What It Takes: Speak Up, Step Up, Move Up: A Modern Woman's Guide to Success in Business

Overview

In What It Takes, Amy Henry, a formidable business woman and national star from the original season of The Apprentice, shares her experiences, skills, and in-your-face advice for moving up in today's workplace. Throughout her impressive ten-year business career, Amy has learned how women can succeed by using the strategies men use every day, and by thinking of femininity as an asset, not a liability.

* No crying in the boardroom-use the right emotions at work

* Negotiate for what you're worth-get the compensation...

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Overview

In What It Takes, Amy Henry, a formidable business woman and national star from the original season of The Apprentice, shares her experiences, skills, and in-your-face advice for moving up in today's workplace. Throughout her impressive ten-year business career, Amy has learned how women can succeed by using the strategies men use every day, and by thinking of femininity as an asset, not a liability.

* No crying in the boardroom-use the right emotions at work

* Negotiate for what you're worth-get the compensation you deserve.

* Speak assertively-confidence isn't arrogance.

* Dating at work-know the consequences

* Ask forgiveness, not permission-take a risk

Hip, honest, and controversial, What It Takes is the ultimate guide to the reality of today's business world from the new model for today's young business women.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I bought What It Takes last Saturday, read it on Sunday, made my plan on Monday and met with my boss on Tuesday. By Friday, I had negotiated myself a 36% raise and an assistant!"

—Wendy P., a reader from Seattle, W.A.

"This woman has her bases covered . . . Amy's got what it takes."

—Donald Trump

"An upbeat, levelheaded guide . . . that will be of particular interest to woman in the early stages of their careers."

Globe and Mail

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312349004
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 784,567
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Henry is a born and bred Texan, where she earned both her undergraduate degree and her MBA. She worked for many years at leading technology companies across the U.S., and is currently building a consulting company focusing on women in business.

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Read an Excerpt

What It Takes

Speak Up, Step Up, Move Up: A Modern Woman's Guide to Success in Business
By Amy Henry

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2005 Amy Henry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312349004

Introduction

For years people have told me I'm "more man than woman" when it comes to business. I was never sure whether to take that statement as a compliment or an insult, but I've come to understand what colleagues mean when they describe me that way. They don't mean I lack femininity-please, I love my bleached blond hair, fitted clothes, high heels, and slight Southern accent. They mean I'm confident, assertive, persistent, tough, headstrong, and ambitious-all qualities traditionally associated with businessmen, not business-women.

But both men and women need those qualities to excel, and if women want to move up in their jobs, we must be aggressive, confident, vocal, and proud of our accomplishments. Women do not, I repeat not, have to act like men to succeed in the business world-stereotypically female traits such as listening, relationship building, and empathy are critical to meeting business goals. But to compete and thrive, we must combine male and female behaviors: assertiveness as well as hard work, confidence as well as charm, and decisiveness as well as intuition.

My own ability to take risks and express myself-as well as work compatibly with teammates and avoid pettiness-helped make me one of the final four contestants on The Apprentice in addition to bringing me success in my career. Now, I want to empower you to get what you want from your career. Whether you are new to the workplace and haven't yet found a mentor to whisper business secrets in your ear, or if you have been working for some time and are having trouble climbing the corporate ladder as quickly as you think you should be, I am confident What It Takes will provide a few new ideas and strategies to help you.

Competence Is Not Enough

I was not uncomfortable being the "last woman standing" on The Apprentice-I'm used to being the sole woman standing among men. I grew up in a neighborhood where I was the only girl. I was surrounded by men in graduate school. I spent eight years in the male-dominated technology industry, and at my last job I was the only full-time female employee in a company of more than 30 men. The Apprentice was actually the first time in years I had worked with so many women.

In every post-show interview people asked me if I had a strategy, and my response every time was no. I was just combining my knowledge with the business skills I had observed, adopted, and sharpened after years working with men. Again, I'm not saying you must behave like a man to get what you want at work. What I am saying is that, long ago, men wrote the rules and set the standards that dominate in today's business environments. In order to succeed in what is still a male-run business world, women need to know what those rules and standards are-and then shape them to fit our own spirit, style, and personality.

While I am still growing in my own career and continuing to learn, I do know this: competence is not enough. Moving up in today's workplace takes much more than intellect, hard work, and education. You must also:

- build relationships with superiors

- speak up on behalf of your needs and accomplishments

- step up to challenging assignments that demonstrate your skills

- use rather than hide your charm and intuition value your work and ask for the money you deserve let objectivity rather than emotion guide your workplace behavior make yourself and your achievements known

I know that you, as a reader of this book, have the mind, the work ethic, and the desire to excel, and I trust that you are responsible, professional, and capable. All you need now are strategies and concrete techniques to help you flourish in today's workplace. While I cannot tell you how to do your specific job, I can empower you with tips that you can modify to fit your own style and get what you want from work, be it a promotion, more money, respect, new assignments, or access to greater opportunities.

However you desire to move up at work, know this: you can control your own work setting to prevent stereotypes, colleagues, and managers or even fear, jealousy, and frustration from control-ling you. The advice and real-life examples in What It Takes don't come just from my own experience but from other successful working women and workplace experts. My goal is to help you take a fresh, informed look at your own working life, become more aware of your current work behaviors, and improve them so that you, too, can move up in your career.

Growing Up

My suburban, middle-class neighborhood in Arlington, Texas, was full of families, and all the kids on my block-the ones who played kickball and hide-and-seek, built forts and rode Big Wheels-were boys. That didn't stop me from playing, and I can still hear the boys whining, "Aw, does Amy have to play?" Even though I was usually the last one chosen for teams, and even though I wasn't as strong or fast, I always tried to keep up with the boys, climbing trees or stealing second base until the sun went down and I'd hear my mother call me to dinner.

In retrospect, I was not just having fun and learning how to play with the boys on my block, I was learning how to work with boys in the business world. Those childhood games helped me cultivate a competitive spirit, plus I absorbed unwritten rules about how teams work together to reach goals. I learned to stand up for myself, and I learned how to fight with people on the field and then go jump in the pool and pal around with them after the game. I learned not to cry when the boy next door yelled, "You suck" after I struck out. And, even though I was not an extraordinary athlete, I learned that winning was the goal. As I grew older, my habits did not change, and my competitive spirit only intensified.

Much of the confidence I exuded outside my home was a result of what went on inside my home. My father had been a professional football player for two years, and so I grew up with sports on television and sports in conversation. My mother (she and Dad met in third grade and married after college) was the confident cheer-leader of the house, always supporting me and my younger brother and sister. Yet my parents did not push me. In school, my competitive nature seemed to fuel itself, and I worked hard to get good grades. Mom and Dad never reprimanded me for getting a few B's-I beat myself up enough in my quest for a consistent 4.0 grade point average-I was simply competing with myself, and I wanted to win.

I didn't know many women who worked full-time, other than one of my grandmothers who was a bank vice president. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, as were all the other mothers on my block. Yet my family instilled in me a strong work ethic. My father worked for the government for almost thirty years as an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and was proud of his job status, financial security, and work-and-life balance. My mother always told me I could achieve whatever I wanted, as long as I was willing to put in the effort. My other grandmother, who worked as a church office manager, recalls that my quest for money and success started at an early age, and she always reminds me of the time I asked her, "Granny, when I grow up, can I buy this church?"

Anxious to start working, I "founded" my first company when I was about six (a lemonade stand, yes, but it was profitable), and soon I was baby-sitting at an age when most kids still had sitters-I even marketed myself by distributing flyers advertising my $2-an-hour baby-sitting services. By the time I graduated from Texas A&M University, I had worked every summer: I sold programs at the ballpark, served patrons as a waitress, manned the front desk at an athletic club, tested beef in a meatpacking plant, sold chocolates and caramel-covered apples at a candy store, assisted a wedding photographer, managed the office of a psychology clinic, sold encyclopedias over the phone, and was an intern at the corporate offices of Mary Kay cosmetics and the retail chain Color Tile. As for all the money I earned, I saved almost every penny. After college, I took a job working in the marketing department of the Bombay Company and went on to receive my master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University. By the time I had my MBA, I was more than ready to move on to the real world of business.

My Workplace Reality, before TV

I launched my career right before the height of the Internet boom and, full of ambition, focused my aspirations on the technology industry. I was fascinated with the technology sector because it attracted really smart people, the environment was extremely fast-paced, and most companies paid extremely well. While you do not have to know a thing about technology to get great tips from What It Takes, you may want to know about my work background so you understand the context in which I formed the advice and ideas in these pages.

I was not, and never will be, a techie-I cannot install complex software programs or design any type of network architecture (and when it comes to developing software applications, I am clueless). But I have served as both a project manager and an account director supervising large customer engagements and overseeing many complex, multimillion-dollar software implementations. Essentially, my roles have been to serve as the liaison between the software provider (my company) and the customer. Because business software is complicated and customized to each client's needs, my job was to manage a barrage of changes, problems, and, yes, a lot of bitching from all parties. I've often described customer management work as a juggling act-you must clearly communicate information to everyone, from computer developers to CEOs; assess client requirements and recommend appropriate solutions; analyze business processes and translate them into technical requirements; build timelines and manage work closely to ensure teams meet deadlines; evaluate risks and bring up sticky issues; hire, manage, and allocate staff; ensure long-term customer satisfaction; up-sell new solutions to accounts; and maintain relationships with each customer. All told, I've worked on close to 50 projects with companies ranging in size from start-ups to the likes of IBM, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, Eastman Chemical, Columbia HCA, Goldman Sachs, Accenture, Bain & Company, EDS, and BellSouth, to name a few. The assignments have taken me to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, and cities throughout Europe.

My first job out of graduate school was as a business analyst and product manager with Sabre in its leisure marketing department based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Sabre is best known for its global distribution company, which enables travel agents to book air, car, hotel, cruise, and tour reservations electronically. During my first year at Sabre, I analyzed travel-booking trends for tours and managed my department's budget.

Eventually I transferred within Sabre to the East Coast and began working with the company's hot Internet start-up division, Sabre Business Travel Solutions, helping clients build web-based systems so corporate travelers could book their own arrangements over the Internet. It was 1997, the so-called Internet economy was heating up, and so was my own Internet fever. After two years at Sabre, I left to join a start-up company called Commerce One. Over the next several years, Commerce One expanded rapidly, went public, and became one of the most influential builders of on-line marketplaces, also known as trade exchanges. Our software solutions linked buyers and suppliers into on-line trading communities so companies in the same industry could buy and sell supplies through one common hub. Between 2000 and 2001, Commerce One was one of the Internet's highest fliers.

As Internet companies started to collapse in 2001, Commerce One, unfortunately, also suffered, and by 2003 1 had survived more than eight rounds of layoffs. Eventually, I decided to leave the company and began working at BetweenMarkets, a young Austin-based company whose supply chain software let companies better manage their product distribution and fulfillment systems.

Working in this 30-person company, I was the sole liaison between customers and the company's technology development team. I also managed the software implementation for BetweenMarkets's first large corporate customer.

Then, on a hot summer day last June, I was driving to Dallas-Fort Worth to visit my family when a girlfriend called my mobile phone and told me she had heard auditions were being held in Dallas for a reality show called The Apprentice. I'd never heard of the show, and I rarely watched television, but the show's premise-Survivor for businesspeople-had my name all over it. The next thing I knew, I was living in a suite at Trump Tower with 15 strangers, and my life took an amazing professional turn. Thanks to Mark Burnett Productions and Donald Trump, I had a rare opportunity to showcase my business acumen and professional skills on a national platform. What It Takes is not about The Apprentice, but The Apprentice is all about What It Takes.

What It Takes

From my days managing multimillion-dollar software projects to selling $20 glasses of lemonade on The Apprentice, and from playing with boys on my block to working in male-dominated industries and offices, I have become convinced that the secret to moving up and getting what you want at work is not about being the smartest person or the hardest worker-it is about how well we communicate, whether we take on challenges and risks, and to what degree we take control over our own working lives. Women do not (yet) rule the business world, and we still have to fight if we want to play with those who do. It does not take a man or male traits to be successful in business-it takes a gutsy, confident, graceful woman who uses empowering strategies to move up at work.



Continues...


Excerpted from What It Takes by Amy Henry Copyright © 2005 by Amy Henry. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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