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Why You Didn't Get the JobTen Steps for Success In Business A Woman's Guide to Navigating Her Way to the Top
By Diane Cashin
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Diane Cashin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneStep 1: Who Am I and What Do I Want?
Individuals will follow strong leaders who: (1) know who they are, (2) know what they want, (3) know where they are going, and (4) know how to get there.
Who Am I?
In speaking with many women as an executive and life-transformation coach, I usually begin the conversation with "What do you want?" In almost every instance, women answer, "I'm not sure." As we begin exploring who they are, what they believe their purpose is, what they want to accomplish during their life's journey, what they love to do, and what they loathe doing, they begin to discover who they are and what they want.
This first step is intentional. Before you can ask anyone to help you achieve everything you want in your life, you need to know what you want. Before you can begin to know what you want, it's important to answer the question, "Who am I?"
Far too many women, especially those in the midst of raising children and being a wonderful wife, loving daughter, sister, and supportive friend while being an extraordinary businesswoman, have forgotten to include themselves in the priority list and need to get reacquainted with themselves. So before we can begin, let's explore "Who am I?" and "What do I want?"
Most of this book is focused on the business aspects of who you are and what you want. Before you create the course for your career, let's bring it back to a few fundamental questions about your life. Do you know the answers to these questions about yourself?
1. Who am I? Yes No
2. Why am I here? Yes No
3. What do I love and want more of in my life? Yes No
4. Am I happy with all aspects of my life? Yes No
Were you able to answer a resounding "Yes" to all four questions? Clarity around these four questions will lay a strong foundation that supports what you want in your life which will then align with your career plan. So before you can articulate what you want, let's take a moment to explore how you can answer these questions "Yes!" or make the course corrections to lay a strong foundation for what you want.
For those who wish to explore in detail who you are and what your purpose is, there is no shortage of tools to conduct a self-analysis. There are:
1. Myers-Briggs (I am an ENTJ.)
2. StrengthsFinders 2.0 (I am Individualization, Relator, Futuristic, Strategic & Competition)
3. Passion Profile (I am Builder, Transformer, and Altruist.)
4. You! Here's how to get to the nitty-gritty of who you are and why you are here.
Let's go with number 4. I want you to find your favorite quiet place—a beach, a mountaintop, your favorite chair or in your yard. Wherever it is, I want you to find a time where you can go there alone for a least one hour or as long as three hours, uninterrupted. If you like, you may take a notebook and pen but no phones or other distracting devices, with one exception— meditation music is allowed. No other music selections for this exercise please!
As you sit quietly and comfortably, I want you to inhale and exhale deeply ten times. For each inhale and exhale, I want you to say to yourself Who am I? As you relax, continue asking yourself this question until your mind quiets and you can only hear the sound of your breath and your internal voice asking this question. Look for answers to come from your heart rather than your mind. Pay attention to any responses you receive. When you feel completely relaxed, you can begin asking yourself any or all of the following questions:
1. Who am I?
2. Why am I here?
3. What is my purpose?
4. What makes me happiest?
5. What should I accomplished while I'm here (on earth)?
In the quiet moments, listen to your internal voice (spirit, essence, heart, soul, core, being, etc.) and you will have a different conversation and outcome than any test you could ever take!
In speaking with individuals who have received life-threatening news, I've found that they sit quietly and ask these very questions. Many vow to live their life from this place and not based on external influences from that point forward. You have the opportunity to learn from their experiences and begin creating the life you want—now. Do not skip this very important step. This is Your Life's True North, and your personal and professional plans will evolve from here. This clarity will be your compass and always guide you back when life's detours present themselves.
What Do I Want? My Life Priorities
Now that you have more clarity around who you are and why you are here, let's explore what you want to achieve in life by creating your "Life Priorities Map," which will bring into focus (1) what you love in your life and would like to have more of and (2) what you loathe in your life and would like to have less of. The obvious goal is to increase what you love in your life and reduce what you don't. As obvious as it may seem, many people are not living their lives from a place that brings them happiness, joy, and fulfillment. This is especially true in their professional life.
Having completed the Who Am I and My Life Priorities exercises, do you have a clearer picture of who you are and what you would like to see more of in your professional and personal life? Do you also see what you would like less of in your life? Do you see any patterns?
A successful IT consulting CEO shared with me that she just did not feel happy Or satisfied, even though everything she touched turned to gold. After exploring what she loved to do and what she did not enjoy doing, a pattern emerged: she loved children, she loved to write, and she loved to teach (in addition to being an executive). By looking at her life from a place of unlimited potential and unencumbered discovery about what gave her the most happiness, she has added writing children's books to her life's journey. This exercise allowed her to see her life holistically and blend her life priorities together creating an integrated life. Having clarity around who she is, what her life purpose and innate talents are, she could define what "having it all meant," based on her priorities and life aspirations. She no longer sees her life in siloed compartments but rather as "what she does" is an expression of "who she is" in all facets of her life. While this book is predominantly about business, you will read in Step 4: Put Yourself First; Not Last that you live an integrated life. As a result, you need to factor in how all the decisions you make in your business life affect your personal life and vice versa. Align the priorities in your life holistically first, and secondarily align your professional goals. Once you determine who you are and what you want in your integrated life, you will have more clarity and confidence to ask for what you need.
My Navigational Road Maps
Sharing what you want in your life creates an environment for others to support you and cheer you on both professionally and in your personal life. You have a fan club of family and friends who want to see you be successful. They want to see you live your dreams. You are not alone, so create an abundant life filled with endless possibilities! One of the tools you can use to capture very specific, measurable goals in support of being a great leader with an integrated life plan is the "Life Navigational Road Maps." You will notice that it begins with "self" followed by what you want in your relationships, career, and lifestyle. Create as many goals as you would like and explore all aspects of your life to create a wonderful, integrated personal and professional life with the support you need to achieve it! (These plans are in addition to your business plans, which should always be current and in alignment with your company, department and team's goals.)
What Do You Want? Your Life Navigational Road Maps
With more clarity around who you are, your life priorities and plans to achieve your aspirational goals with resources and a timeline, it is important to socialize your plans so others know what you would like to achieve and their role to help you achieve it.
How to Ask for What You Want
When asking for what you want in any of the categories above and especially in business, which is our focus, it is important to enroll the individual and their involvement in your success. It is helpful to create a story that helps them visualize what success looks like by sponsoring you for what you want. Do not take shortcuts in preparing for the meeting. If possible, be sure to articulate what is in it for them. Create a summary or bulleted list of topics that support the conversation flow, taking them on a journey so they can see the value in partnering with you to get what you want.
Let's use asking for a raise as an example. It's 2012 and there is a 23 percent disparity in salary between men and women doing the same jobs. That's $23 out of every $100 that women are missing—that's a lot of income you are not receiving over the course of your career! You can do the math on what this means to you personally and to your family. Given its importance, it is worth advocating for yourself to get a raise!
1. Do your homework and then prepare a compelling position as to why you deserve a raise. A few areas to consider:
a. revenue you have generated for the company
b. customer testimonials in support of your work
c. saving the company money
d. increasing operational efficiencies for the company
2. Shift from focusing on what you "need" to what you "deserve." If possible, research the salary potential for your position prior to the negotiation.
3. Ask for more than you believe you deserve and position your value and why you deserve it. It's a negotiation; so go a little higher in anticipation of give and take.
4. Focus only on the positives and what the possibility looks like in the future with you in the role.
5. Do not give ultimatums, but be prepared to leave the role or company if you feel you are being treated unfairly, and be confident in your ability to get the income you deserve.
Another example is negotiating your title. Don't let anyone tell you that the title doesn't matter! While there may be differences between a vice president in a large company and the vice president of a small company, the title of vice president holds merit and credibility. Large organizations tend to limit the number of executive titles offered, as there are perks, incentives, and approvals associated with these positions. There is a fascinating psychological dynamic that occurs in large organizations where first- and second-level managers are generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the company, and yet they are limited to the title of manager or director. These managers and directors are equivalent to the CEO of a smaller company, and yet their title is limiting. For these individuals, their title keeps them trapped when they want to jump to another organization. It is difficult to jump to a vice-president-level position from a manager title even if you have extensive qualifications. The title creates the perception that they are not a player. It may not be true, but that is the perception. Negotiating your title establishes a degree of credibility and status and provides you with access to individuals of similar credentials. There will be times when you'll jump for salary, and there'll be times you'll jump for title. Do not let anyone make you feel ashamed that you want the title. Establish the reasons why you deserve it and negotiate it.
Enrolling others into your success requires you to know what you want and articulate their role in helping you achieve it. Focus on the business outcomes and opportunity that will be generated, and share your professional aspirations and your personal life goals with others. Ask them for their feedback, mentorship, and most importantly, sponsorship to ensure your success. Always be prepared to ask for what you want, and be prepared to course-correct when unexpected roadblocks occur. Every detour presents you with another opportunity to ask yourself, What do I want? and create the plan to go get it!
On your journey, you will be placed in many situations where important decisions need to be made. Women tend to overanalyze the situation and data before making decisions. This slows women down and blocks them from getting what they want in business, their career goals and in their personal life.
The founder of Women Unlimited, Jean Otte, shared during one of her leadership sessions that when she interviews senior executives of corporations, they share that the most important area of development needed for women to join the senior leadership team is to be more decisive in their decision making and have confidence in their decision-making skills. General Colin Powell's formula for decision making is: "Part I: Use the formula P=40 to 70, where P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Part II: Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut."
Many women share that their strategy has been to gather as much data as possible and conduct a thorough and complete analysis before making a recommendation or asking for what they want. As I explore why this is a consistent pattern with women, many look back to their early days of education and their desire to get the "A" and receive acknowledgement and recognition for doing a great job. Pavlovian behavior instilled in them that if they worked hard and studied more, they would be successful. Those skills, which served girls well in their educational journey, would prove to be a barrier to women and their success in business. At the root cause of this "analysis paralysis" is fear. Many women use the analysis of data as a shield, protecting them from questions they may receive from other leaders or their peers. Women over prepare to address their fear of not having an answer to a question they might receive. Women invest a great deal of time and energy overanalyzing data to proactively prepare for anything that may come their way.
Women find it uncomfortable to be responsible for an initiative or project and not be prepared to get an "A." This learned behavior is holding women back. Women need to get comfortable with not having all the answers to every question. When you need to buy some time, you can graciously respond with "That is a good question. Let me reflect on that or investigate that and I'll follow up with you." This response demonstrates business confidence and removes the fear of failure or fear of judgment. Ultimately, women who try too hard to have all the answers by studying all the data project their fear to their audience and leaders, and it shows. Unfortunately, this adds time to the project, increases your stress level, and sets you up for disappointment when the receiver does not value the extra effort you put in to the project. This often results in a feeling of being unappreciated and without the recognition you had hoped for a job well done. This is a consistent challenge for women, and it is holding them back. Going forward, take the time to speak with your leaders about what they require in the final deliverable and provide that to them. Don't overdo it. If they do not want or need it, you are not going to get acknowledged for it, and it's creating more work for you, do not do it! By having a conversation with them and creating a deliverable based on what they need, you will get back valuable time and have less stress in your life. Make sure you understand the priority of the project and the deliverable that is expected. This will create alignment between you and your leadership, so resist the temptation to get an "A" if it's not required for this deliverable!
In the current fast-paced speed of global business, waiting too long to make a decision in the senior ranks is detrimental to the viability and growth of today's largest corporations. Today's leaders are expected to leverage their teams, gather the data, ask critical questions, and make an informed decision with approximately 40 percent to 70 percent of the data. It requires courage; it requires an educated degree of risk taking and the ability to adapt quickly with a contingent plan. In order to articulate what you want, gather the data without over analysis and make the request from a confident place knowing that you always have a contingency plan. Successful leaders who make it to the top possess the ability to gather an appropriate amount of data and make a decision.
Excerpted from Why You Didn't Get the Job by Diane Cashin Copyright © 2012 by Diane Cashin. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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