Retaining Women Leaders

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

We’ve been writing and sharing data that continuously supports that when organizations have more women in senior leadership positions and on corporate boards, performance increases.  Yet, as organizations are initiating women’s groups, diversity officers, and inclusion initiatives, the numbers of women at the top continue to stagnate.  In my research for our new book, ONE:  How Men Partner with Women for Gender Equality, I found that strong women leaders often have access to sponsors and mentors, and many of them are men.  These women leaders believe strongly in the purpose of their work, and the positive impact it has.  We also found another pillar focused on coaching.  Managers of strong women leaders coach them, provide real-time feedback and help her be her best possible self.  They do not solve her problem for her, they help her self-discover her own plan forward.

To increase gender equality at the highest levels of organizations, we must engage women in other ways.  In this post, you will learn proven strategies from our research that outlines these three pillars.  To retain top female talent, leaders focus on:

  • Improving access to sponsors and mentors
  • Aligning their value and purpose with their work
  • Coaching women to success

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Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part Two

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our last blog post, we shared the story of Ashli and her pivotal journey asking for what she wanted.  This post features Carrie, and this story brings tears to my eyes every time I share it.  It is another great example that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

Similar to Ashli’s story from last time, Carrie was also at a cross roads personally and professionally.  She took time to reflect on her true passions and purpose and renewed a love of running marathons.  Once she knew what she wanted, she prioritized her passion.  Here’s Carrie’s story…

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Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part One

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our next two blog posts, I wanted to share everyday stories of women doing remarkable things.  When these women shared these stories, it brought tears to my eyes.  They are great examples that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

In this story, Ashli took a risk and asked for what she wanted.  Through our discussions, she took time to reflect on key questions:

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for? (skill)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at? (skill)
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life? (skill/will)

Once she knew what she wanted, she was more confident in asking for it.  Here’s Ashli’s story…

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What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting my Own Business

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | 2 Comments

As my two-year anniversary of starting my own business passed, I took some time to reflect on what I learned.  Having done the b-school thing, and the corporate gigs in a variety of industries and functional areas, the last two years have far surpassed any learning in the classroom or on the job.Being your own boss is hard.  Giving yourself a day off, or a weekend for that matter, is a challenge.  Dealing with the major swings in demand and revenue can be frustrating.  Yet, I would not trade this experience for the world.  It’s taught my daughters that women can do it anything they truly set their minds too, it’s made my relationship with my husband stronger (we now work together), share my passion with my family (my niece also supports the business), and it has helped me fuel my real calling for women’s leadership.

I get to go to work now, I no longer have to go.

I meet countless people that think that they want to start their own businesses, and they often believe it is not possible.  If you are one of those people with a great idea, but lacking the courage to make it happen, then this blog is for you.  The frequently asked questions here are a culmination of what I am asked most often in one-on-one discussions with clients and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Women’s Wellness Strategies

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Confidence, Leadership, Pivot Point, Training | No Comments

At Pivot Point, we believe that wellness is defined as our ability to make conscious choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.  Based on our research with every day women leaders and women in business, we have summarized our findings for women looking for ideas for their own personal wellness plans.

After copious research, and dozens of workshops with women leaders focused on their personal wellness, we believe that there are three key areas to improving your personal wellness plan, and it all starts with your purpose.  First, start with:

1) Knowing your why (and saying no to things not aligned with your why)

2) Then, giving to others through compassion (giving to give)

3) Followed by, prioritizing sleep (yes, sleep)

Let’s start with your WHY by asking yourself these questions…

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days?
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at?
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life?

You may be asking, what does this have to do with wellness?  I have found in my work with women, that our choices must be aligned with our personal wellness.  We cannot be happy if we are busy trying to make everyone else happy around us.

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The Career Calculator to Landing Your Dream Job

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Goal Setting, Pivot Point | One Comment

Often I am asked, “How do I know what I want to do next?”

To which I respond, “Only you truly know.”

I know, it sounds like a cop out.  Yet, I really believe that we have the answers inside ourselves far more often than we think we do.  As a coach, speaker, and student of women’s leadership, I feel very compassionate about helping women find their calling.  And, often their current gig is not getting it done.  We tend to accept the dull reality of our current job or workplace, and not question why we dread going to work.

Since writing Pivot Point, we have researched additional resources and tools with amazing women leaders.  While the key principles still apply – being authentic, expressing confidence, building a winning career game plan, connecting with purpose, asking for it, and leading with influence – we now offer three simple steps to get to “what’s next” more quickly.  We call this our Pivot Point Career Calculator based on these essential steps:

  1. Know your skills and wills (the things you are good at and the things you love)
  2. Find the intersection of the skills and wills to craft your ideal job description
  3. Map your resume to your ideal job description

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How to Set Goals for 2017, Rather than New Year’s Resolutions

By | Career Game Plan, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

We’re near the end of 2016, and you know what that means, time for our new year’s resolutions.  Realizing I am a couple of weeks early to the party, it is unlikely that you have yours yet.  And, I encourage you NOT to make them this year.  Yes, you heard me.  Hold off.  Rather than resolutions this year, set goals instead.

Here’s why.  Resolutions rarely stick.  They are aspiration, and rarely rooted in reality.  Often, this leads us to lack commitment and follow through on them.  In fact, according to Forbes, only 8% of people accomplish their new year’s resolutions.  By contrast, setting SMART goals, has a much higher chance of success.  According to my research for Pivot Point, I found that having goals and a plan contributes to an 80% higher success rate.

So, how do you know what your goals are?

Over the holidays, I recommend you noodle on your goals, asking yourself:

  • What is that I am so excited about, that when I am doing it, I forget to go to the bathroom?
  • What is ONE thing I could do to make a positive impact in my life?
  • What is something that my friends, peers, family always say I should do, but I choose not to?

So, how might we turn these wants into goals?

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How to Lead with Influence

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Leadership, Pivot Point | One Comment

Leading with power is outdated.  The old mantra, “tell them what to do,” and “put your head down and work,” is just not all that inspiring anymore, if it ever was.  As the workforce shifts, and millennials become the overwhelming 75% majority by 2025, they are changing the way we look at leaders.  Rather than looking up to them, and following quietly behind them, this generation is asking to be heard, and are willing to go above and beyond when a leader aligns their work with their natural talents and motivations.  Work with purpose is not just a nice to have anymore, employees are demanding it.  Otherwise, they fall into the 70% of our workforce that is not engaged, and they usually choose to change jobs as result.  At a minimum, less engaged employees are just not as productive, produce far more quality errors, and have more safety incidents.  All of which cost our economy a staggering estimated $400B annually.

So, what does it take to lead with influence?

Tell stories

Leaders that engage their team with “I remember a time when…” or “That reminds me of a situation when a team member…” to share their experiences are far more successful.  Stories give our audience context.  Plus, stories stick in our minds 20x more than just mere facts and figures.  Our brains are wired to connect stories with our own experiences, and the brain files it away in an area that is easier to recall later.  When a similar situation or person surfaces later in our lives, we recall the story, and can more easily apply lessons learned.

So how do you tell a good story?

It’s a simple recipe. The open, climax, and close matter.  Remember 8th grade English class?  The typical story starts of setting the scene with some imagery and character development, then builds up to a climax where the characters transform, or the situation changes, and then there is a resolution that wraps up the story in a nice bow.  A good resolution contains some lessons learned and tips for situations like this in the future.

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How to Ask for What You Want

By | Career Game Plan, Communication, Confidence, Leadership, Positive Thinking | One Comment

My college English composition teacher, Dr. Denny, was one of my favorite teachers of all time.  He was in his late 30’s, wore bow-ties and acetic sports coats, and said exactly what he thought.  Our class was 7:30am Monday mornings.  Instead of dreading the early morning hike across campus, I looked forward to it.  As a strong writer, I could have believed that I would breeze through his class just as I did virtually all my high school English classes.  Instead, I chose to let myself be challenged by him.  He made a profound difference in my life and my ability to communicate with intention.

One of the most impactful tools he taught us was how to write a good argument.  The recipe went something like this – claim, evidence, resolution:

  • The claim was essentially our point of view – more than just a mere fact – it was an insight into what we thought a set of facts or data points meant
  • The evidence was the fact, data, or quote that illustrated the claim – it logically conveyed that the claim was indeed true – the proof
  • The resolution tied it all together in a nice package – telling the audience that I told you so – reiterating the claim had been proven

I remember learning so much that quarter about how to write persuasively.  And, an even bigger life lesson – have a clear purpose every time you communicate.  As humans, we do things for a reason.  We have a purpose, and being clear about that purpose when we communicate separates us from others.  The application of Dr. Denny’s communication framework – claim, evidence, resolution – transcends far beyond a college essay – I have used this structure throughout my career.

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How to Increase Your Chances of Career Success by 80%

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Pivot Point, Training | One Comment

The Facts

In my primary and secondary research for Pivot Point, I learned that when you have a plan, your chances of achieving career success is 80% higher.  I scoured the country interviewing dozens of leaders in various industries, functional areas, and stages of career, and I found one common ingredient to career success – a plan.  From these interviews, I learned that knowing what you want, and having a plan to get there is pivotal.  Whether it’s taking your career to an even higher level, pivoting industries or functional areas, or advancing to a leadership role, high potential leaders in transition wrestle with having a solid game plan to take their careers to the next level.

I just cannot handle having problems without a solution, so through a lot of collaboration with these leaders, I developed and tested a concept:  The Career Game Plan.  It is a simple four-step process.  It is unique to you, and defines what success looks like.  It fits on one-page and is easily shared with your managers, mentors, and coaches.  It paints the picture of what good looks like, with a clear road map to get there.  First, you must be able to articulate what you want, and what you are uniquely skilled to do – your purpose statement.  Then, you build the goals to support your purpose coming to fruition.  Finally, you brainstorm the competencies and action steps to achieve your goals.

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