Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rebecca's Column in emPOWER Magazine Spring 2011 Issue: Raise Your Profile Without Stepping on Toes

Rebecca is a columnist in emPOWER magazine's Spring 2011 issue.

The topic? "Raise Your Profile at Work Without Stepping on Any Toes."

Here's a snippet, just for you!

"What is it about the topic of 'raising your profile' that makes so many people visibly squirm? In my experience it's fear: fear of being different; fear of what other people might think; fear of being isolated by those around you.

This fear can be so overwhelming it can cripple many people from even dipping their toe in the abundance of opportunity that is out there.

And let's face it, maintaining anonymity and hiding in the shadows feels safe, warm and familiar; there are no surprises. The downside of this however is stagnation. Playing it safe means you don't move forwards, sideways, or well... anywhere really.

You stay where you are, possibly in the vain hope that someone somewhere will eventually recognise your value and contribution and reward it handsomely. In reality, that day never comes.

To get anywhere in your career, you need to stick your neck out, be brave and bold.

The irony of taking this kind of action is the more you stand up for what you believe in -your values, your mission and your personal and professional objectives - and push for the outcomes you want, the more you will engage and draw people towards you..."

Read the whole article (pg42) and download the entire magazine here!

I'd love to hear your views on self promotion in the workplace!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Do We Need a Quota to Get More Women onto Executive Boards?

As you may know in 2010 it was announced that, by April 2011, all ASX200 listed companies would have to meet a quota for the number of women on their Boards. To keep track of the companies that are meeting this 'criteria' the ASX intends to make public those companies that exceed the quota and those who fall short.

The question is: do we need a strategy like this to push gender parity or not?

At the Diversity Council Australia's annual diversity debate last week, Danny Gilbert (a solicitor with Gilbert + Tobin), asked this exact question. His view: organisational and cultural change is what is required to address the current imbalance, not a mandated measure.

Carol Schwartz, founder of the Women's Leadership Institute in Australia, was of the view that "tokenistic board members was nothing new. 'Hopefully a few mediocre women will slip in there - just so we can even out all the mediocre men' she quipped." (Financial Review, 23 September 2011).

Here are the stats:

- Women represent only 13% of Board appointments (Ernst & Young report, Women in Leadership: What Will it Take to Get Australia on Target?, September 2011)

- In ASX200 listed companies women comprise only 2.5% of chairs and 3% of chief executives

- Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick has a target of 40% female board representation by 2015

What do you think?

Q1 Is a mandated quota the only option? And if so will it work?

Q2 If it's up to the organisations to make changes, to encourage women to get ahead and take those executive positions, what changes do organisations need to make to support women more effectively?

Your thoughts welcome!

- RW

How To Gain Greater Recognition at Work

"I feel my work can at times be overlooked. In what ways can I try to gain recognition at work from my manager and colleagues?" - Susan

Rebecca's Suggestions:

It's your career, remember that.

The direction you go in and the results you achieve are all down to you; how you decide you want your career to be; and how you plan the steps to take you where you want to be.

Everyone in the corporate world is busy and although looking after the people in your team is possibly the most important daily task, most managers often overlook it due to the pressures of client deadlines, meeting personal objectives and adding to the bottom line.

Some managers are better than others at acknowledging the contribution of their team and if you find yourself in a position where this doesn't seem to happen it's vital you take matters into your own hands.

1. Keep a Journal

I know most people groan at the mere thought of keeping a diary but it's really helpful, even if you only do it for 90 days.

How many times have you reached the end of a month and said, 'I really haven't accomplished anything'?

With a journal you have evidence to remind yourself of all the value you are adding in terms of the:

- achievements you have accomplished
- difficult problems you've solved
- relationships you have built
- costs you have saved
- learning you have made

2. Arrange a Regular Catch up with your Manager

Use the information you capture in your journal to discuss your contribution with your manager. Arrange a coffee with him/her every few months. Ask for their input as to where you can continue to add value; which projects you can get involved in; and make your own goals clear.

3. Use your Journal to Keep your CV Up To Date

Being proactive about capturing all your successes and learnings is invaluable when it comes to creating the most marketable CV possible. So try it and let me know how you get on!

- RW

How to Raise Your Profile WITHOUT Arrogance

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

One of the most common concerns I hear from clients is the issue of perceived arrogance:

"What if, by raising my profile at work, people start thinking I'm arrogant?"

Let's face it, few of us wants to be thought of as 'arrogant'.

Arrogant people are not usually enjoyable to be around. They tend to hold the view that they know best and seem quite unaware as to how their actions might impact on others or, much worse, simply don't care.

So let's talk instead about 'assertiveness'.

When we assert ourselves, we behave boldly. We take responsibility for both ourselves and our actions and are driven to find solutions wherever possible.

Assertive behaviour, at its best, is also inclusive because people in the 'assertive camp' are much more aware of the people around them and actively assess how their own actions could potentially impact others.

The crucial point is this: assertive people have awareness and that makes them altogether far more likeable and effective leaders.

1. Build your personal brand by acting assertively.

2. Use an assertive tone of voice when you speak.

3. Listen to others' perspectives without necessarily agreeing with them all.

4. Stay true to yourself and your values, which means knowing what behaviours are important to you and that reflect the kind of person you want others to see.

- RW

Career Checklist - Are You On Track?

It's easy to stick your head in the sand. Safe even. There are few things to challenge you down there. The problem with this though is that you also don't progress...

It's time to ask yourself some hard questions:

1. Is my career shaping up as I want it to?

2. Do the right people know about me and the contribution I make to the organisation?

3. Are my clients and managers raving about me?

4. What stops me from making this the career I want it to be?

5. What knowledge do I need to acquire?

6. Who needs to know about me?

7. What do they need to know about me?

8. What assumptions am I making?

9. What behaviours could I change tomorrow?

10. What attitudes need to change now?

Ask yourself these questions every 6 months or so and be really honest with yourself. It's incredible how much positive change can happen when we just spend 30 minutes like this challenging our current situation.

- RW