Monday, November 25, 2013

Ask an Executive: Webinar for emerging women leaders on December 3

Ask an Executive
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Time 1 p.m. Eastern, 12 noon Central, 11 a.m. Mountain, 10 a.m. Pacific USA time, for 1 hour

Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask a leader? This hour-long forum gives you access to the executive perspective without any of the awkwardness. Our panelists will candidly address a wide range of career issues and leadership challenges. Submit your questions for consideration!

Guest speakers: 
Kieth Cockrell, Divestiture Executive at Bank of America
John L. Hall, Senior Vice President, Oracle University

Jo Miller, CEO, Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc.

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Corporate packages of 50 memberships are also available.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pay Attention to Office Politics

By Jo Miller

Have you ever wondered if playing the game of office politics is necessary to be successful?

One of the first good books I read on women and leadership was "Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office" by Lois Frankel. Published in 2004, it holds up well. It was in reading this book that I first learned the importance of understanding the "rules of the game."

According to Dr. Frankel, the workplace "has rules, boundaries, winners and losers. Not only is it a game, but the rules of the game change from organization to organization and from department to department within an organization."

Read more on how to navigate the unwritten, unspoken rules of the workplace on the Iowa Women's Leadership Conference blog.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Helping Women in Bermuda Reach their Leadership Goals

Poised for Leadership workshop in Bermuda
The Centre for Leadership in Bermuda was formed when five successful business women came together to discus areas where support for women’s leadership in business was lacking.

Rochelle Simons, one of the Centre’s founding members, heard about Jo Miller’s work after researching the topic of women’s leadership development. “It fit nicely with what the Centre for Leadership was about and the content of the course and some of the other work that Jo offers was really interesting, so it fit right in target with our mission,” she said.

Read the Royal Gazette's article about how the Centre for Leadership and Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc. brought the Poised for Leadership workshop to Bermuda.

6 Critical Career Missteps That Put a Lid on Career Advancement

6 Critical Career Missteps
By Jo Miller

It isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as an up-and-coming leader inside a large corporation. Some days you can feel like the best kept secret in your organization. Your management might have said that if you work hard and do a good job you’ll be recognized but if you’ve tried that, you’ll know that it can bring mixed results at best.

For over fifteen years I have been going into large companies to train emerging women leaders on how to advance into positions of management and leadership. If you are wondering how to become a leader or how to get promoted, here’s my checklist of the top career missteps that could be putting a stop to your career growth. I have included a summary of action steps to take to leap beyond those roadblocks and keep your career moving forward.

Misstep #1: Waiting to be promoted
Action step: Take charge of your career trajectory.

Misstep #2: Allowing others to define your reputation
Action Step: Build your brand as an emerging leader.

Misstep #3: Building a dead-end brand
Action step: Make your brand scalable.

Misstep #4: Working too hard
Action Step: Make your value visible.

Misstep #5: Accepting low-visibility assignments
Action Step: Take on career-defining projects.

Misstep #6: Downplaying your accomplishments
Action Step: Promote your achievements.

Could you identify with any of these? Post a note in the comments section!  Let me know what youve discovered, and what action you’d like to take to move beyond these roadblocks and move ahead in your career.

And watch my free four-part video series on how to build your brand as an emerging leader. I cover the six critical career missteps and the actions to take to move beyond these roadblocks. You don’t have to be the best kept secret in your organization!

From the Article Archive: Learning the Fine Art of Self Promotion

By Jo Miller

Question:What are ways to make my accomplishments visible without being seen as bragging?

Jo Miller answers:
I know far too many women who hold back from promoting their accomplishments, for fear of being seen as someone who brags too much. We’ve all known a colleague who overdid the bragging to the extent that they became a strutting, self-promoting peacock.

Many of the women I speak to, say that their fear of becoming like that person holds them back from self promoting at all — even when appropriate or necessary. If you fall into this category, your finely tuned “B.S. detector” will prevent you from turning into an obnoxious over-promoter. You do need to seek out a healthy level of recognition, because in today’s corporate culture, that’s what gets rewarded.

Many women fall into the trap of thinking that getting recognized at work is like doing well in school, where working hard and getting good grades will guarantee recognition. But when you take this approach in the workplace, you’ll only get buried from view under a pile of work. Worse, your reputation as a “hard worker” will only attract more hard work!

As an example, I spoke to a woman recently who had a reputation at her office as “the fixer.” Every time there was a sticky problem that no one else wanted to deal with, she was called in to fix it. Being somewhat humble, she never bragged or called attention to what she was achieving. After toiling away un-noticed for six years, she realized that she wasn’t building a brand as an achiever or leader or expert. In her own words, she was known only as “the pooper-scooper.”

The solution was to reflect on her recent accomplishments, select those that best positioned her as a leader, then get the word out. Here are the steps she used:

  1. She listed out all of her accomplishments.
  2. From the list, she selected the ones that reinforced the brand she wanted to build. (Leaving out the pooper-scooping!)
  3. She promoted those accomplishments.
And, here are three ways she promoted her accomplishments and ways you can do the same without feeling sleazy.

  • Create a “soundbyte” or concise one-sentence description for each accomplishment. When someone asks, “How are you doing?” don’t just tell them you’re fine; take that opportunity to include a soundbyte:“I’m doing great. I just got nominated for the customer service award!”
  • When a customer or colleague sends an email praising you, forward it on to your leaders. All you need to add to the message is “FYI.”
  • When a significant project or milestone is accomplished, ask to present a report in your staff meeting and to other groups that may benefit from what you’ve learned. Volunteering to present brown bags works well, too. 
For more information on this topic, watch the webinar,  Are You The Invisible Employee? with guest speaker Claire Babinueax-Fontenot.
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How to Build Your Brand as an Emerging Leader: Free Four-Part Video Series

Are you the best kept secret in your organization?

Don’t be! In our new free four-part video series, discover:

• The 6 critical career missteps that could be putting a lid on your career advancement.
• How to identify your ideal career niche.
• How to build your brand as an emerging leader.
• How to attract high-profile projects.
• Ways to make your value visible.

Get started now!

What Your Boss Won’t Tell You About How to Become a Leader: 5 Uncommon Tips for Career Advancement

By Jo Miller

If you’ve worked hard, done a good job, and received a positive performance review, then you’ve successfully followed what most good bosses would call a “career development plan”. That’s different, however, from a career advancement plan. To advance you’ll need to do the things that go beyond being merely great – and yes, I know that’s a big “merely” – at your current job.

Last month I explored the webinar topic “Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory” with two of the smartest women I know: Donnell Green, Global Head of Talent Management and Development with Blackrock; and Dr. Caroline Simard, Associate Director of Diversity and Leadership with the Stanford School of Medicine. When these two leaders shared their essential elements for a career advancement plan they each included both common and uncommon tips for moving upward, including some things you’d be unlikely to hear from your manager.

It’s up to you to create your career advancement plan. You can’t wait for permission to become a leader. As one of our previous speakers, Monica Spigner of Lincoln Financial Group once told me, “Make a plan – or someone else will make one for you.”

Donnell and Caroline shared phenomenal advice on growth and promotion, with a thorough look at their career advancement essentials. Here are just a few highlights:

1. Get a good boss
For Donnell, a critical element of taking charge of her career meant building a network of support including coaches, mentors, and sponsors. “Don’t go it alone,” she advised, and give careful consideration to who is in your management chain. Work for people you respect, and get a good boss. I have built great relationships with my bosses and created value for them. Having the support of your manager can make or break a career.”

2. Don’t stand in your own way
Imagine gripping onto something so tightly that you almost squeezed the life out of it. Dont do that to your most important career goals!

Accomplishing those goals can mean adjusting your way of going about it, according to Caroline. “If youre too attached to a very narrow definition of success or a narrow plan for your career, you will ignore amazing opportunities.”

“Keep your eye on the goal, but don’t stand in the way of the end result. Sometimes, that means letting go of some credit or doing a task that youre not particularly interested in. But if its really important to achieving your vision, its absolutely worth doing.”

Speaking of her own career plan, Caroline emphasized the importance of flexibility. “I try to have a plan but its a flexible plan.”

3. Timing is everything
Asking for the things we need, especially when it comes to career advancement, is a hurdle for many women. Fortunately, our speakers shared tips on negotiating for key training or development opportunities.

For Donnell, timing is everything when it comes to these negotiations. “The right conversation held at the wrong time can be harmful, as is failing to be mindful that your boss is in bad mood or the person youre talking is the wrong person. Pay attention to timing and use those instincts for these conversations.”

4. Dont ignore work-life fit
Caroline leads an innovative pilot initiative at Stanford School of Medicine to re-design the work culture in ways that allow faculty to increase their work-life fit. She advised asking yourself not only what is it that you’re trying to accomplish at work, but what your goals are at home, in your personal life, too. “Don’t ignore work-life fit. These two pieces need to go hand-in-hand in everything you do.”

“Work-life fit is about the balance of taking care of yourself” said Donnell, who trained for her first marathon ten years ago. At work, there were times when she pushed herself beyond what she thought she was capable of, which she now credits as a key factor in advancing into the global leadership role she holds today. “Get physically fit and healthy,” she urged our audience. “When you train for a marathon, you build endurance and you build stamina. Its a great analogy for the long haul of leadership and getting to the top.”

5. A sense of humor can advance your career
“Don’t take yourself and others too seriously, said Caroline, adding that “a sense of humor has really carried me through hard times. Its easy to get intimidated by titles and degrees.”

Donnell agrees. “Mind the seriousness and intensity!” she said. “If youre someone that people enjoy being around, youve got a sense of humor, you dont take yourself seriously, youll have followership and that followership will advance your career.

Listen to the entire conversation with Donnell Green and Caroline Simard in the webinar “Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory”.

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