Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TCM: It's Not A Glass Ceiling... It's a Sticky Floor

Attended a great seminar this morning from the Tech Council of Maryland. (Wish I could have twittered about it, but with an attendance of only 30 -- the event was purposely kept to a small number -- I felt my typing away while the speaker was presenting might be distracting. Which is an interesting question for later discussion...) Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The speaker, Rebecca Shambaugh, is President and CEO of Shambaugh Leadership and author of a book by the same title as the seminar.

Lots of interesting things to write about, but I think I'll focus on what she calls the 7 "sticky floors" for women:

Managing Work/Life Balance, or what Becky would prefer to call "Work/Life Integration."
-- Know what is good enough. (You can't be at 180% in everything you do all the time. More on this point later.)
-- Set your top 2-3 priorities. How do the items on your to-do list feed into those priorities. (I admit. I'm not good at this last point. I feel the need to do everything on my to-do list whether they feed into my larger priorities or not. I need to work on that.)

Driving for Perfectionism
-- You don't have to get an "A" at everything you do.
-- Your employer is paying you for your strengths, not to be perfect.
-- Seek feedback from your boss, customers, clients, etc., as to how they define success and calibrate your performance standards to match.

Building Your Strategic Network
-- Create your own personal "Board of Directors" made up of people you know, people you trust, people who will challenge and test you, people who you can learn from... (I love this suggestion. I've already started thinking about who would be mine.)
-- People get business done through people, not organizations. (Another critical point.)
-- Be a value to others. Your network needs to be what you can provide to people as well as what they can provide to you.
-- Remember 6 Degrees of Separation. The person sitting next to you on the plane or on the treadmill next to yours at the gym may become an important business contact down the road.

Making Your Words Count
-- As communicators, we love this point. And these bullets may be preaching to the choir...
-- More than 80% of day-to-day life is spent communicating, and 60% of that communication is misunderstood and requires repair work. (If only more of our non-PR/Comms colleagues would come to us for guidance...)
-- Sometimes less is more. Give the bottom line up front, then support with details. (An important lesson in pitching story ideas to the media.)
-- Know your audience. Choose the right (relevant) data to make them believers.
-- Be aware of non-verbals.

Staying In One Place Too Long -- The Loyalty Factor
-- Know when it's the right time to stay somewhere and when it's the right time to leave.
-- Ask yourself: "What is the worst that could happen?"
-- Be willing to take a job for which you feel underqualified and then work like crazy to figure it out.

Asking For What You Want

-- Know what you want and what you're entitled to and ask for it.
(Apparently this is a common challenge for women. I'm one of the few that can say it isn't. I guess I was unusually bold in the early stages of my career, thanks in part to my unofficial "career counselor," my father. At my first job out of college, after a year I wrote a memo about why I deserved a raise and started the conversation. And got the raise. And at my second job, I found out that someone they fired was making significantly more than me prior to being fired. All her work had been given to me and I was told that the client was thrilled with the work product. I used the opportunity to write a memo about why I deserved a raise. The boss, a woman, apparently was angry I had the guts to do so after only being there a few months. Regardless, I got the raise.)

Capitalizing on Your Political Savvy
-- Understand organization dynamics and how decisions get made.

You can read more about Becky's Sticky Floors and other advice at her blog.

-- Robin

1 comment:

Denise Graveline said...

Re: women and negotiating, including raises, see my post on The Eloquent Woman: http://eloquentwoman.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-women-size-up-audiences.html -- it is sticky, particularly when you face another woman over the negotiating table. Nice post, Robin!