Posts Tagged ‘behaviors’


Taking Control of Your Career: 7 Tips From ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’ Applicable to All Genders

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

by Deborah Gilbert-Rogers*

books_office

As the New Year progresses, I find myself drawn to reading a number of professional coaching, personal finance, marketing and sales books. Being a bit of a book junkie and wanting to reduce clutter, I now download samples to the Kindle app on my smart phone before purchasing a physical copy. (This is one millennial who won’t give up her physical books.)

One sample captured my attention recently, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, to such the extent that I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book right then and there! Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, part of Dr. Lois P. Frankel’s  Nice Girls series, examines the unconscious messages women are taught in girlhood – which may or may not be helpful – that are then continued in womanhood and how these behaviors and messages influence a woman’s ability to progress in her career (as well as other areas of her life).

For Frankel the emphasis is on the word “girl” not on “nice.” Dr. Frankel is the first to point out these learned behaviors are not exclusive to women and that men experience their own set of messages in boyhood that affect them in manhood. However, our culture has an insidious way of encouraging woman to continue girlhood messages and behaviors in ways that differ from men.

Here are some of the “mistakes” I think relate to most business and PR professionals, regardless of gender, and tips for taking charge of your career.

1. Not Understanding the Needs of Your Constituents: Whether it’s our client, CEO, stakeholder, customer or target audience – we all have people that we serve. It is imperative to know what they need and want. Otherwise we risk missing an opportunity by not providing value. “The trap many women fall into is thinking they know what’s best for their constituents and therefore not asking the right questions on the front end,” writes Frankel. One way Frankel suggests to overcome this behavior is to “be more concerned with doing the right thing than doing things right.” In other words, don’t be afraid to shift perspectives as new data emerge and as change is warranted.

2. Skipping Meetings: Attending meetings is just as much about personal branding and marketing as it is about the content explains Frankel. She suggests, “Using meetings as an opportunity to showcase a particular skill or piece of knowledge (provided it’s not note taking or coffee making.)”  Additionally, “Ask to be invited to a meeting where you’ll have the chance to meet senior management or make a presentation about something for which you need support.”

3. Ignoring the Importance of Network Relationships: Years ago people believed that showing-up for work and doing a good job would be enough to protect their careers, explains Frankel. Unfortunately many still buy into this belief today and have been taught that building relationships at work wastes time and distracts from the job at hand. Frankel suggests actively participating in a professional association and developing relationships before they are needed. If you wait until you need the relationship, it is too late.  

4. Making Up Negative Stories: As PR and communications professionals we understand the importance of storytelling and the power it has to influence audience perception and behavior. However, as women we have a habit of creating negative stories and assuming we’ve done something wrong in order to explain a mistake or why something didn’t go as planned, addresses Frankel. In the workplace, this negatively affects our ability to take positive risks and trust our intuition. Frank suggestions beginning to “replace negative stories with neutral ones” and to look at “alternative scenarios that could explain what has happened that have nothing to do with you doing something wrong.”

5. Failing to Define Your Brand: Just like corporate branding and marketing, personal branding involves defining the value you bring to the table and how you stand apart from the competition. Frankel advises coming up with three to five things you enjoy most about your position as a way to start defining your personal brand. The reason? “We tend to be good at what we like,” notes Frankel. Then relate these strengths to your position and what you bring to it. Having these statements in place will help set you apart from the competition, whether that is within the organization or externally when delivering a proposal to a client or prospect.

6. The Inability to Speak the Language of Your Business: While there are times when it is best to avoid jargon, you must still be able to use the language of the entire business. “Influence comes from knowing the business, and one of the best ways you can exercise your influence is to use language unique to your industry and profession,” writes Frankel. Beyond your area of expertise and department, familiarize yourself with the ROI, bottom line, and other performance indicators of your corporation or client. BurrellesLuce offers a great newsletter on Finance for Communicators which is available in our free resource center.

7. Using Gestures Inconsistent with Your Message: Presentation is everything. Your “gestures should be integrated with your energy,” remarks Frankel. Don’t be afraid to take up space – a behavior that runs counter to what many women have been taught. Frankel suggests “allowing gestures to flow naturally from your spoken message” and to “match your gestures to the size of your audience.”

What professional books have you read lately that you’ve found helpful? Share your recommendations here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

***

Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007.  As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers

IF AN EMPLOYEE SPEAKS UP IN THE FOREST…

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

We’re all familiar with the old brain-teaser: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

A question that’s much easier to answer – and more relevant to effective leadership practices – is: “If an employee offers an idea, and no one pays attention, does the employee stop participating?”

In most cases, the answer is a definite yes. Ignore a staffer’s input, and he or she will feel put out, turned off, alienated, and discouraged from offering suggestions in the future.

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest challenges to leadership today – perhaps the biggest – is that of employee disengagement…staff membersAlan Cohen, Acts of Balance Executive Coaching feeling they are not being heard, a feeling they translate into not being valued and ultimately not part of the creative team. So they tune out and stifle themselves from offering potentially valuable contributions in the future.

It’s not much different from the man who complains to his psychiatrist, “Doctor, everyone ignores me.”

The doctor responds: “Next.”

The opposite side of the disengagement coin is that, at some of the nation’s most successful public relations firms, employees at all levels are inspired to present ideas, no matter how far out of the proverbial box, and encouraged to question ideas of top management. And their challenges of these ideas are not only tolerated but even applauded.

When I was publicity director of the Scholastic team spearheading the publicity campaign for the Harry Potter book series, we all knew our mission and were committed to it. But at the same time, we welcomed the questions from everyone on the team, even when they reflected healthy skepticism.

Like the best elements of brainstorming, everyone was encouraged to present free-flowing ideas, confident there’d be no snap judgment articulated, no scoffing or rolling eyes or turned-up noses. Everyone’s idea was listened to, encouraged, and amplified. And as a result, we were all strengthened with everyone feeling he or she had shared in moving the team and its mission forward.

Some team leaders need to remember that it doesn’t diminish the boss’s luster to have an idea from a lower-level employee implemented. In fact, it rebounds favorably. Part of leadership is identifying and implementing good ideas, whatever or whoever the source.

An employee’s willingness to present possibly controversial ideas or to challenge those of higher-ups emerges only in a company culture that encourages it. That culture develops only when the leader is willing to identify employees’ hidden assets and potential and helps develop those qualities. The results: greater individual contribution and professional growth.

Leaders who understand this welcome employees who think differently from themselves. Rather than clone themselves, they don’t limit those they hire to “yes-men or -women.” Rather, they seek out even “no-people,” individuals who aren’t negative for the sake of it, but rather who aren’t intimidated about pointing out flaws in the boss’s thinking or who will sometimes take a contrary position, a la devil’s advocate.

A good balance to strive for: while demonstrating he or she is in charge, the boss realizes the possibility of being wrong, and thereby demonstrates an open-mindedness that encourages risk-taking for the ultimate good of the team.

Beyond this, forward-thinking bosses maintain an open-door policy, literally and figuratively, encouraging employees to share not only professional but personal matters as well. This means being a good, attentive listener, an often forgotten component of good communication, whether with an employee or a client.

You may have read recently of the first wedding to take place in space. When the capsule came back to earth, reporters hurried to interview family members. One reporter cornered the groom’s grandmother.

“How was the wedding?” he asked.

“Beautiful,” she said.

“The ceremony?”

“Fine.”

“The music?”

“Fine.”

“The food?”

“Fine.”

The reporter said, “All your answers are positive, but there’s something in your tone that suggests everything wasn’t ideal.”

“Well,” said the grandmother, “to tell you the truth, there was no atmosphere.”

Yes, atmosphere matters. We’re in a serious business, but that doesn’t mean the environment has to be solemn. A wise leader put a premium on fun, light-hearted moments that help foster camaraderie and provide a pleasant cushion for the inevitable long hours and hard work.

They can also reflect the positive – contagious – energy that filters down from top to bottom in a thriving company, one where employees feel engaged and connected.

The plus factors are numerous, not the least of which is what a current Employment Engagement report by Blessing White has found: engaged employees plan to stay at their firms for what they give; disengaged stay for what they get.

The company’s survey also found that “executives appear to struggle with key leadership behaviors, especially what’s required to create a high-performance culture.” It also points out that managers have to understand each individual’s talents, interests and needs, and then match those with the organization’s objectives…while creating personal trusting relationships.

Blessing White emphasizes the importance of leadership focusing on engagement, “creating the dialogue, stirring up participation and driving people to focused, purposeful action.”

It urges the adoption of a “coach approach” as a means of transferring disengagement into “high-energy buy-in motivated employees and strong results.” By focusing on “what is working” and the strengths and individual needs of employees, the report contends, the odds of success are increased. The report notes that recognizing that each individual is motivated differently (seldom by money), will help create opportunities that mesh with individual needs.

The company strongly recommends self-evaluation to determine how open a leader is to engaging in a dialogue even with someone with a contradictory perspective, without feeling the need to prove anything about the leader’s point of view…and flexible enough to accept and implement someone else’s better idea.

All these goals are attainable, starting with listening – really listening – to that employee offering a potentially super idea.

###

 Alan Cohen, president of Acts of Balance Executive Coaching (http://www.actsofbalance.com/) and a PRSA Counselors Academy member, is an executive coach, trainer and brainstorm facilitator with more than 25 years of experience in business, including public relations and human resources. 

Download a free copy of “The 12 Essential Talents of PR Leadership” at http://ow.ly/3vT7d

You Are What You Use…What Does Your Tech-Gadget Say About You?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

We all live on planet earth and most of us own or use some sort of tech-gadget(s) that allows us to communicate and interact with each other and the world. It’s hard to believe we survived all those centuries without computers, cell phones, Internet, and social media. I can’t remember what I used to do “back in the day” when something comical happened and I wanted to share it with my friends…maybe we paged each other! 

Most of us are very familiar with the advertising and marketing campaigns used by HTC (Android), iPhone, Mac, PC, iPad, and BlackBerry. They are designed to connect with “you” on a personal level:

Do these campaigns actually affect our perception of what’s best when it comes to purchasing Gadgetsa gadget(s) or do we subconsciously choose based on other factors (e.g., trends, capabilities, ease of use, etc.)?

Retrevo, a consumer electronics review and shopping site, conducted an online survey of 7,500 Retrevo users across all genders, age demographics, and locations between March and July of this year. The Gadget Census Report shows that owners of iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry’s exhibit different behaviors and characteristics based on which gadget(s) they use.  So I know what I am, but what are you?

If you’re like me, you probably own a Droid. You probably also do not have a landline in your home.  According to Retrevo, 31 percent of Droid owners do not have landlines, compared to iPhone (23 percent) and BlackBerry (23 percent) users. Retrevo did note that one reason for this is because Android owners tend to have more reliable coverage.

Is it true that once you go Mac you never go back? I would say so! If you have a Mac in your household, you are three times more likely to purchase an iPhone and six times more likely to purchase an iPad, according to the survey. 

iPhone Characteristics.
According to the census results, iPhone users act and think differently than Droid and BlackBerry users. They are also usually younger (especially when it comes to BlackBerry users) and have a tendency to adopt technology earlier, like watching TV online. On a surprising twist, iPhone users are not as “Genius Bar” as they might think they are. They are 23 percent more likely to rent a movie from Blockbuster (are they still around?) than their Droid peers, and 22 percent more likely than Droid owners to not know what brand of television they own.

Android Characteristics.
Retrevo reports that Droid users are more tech-savvy, usually owning techier gadgets than their iPhone and BlackBerry friends. They are less likely to own a GPS though. (But if your phone was running Google map software, there would be no need for a Garmin lying around taking up space.) The downfall to being so techy and brilliant, 25 percent of Android owners are more likely to not read books and 20 percent more likely to not care about recycling old gadgets.

BlackBerry Characteristics.
2002 called and they want their BlackBerry back… According to the Gadget census, BlackBerry owners/users are old fashion. In fact, a recent article in Trader Daily discussed BlackBerry losing its “stimulant addiction” for Wall Street, who is considered the early adopters of BlackBerry’s: FierceFinance pointed out this week that some of the major banks, whose employees traditionally dared to touch no cell-phone bearing anything other than a BlackBerry emblem, are beginning to move towards the fancy new options.” When it comes to keeping up with other forms of tech-gadgets, Retrevo found that BlackBerry users are more likely to have a CRT (tube) as their primary television and listen and get their music from terrestrial radio. However, they are 15 percent more likely to recycle old gadgets than Android users.

So based on the results from Retrevo, do you have the characteristics of the gadget(s) you own?  If you own an iPhone are you upset to find out you are not as unique as you might think? Androiders, is it true that you do not read books? And last but not least, BlackBerry users, are you really old school?  What factors played into you choosing your gadget(s)? Do the “you” campaigns play a factor into your decisions? I look forward to reading your thoughts along with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

***

*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce