For those of you who have been following this newsletter for some time, you know that August is my month for renewal. I try to “practice what I preach” and in so doing, I have to be vigilant about what keeps me energized, centered and fulfilled in life. This summer I caught myself having drifted downward into excessive stress. It sneaks up on us without notice, until we get a wake up call.
When I realized I was off center, I went to work. Last month I attended more yoga classes, created more disciplined morning quiet time, and focused on intentional connection with the people close to me. Learning new skills and gaining new perspectives stimulate me personally and professionally. I spent a week at a class for advanced degree professionals in the coaching business. I attended a leadership seminar to inspire and renew me spiritually and emotionally. By the end of August I was back on track and fully energized.
We can unknowingly lose perspective in our lives and careers. We must be vigilant in taking actions that move us forward and keep us centered.
Are you off center? To keep your career moving forward and your life “on center” consider registering for one of the upcoming modules to Create Your Career Opportunities. Each module hones a skill specifically targeted for women and includes a one on one coaching session. The first module, Build Your Career Foundation, is being offered for a limited time at less than the cost of a coaching session. Click here for more info.
Career Management: Politics or Strategy?
Many of you have been going through reorganizations, staff reductions, mergers and general uncertainty in your jobs. There’s been a lot of conversation about how to survive turbulent times. It reminded me of two dichotomous examples of responses to job disruption. We can learn from each person’s story.
The Expert Behind the Scenes
The first person, I’ll call her Jane, was known as the expert in her job. Her company was going through a reorganization and reassigning people to jobs. She felt very confident that she would remain in her job. It was obvious, right? She was well known as a strong performer, she had more knowledge than anyone else and she worked hard. Feeling confident about having the facts on her side, she kept her head down and continued working hard through the decision process.
However, someone else wanted Jane’s job. I’ll call him John. John had no experience in this area, but saw the job as a good development role. He proactively met with decision makers and influencers to let them know of his interest, showcase his strengths and be visible.
John got the job. Jane ended up leaving the company.
The Flip Side: Strategic, Intentional and Visible
The second example is a woman I’ll call Brenda. Brenda’s company was going through staff reductions and in doing so making decisions on who should be in which jobs, with there being fewer “chairs” to sit in once the process was finished.
Like Jane, Brenda was also well regarded and well known for her expertise.
Like everyone potentially affected, Brenda had some nervousness about the process. There were a lot of strong candidates in her department. Brenda decided to be proactive. She made it a point to gather information about the decision process. She sought out feedback on her strengths and where others thought she would be a good fit. She spent time considering what she wanted for herself and her next assignment and then conveyed that to her network of advocates and potential decision makers. She surrounded herself with a support network outside of work to keep her centered through this anxiety-filled situation.
In short, she managed herself and the job process intentionally and strategically. She stayed visible and front of mind with decision makers.
Brenda got the job she wanted.
Is It Politics?
I often hear women speak with disdain about corporate “politics”. To dismiss decisions we don’t like as “politics” does not serve us well. Instead, let’s learn to take strategic action to understand and manage the decisions that affect us.
The actions taken by John and Brenda provided information to those in decision making positions. Yes, sometimes likeability, personal commonalities and other relationship characteristics will factor into decisions. But managers are trying to make the best decisions they can. If you don’t provide them with information, they’ll rely on what they know about you or they’ll make up their own story. Even worse, they may forget about you.
We need to know what we want for ourselves. When we know what we want for our career, what is important to us or what development opportunities we’d like to have, we can position ourselves accordingly. We can then speak with authenticity and enthusiasm.
Be strategic and intentional in managing your career. You’re providing information for your company and empowerment for you.
For more development opportunities to help you manage yourself and your career, click here or contact Susan.
August 26th was Women’s Equality Day. Read this article from the National Women’s History Museum for a brief history lesson on women’s suffrage and the journey towards equality. Don’t miss the slogan “We won’t bear any more bull”. Clever.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by McChesney, Covey and Huling
I recently saw one of the co-authors speak at a conference and was inspired to introduce some of the principles of this book. I particularly liked the guidance on how to focus the number of goals so that they can be achieved in the “whirlwind of the day job”.
40+ Interview Tips by Ross O’Donovan
This article comes from a website focused on internships, but since so many are going through interviews these days, these are relevant points to keep in mind. If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, some of these will seem obvious, but keep scrolling down…there are some points especially relevant to women (Emphasize your good points and embrace the nervousness were two I liked).
Susan Hodge created Women Leading Together in order to provide seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling careers. Visit our website at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com.