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What Political Doors Are You Opening For Your Career Future?

What’s a savvy woman to do? Just when you’re on a roll, your company acquires another business. Or it is purchased by a larger corporation. Or the notice of a massive reorganization hits you out of the blue. Those you’ve built relationships with through the years are no longer employed or are reassigned. Managers are so overwhelmed with their volume of work they give short shrift to developing an employee’s career future—even someone as stellar as you.

Today’s disruptive environment has you feeling as though your professional center of gravity has disappeared making it difficult to move your career forward with intention and purpose.

Perhaps you can relate to this one real-life account.

Cynthia survived yet another realignment of upper management and the restructuring of her division. In the eyes of the organization, she is a vital producer, which is why she’s still employed while many others aren’t.

The question she asked was: “How do I get promoted out of the muck of mid-management? My approach certainly isn’t working because they brought in an external hire to assume a role that I’ve been working toward for years. It doesn’t seem as though the door will ever open for a bigger, brighter career future for me.”

I asked who she knows up her divisional ladder. It turns out nobody—not even the head of her division remains! She no longer has relationships with the movers-and-shakers instrumental in promotions rather her connections are with other productive work-a-bees who aren’t big influencers for advancement!

For Cynthia to receive a promotion anytime soon, she has to start from scratch—a gloomy yet essential proposition. You see it’s next to impossible to garner the juicy assignments when not one of the senior level decision-makers is aware of your contributions.

Cynthia shared: “But my boss is protective of his position and isn’t keen on anyone connecting above his head.”

My response: “Create chance encounters by bumping into high-level executives in the hallway, or the elevator, or the cafeteria, or the parking lot, or at non-profit events they support. You’ve got to generate interactions because strategic relationships are the difference between being stuck or advancing, and no one has the time or often the inclination to open doors for you.

Her comeback: “But I’ll be seen as a “b r _ _w n-n _ _s e r!”

I requested she closed her eyes for a moment to imagine she is the manager, and one of her staff jumped the chain of command to speak to her boss directly—and even water-dropped an idea. Would you like it better if your employee:

(a) Doesn’t notify you, but you hear about the incident directly from your boss,

(b) Merely communicated your boss is interested in moving forward with a concept they’d proposed, or

(c) Shared they had bragged (be specific) about you then mentioned a new concept your boss is interested in pursuing?

Cynthia got it. Her relationship building definition is a barrier to her prospects. Does this have you rethinking the disparaging synonyms you may use to describe networking with senior levels of your organization? This lack of political awareness may just be the reason your business card isn’t reading, “Senior Leader.” Are you ready to start opening doors for your career future?

 

If you found value in this blog, check out Women’s Rules of Engagement. This online master program is specifically designed for women to propel your career forward, garner influence, boost your recognition in the organization, and achieve greater financial success. YES, you’ve read that right. If you’re interested in learning more about this program, click here.

Breathe… You Already Are. You Don’t Have to Prove Yourself!

As a strategic coach, I am involved in the ups-and-downs as well as the in-betweens of an executive’s career. In the midst of rough spots, a common tendency in women is to beat themselves up as they question their ability, all while working harder and putting in more hours to be recognized as valuable.

In such circumstance, rarely, do you see women confidently standing on the firm foundation of “who they are” and “what they bring to the table.” Facing the same challenging situation, a man will shrug it off thinking: This isn’t on me; it could have happened to anyone. Or it’s not that big a deal. Understand I don’t want you ever to become a man; however, I do want you to recognize where you may be collapsing your career without realizing it.

Why is confidence such a crucial factor? It is your self-assurance that has others trusting in you and judging you as the high-performing employee you are. A study by Ohio State University explains the level of self-confidence an individual has positively influenced their career trajectory. This research reveals the reality that is success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with your competency.

Perhaps you think to yourself. “Some people are born confident just not me.” There’s no such gene! The truth is self-assurance is a skill that develops through time, awareness, practice and then, it is fortified from within.

When I ask clients: “What came first your confidence or your success? Everyone responds, Confidence. How would you answer?

If you allow circumstances to determine your worthiness, your confidence is standing on a faulty foundation. Since self-belief is integral for a long-lasting, growing career; and it can be acquired, how do you build it.

  • Know Who You Are: Dig into your experience and remember all the victories along the way that have made you a powerhouse. Remind yourself; you are unique, created to fulfill a purpose no one else can. You do a disservice to yourself and your company when you collapse rather than remain confident in your abilities.
  • Practice Being Temperate: Women often are the harshest critics of their achievements. Stop measuring yourself based on perfection, and instead embrace yourself for all your know-how.
  • Solidify the Experience:
    • Celebrate Your Achievements: Yes! Giving a shout out to yourself in the midst of a triumphant moment deeply embeds your successes in your subconscious. This memory builds a reserve of positive emotional energy for you to tap into when facing uncomfortable times.
    • Keep a Folder: In the avalanche of work, it’s easy to lose your identity. So, keep a file on all your wins and triumphs. During performance downtimes, you can remind yourself how valuable you are to the organization. It’s also handy for completing a performance evaluation that includes all your exceptional undertakings for the year!

When things go awry, breathe and interpret the challenge as an “expansion moment” rather than a “failure moment.” The reality is you already are a talented woman. You don’t have to prove yourself. Simply be confident in the difference you make, and will continue to make as you tap into your exceptional abilities—ones your company needs.

If you found value in this blog, check out Women’s Rules of Engagement. This online program is specifically designed for women to propel your career forward, garner influence, boost your recognition in the organization, and achieve greater financial success. YES, you’ve read that right. If you’re interested in learning more about this program, click here.

As a Remote Employee Do You Feel Lost in the Wilderness?

Contentiousness over remote employees has been a frustrating issue between companies and their works for years. And it is only growing as the 2016 Gallup State of the American Workforce reports 43 percent of a company’s employees are now working remotely.

Businesses run the gamut in this matter. Some organizations tacitly accept remote employees. Still, others have an employee population made up almost entirely of a virtual workforce. On the other hand, there are structured organizations committed to a hierarchical culture that often judges remote employees as a less crucial facet of their population.

One coaching client shared management’s response to promoting a virtual staffer: Remote employees aren’t qualified to be on-track for future advancement. My client’s exasperated response was: These are high performers who choose not to work onsite yet still want to grow their career. I don’t imagine they’ll stay once they find a company who has a more contemporary viewpoint.

Research verifies the concern as, 51 percent of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37 percent would switch to a job that allows them to work offsite at least part of the time. These statistics are particularly troubling as retention is a top priority for organizations with the latest Mercer’s Global Talent Study revealing 9 out of 10 organizations anticipate that the competition for skilled labor will increase.

What’s a remote employee to do?

  • Know Your Worth: Human capital is an organization’s most valued asset and leverage for sustained profitability. Appreciate your value and stand powerfully on that identity.
  • Make It Your Business To Be Known: If your company’s views are archaic, you can change their mind. Expand your relationship building to include a much more expansive network.
    • Connect with executives in the organization, so they know you—your gifts, talents, expertise and hopes. Chose not to remain a shadow employee in the boondocks. Make it your mission that your name comes to mind when opportunities arise.
    • Understand the dynamics of your business then use your expertise to add ongoing value to the organization.
    • Every time you resolve a knotty project that creates a win for your company record it, file it and share it with others. Strategically water-drop these profit-makers throughout your network with confidence.
  • Communicate—Communicate—Communicate: In the absence of the “everyday walkabout” or “visiting workstation” relationship building, proactive communication is even more critical for your career future. Don’t allow yourself to wither in the wilderness. You’ve chosen to work offsite. Broaden your mental muscle as you up-the-ante on your communication presence with the leaders of your company, managers, customers, and peers.
  • Help Others Embrace Your Ambition: As an offsite employee, name your “future big-picture.” Ideally, your manager is already pitching your value to the company’s movers-and-shakers (because you requested the public relations effort), but in our chaotic world, the ideal is often not the reality. So, be prepared to ask for assignments that are broader in scope, enhance your career arsenal, and help take you to the finish line of your career dreams.

You do a disservice not only to your career, but to your company by not stepping out of the wilderness into the spotlight of your future.

Relationships – #1 Priority Professionally and Personally

Love This Thought Provoking Comment

Executive WomenLove this response that came in from an executive who attended one of my women’s leadership programs. She wanted to contribute to the launching of Women’s Rules of Engagement Master Online Professional Program through her personal observation though she did ask that I not reveal her name should I use her comment.

So, Anonymous, I am honored you stuck your neck out to assist others to move through a limiting mental block you experienced.

“Nancy, I attended one of your women’s leadership programs. First, I want you to know that I was resistant to signing up for a ‘women’s only’ program because I didn’t want to be in separate training from the men in my organization. I even thought it might be damaging to my career. After all, I’m competing against male peers for promotion. The only reason I signed up was a senior woman I admired in the organization highly recommended it. I couldn’t figure out how to get out of attending without alienating her… though I managed to hold her off for at least a year because I was ‘just too busy.’ Wow, did I need the shaking-up you provided regarding that kind of thinking!

Secondly, I want you to know signing up was the best decision of my career. Looking back, I can’t believe how I slowed down my career progress by not attending sooner!  Nancy, I can’t thank you enough for where I am today in my career. It would never have happened had you not introduced success approaches that have me competing as a woman and winning.” Anonymous

Why should women executives take a program exclusively for women?
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