1. Hard work and excellence are important but they’re not enough. This is an important first step, but you and your competence need to be on someone’s radar screen. You don’t have to brag, just don’t pass up the opportunity to remind people what you’ve contributed when the opportunity arises. Too much modesty can easily get you overlooked.
2. Network.This is also how you share your competences with those who might give you a leg up. It allows you to share knowledge with others who need it, learn from those who can teach you, and create an important base. Lonesome cowgirls don’t do well in the business world
3. Prioritize. You may be able to “have it all,” but not have all of it going well simultaneously always. When you juggle work, family, social demands, etc., you actually spread the risk: when one thing goes badly wrong there’s another corner in which to hide. But to make yourself crazy trying to do everything perfectly all the time is, well…crazy. And impossible.
4. Choose your battles. This is another form of prioritizing. Chose those which will create the most good for the company, for the family, for you. Err on the side of NOT sailing into battle. You run the risk of becoming a banshee.
5. Speak up. Recent research by INSEAD business school professor Horacio Falcao shows that one of the reasons women are lagging in the salary sweepstakes is their failure to negotiate. This may be a component of women’s belief hat working hard will get them somewhere – that efforts will be recognized by those who are in charge. This is simply not the case. Those in charge have other things on their minds. If there’s something you want, ask for it. It’s not impolite; this isn’t a tea party. Don’t be afraid that the boss won’t like you.
6. Dress well. Identify a female executive whose style you admire and copy it as best you can. Yes, like in high school. Even if you’re attached to your own style, you might find something to improve.
7. Use silence. Not to be confused as the antithesis of “speaking up.” Women talk more than men; they ramble, they forget the cutoff valve between mind and mouth. I have no statistics to support this – only memories of business meeting presentations made by women that went on far too long and ended badly. Silence is a useful punctuation on either side of a well-thought-out statement
8. Do what you say you’re going to do. Do less, or say more, but make it balance. Deliver on the promise; make it real.
9. Stay positive. Not crazy Pollyanna-like Cheshire Cat grin happy; comfortable in your skin happy. Even if you’re not. Thinking of things that are going right will help you handle those things that are going wrong. Worry and pessimism only cast a pall over the realm of possibilities that could help
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