping that in mind at the office, I coach my team on what the game plan is for the day. I make sure everyone is doing well, I make sure the “players” have the tools they need.

I am a fan of Patrick Lencioni from The Table Group, who applies similar principles for teamwork. It's crucial to give the team a vision and the tools to get there. Training teams to work (and play) well together, is a big priority.

“It’s crucial to give the team a vision... Training a team to work (and play) well together is a big priority.”

What tools or resources have you used that have been crucial to your success? I tend to lead big teams of contractors, hires, agencies, and consultants; for that, I must be organized! My teams always have one vision, one charter, and a series of programs and projects to get to that vision in the span of two to three years. We work on the processes to get to that vision. What will success look like after each project? Creating great repeatable processes that everyone on the team can follow is vital in my book. It takes time, but if you have a steady team, you will get there.

I am a big supporter of team building, an open door policy, and cross pollinating among teams. It is also imperative to work on what is important; it's essential to move the business forward. 

I am a big supporter of team building, an open door policy, and cross pollinating among teams.” 

What steps are you currently taking to improve yourself, professionally? I always take a few management classes each year to remind myself how to be a better manager. And I usually have a new leadership book close by, to see new trends in management. I recently moved to a Product Team, so I am currently taking new product classes to get better knowledge in our product portfolio. After all, we are all here to sell!