Archive for the ‘The Job Coaches’ Category

The Job Coaches: Insightful companies need intrapreneurs

May 4, 2012

Dorothy Perrin MooreToday’s most successful careers are molded and developed by people who have a

personal vision of how all the parts might fit together and develop a path. They may become an entrepreneur by establishing a new firm. They may remain inside an organization and by creating something new become an intrapreneur.

Jennet Robinson Alterman, executive director of the Center for Women, is an example of a public sector, nonprofit intrapreneur who shepherded a service concept for women, inspired and developed the projects and initiatives, sponsored creative ideas and reached out to a current membership of more than 1,000 women in the tri-county area and across the state. Someone similar in a different kind of organization would be a “social entrepreneur.”

Insightful companies evolve from entrepreneurial ideas, and after a while policies and procedures may become restrictive. At this point, they need intrapreneurs on board to cultivate and develop new concepts. This requires firms to provide intrapreneurs with the trust and freedom they need to reinvent, transform, and push them up to new heights. These paths also challenge the status quo and seldom fit neatly into the embedded organizational culture. It is easy for a company to continue to follow the once-innovative business models conceived by their entrepreneurs, but which are now outdated.

The paradox in the business model: Firms need intrapreneurs. But creative implementers, the mavericks with intrapreneurial streaks, exhibit traits that may not be compatible with the status quo and viewed as creating turbulence. In static firms, would-be intrapreneurs end up not asking for permission to implement their initiatives because experience has taught them that any creative ideas will be zapped before they can get off the drawing board.

One intrapreneur/entrepreneur who transitioned many times is Marjorie Alfus. In “Careerpreneurs, Lessons From Leading Women Entrepreneurs,” I noted that she not only solves complicated problems in a creative way but also breaks out of career walls, a person who “knows an opportunity when they see it, one who is not bound by tradition, procedures or job descriptions,” someone who “works when and where there’s a need, rather than according to schedules and deadlines,” one who “cares less about why things happen but is interested in making things happen,” one who is “easily bored and infinitely curious, marches to the tune of a different drummer, thrives on chaos, and at times creates a little discord here and there to keep entertained.”

A few tidbits from her voluminous Maverick approach: Determined to have both a family and a career, she earned a Master of Science degree in biochemistry at 18, completed a stint as a fellow in pediatrics at NYU’s Bellevue Hospital. Then she wrote popular science shows for television, hosted and produced women’s daytime fashion and beauty shows for television, and joined her husband in running his leather sportswear design and manufacturing business in Italy.

She next created a high-fashion knitwear operation in the mountains north of Venice. This first of her many Italian factories consisted of two machines in a loft. There she learned three important rules of business: “How to drink Grappa and speak Italian; How to stay warm (it’s always colder when you are struggling); and the knit business, the hard way.”

In Marjorie’s own words, “I am sure I ran into roadblocks along the way but I kicked them down.” When I met her, she had just created “Golfers Gizmo” on the Internet and through the Marjorie Alfus/Committee of 200 Fund at Harvard Business School, had been instrumental in creating the first business cases featuring women. Most recently, at age 82, she developed and launched a nine-month online certification program in patient advocacy at the University of Miami.

Is there a strategy to identify intrapreneurial or entrepreneurial moments in your career?

Are you an intrapreneur? In your organization, do you create and initiate something new that adds value or capacity?

Are you a corporate climber? Are you most comfortable when people follow the manual, the SOPs? Do you feel you are on a fast-career track when you follow all the organizational prescribed guidelines and please your boss? Are you particularly skilled at “managing up?”

Are you entrepreneurial intentionally? Do you have an idea, product or service and have always wanted to own a business?

Are you a latent entrepreneur? Have you been seriously thinking, planning and mapping out a business ownership strategy?

Have you been working toward entrepreneurship all along? Are you self-reliant, independent, motivated, innovative — driven to accomplish goals, but delayed by life or economic circumstances?

Are you a Copreneur? Do you and your spouse operate a business together with equal ownership and opportunities?

A family firm owner? Will you inherit or take over a business, develop new concepts and ideas, advance strategies created by your family with new innovative initiatives and technology?

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, April 23, 2010.

Advertisements

The Job Coaches: Embrace power, build alliances to get results

April 20, 2012

Join Jane this Saturday to learn more about
Power, persuasion and influence!

Power. The very word sends shudders down the spine of many women. It shouldn’t. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, in his book, “Leviathan,” defined power as one’s “present means to obtain some future apparent good.” There’s only upside to that definition.

Power derives a negative connotation when one thinks about having power over someone or something — using control, force and/or threats to drive behaviors and outcomes. Thinking about power as a coercive force is an unpleasant thought and experience regardless of one’s gender.

However, if you think of having power with something or someone to produce constructive win-win outcomes, then that’s an entirely different mind-set and approach that comes naturally to most women.

As Helen E. Fisher observes in “The Natural Leadership Talents of Women,” “Men tend to cast themselves within hierarchies and view power as rank and status; women, on the other hand, form cliques and regard power as an egalitarian network of supportive connections.”

Power with is multifaceted and flows from many sources: what you know, what abilities you have, what level of respect you command and your charisma.

Consider the findings of Diane Jacobs, principal of The Talent Advisors, a company that advises corporate executives, who writes, “Women pursue power by producing results, forming collaborative relationships and building alliance networks.” Relationships and results are power with outcomes that women can and should embrace.

Let’s take a look at several sources of power to understand what they are as well as how you can adopt behaviors within that power realm to broaden your sphere of influence.

Personal or charisma power is based on your individual distinguishing characteristics. Think about the things that you do and what you are: your work ethic, integrity, character and interpersonal communication style. Being sincere in your approach to your work and interacting with your colleagues is essential for building trust, a key element for personal power.

Regularly recognizing and rewarding others (giving without thoughts of getting) boost your personal power as well. Be known for your willingness to work hard and work smart.

Understand and connect with your personal views, then assert them sincerely, diplomatically and without apology.

As Marian Ruderman and Patricia Ohlott note in “Standing at the Crossroads: Next Steps for High-Achieving Women,” “A key component of acting authentically is understanding what you care about most, developing self-awareness of your values and priorities, your likes and dislikes.”

Referent power is relationship-based. It stems from your ability to build loyalty and respect by attracting others as well from possessing qualities that others admire and would like to have.

To grow your referent power, be supportive, keep your promises, encourage participation through collaboration and influence, create relationships and build alliances.

Linda Tarr-Whelan, author of “Women Lead the Way” and a keynote speaker at 2010’s Women in Business Conference, offers some excellent advice, “Remember: relationships are primary; all else is secondary. Coalitions that come together because of a single common interest … are actually best held together by personal relationships.”

Expertise power is rooted in your knowledge, skills and achievements. When people view you as an expert, you have credibility and your advice is viewed as sound and reliable.

Staying current in your field and building additional competencies are two ways to increase your influence and expertise power.

Involve others in your work so their skills and knowledge are enhanced as well. Share information freely and communicate what you know. Work to maintain a credible reputation as a consistent source of relevant and timely information.

Power with is a concept to be embraced, not avoided.

Welcome it, then work to develop your personal, referent and expertise power bases so women can create the kind of world described by Matthew Arnold, English poet and cultural critic, “If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit and good of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never seen.”

I look forward to seeing you there!

Jane Perdue is CEO of Braithwaite Innovation Group. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, February 12, 2010.

The Job Coaches: The search for superstars

April 13, 2012

Karen owned a small design firm and was ready to hire another employee. After she placed an ad, she was thrilled to review a couple of resumes that seemed to showcase the exact type of experience that she needed the new hire to possess.

She brought the best candidates in for an interview and hired the person with the most experience and best portfolio. The new hire lasted only about three months before Karen had to start the expensive and time-consuming hiring process all over again. What went wrong?

Looking back, Karen admitted that she had been a little put off by the arrogance of this person during the interview. Still, even though she had reservations about her attitude, she hired her anyway because of her experience.

This mistake is quite common, especially among small-business owners who are looking for superstar employees to help them grow their businesses to the next level. When you hire, you should be hiring for attitude as well as for experience.

In today’s business climate, it is likely that any employment ads are going to be met with more resumes than in years past. This means that small-business owners will have a larger pool of potential hires to consider.

Why is hiring for attitude important? When you hire someone with an attitude that is not conducive to a peaceful work environment, it is going to have an impact on every other employee. Also, a manager or small-business owner with any experience can tell you that it is going to take more effort and time to manage an employee with a bad attitude.

There is no amount of experience that is worth risking the morale in your workplace or adding to your own workload.

Use your instinct. While it is not always possible to spot those who have an arrogant or condescending attitude, you may be able to weed out some potential problem employees just by listening to your instincts. In the interview, ask how they have handled confrontation in the past. Also, ask if they have ever had a work situation where they did not get along with another employee.

If you do not have a good feeling about the candidate, do not ignore that gut feeling just because he or she has a great resume.

You can’t teach attitude. Karen ended up replacing her problem employee by hiring one of her interns. The intern had very little experience but a great attitude. She was a team player who was always willing to go the extra mile. The intern turned out to be a model employee.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

This is not to say a small-business owner should hire someone with no relevant experience, but remember that many skills can be taught.

Attitude, however, cannot.

Pat Eardley is a human resources adviser with more than 16 years’ experience in H.R. management. She supports small-business owners, allowing them to have more time by focusing on creating a successful business environment for them and their employees.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, July 9, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Reaching across generations. Young workers bring different views

March 30, 2012

There is a great deal of discussion around whether or not naming certain generations is valid. If you look at academic models, there is plenty of literature supporting both points of view.photo

For my part, I think the names bestowed on the various generations capture some essence of the generation that the rest of us intuitively agree upon, such as the Silent Generation, the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, and are, therefore, useful.

The names spring from the characteristics associated with that group of people as they “come of age” or reach the place of adulthood in our society and culture, grouped together according to the years when they were born. The Millennials, also referred to as Gen Y, Echoboomers, Gen Next and even the Google Generation, were born 1982-2000 and now number roughly 76 million. These 20-somethings are literally the “next up” to enter our work force and graduate schools.

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, who wrote “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation” (2000), probably have been the most influential in defining the term because they say members of the generation themselves coined the term millennials. As a group, “millennials are more numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse” than previous generations, they write.

Here’s a summary of some of the generalized characteristics of this generation:

1. Millennials want to make a difference in the world, for work to have “meaning.” Nine out of 10 interviewed for the book “The M-Factor” (2010) by Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman said this was “the most important factor” in their work lives.

2. 20-somethings want a stimulating work environment where they can express their passions, and 51 percent, according to the Kelly Global Workforce Index, are prepared to take a lower salary to have this.

3. They want to use their tech savvy to communicate via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social media you can think of, and they discuss their work. This demand for interactivity can be a boon to employers seeking to publicize themselves and also can be used to recruit and retain employees as new workers conduct job searches through the web.

4. Millennials “want to be heard” and will create innovative solutions if allowed. They are excellent collaborators and not so happy with working alone. They want praise for a “job well done,” and a sincere “thank you” goes a very long way to building their loyalty. Some employers, such as C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a global third-party logistics (3PL) provider, lets employees determine their own job titles, such as “Logistics Specialist” as a form of innovation.

The down side: Some researchers see too much emphasis on the individual who needs to be validated and feel good because they were overprotected as children. Jean M. Twenge titled her book “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever” (2006) and coined the term “Gen Me” to describe them.

Jane Healy and Neil Postman in separate books have argued that despite the technological connectivity and community the generation seems to crave, the connections are superficial and do not lend themselves to critical thinking and reflective, thoughtful learning. It also is not at all clear at this stage how the Millennials will compete. Will they be interested in building and staying in an organization they see as making a difference, or will they be about using the system to their own advantage?

For employers, teaching the “why” of what is being done may be one of the most important lessons to be learned in reaching this generation.

Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed., is a certified career coach specialized in helping faculty, administrators and graduate students. Contact her via her website, www.TransitioningYourLife.com.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, June 25, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Managing up builds trust

March 16, 2012

It is no accident that women are moving into positions of team and organizational leadership and also that large numbers of them are well-positioned to make a leadership difference.photo

In settings where team performance is highly valued, a leader who encourages open exchanges, collaborations and collective creativity provides a new culture and becomes an enabler of productivity. Ursula M. Burns, the chief executive of Xerox, was quoted in The New York Times on this new approach when she said, “I want (Xerox) employees to take more initiative and be more fearless and frank with one another. … We’re family, so we can disagree.”

The interactive transformational leadership practiced by women developed over a period of time from learning to manage up.

The way organizations operate today is a product of the forces of rapid economic and technological change, an economic shift to a post-industrial, global economy, a work force that is diverse and evenly divided between men and women and the investment market emphasis on short-term profits that contributed to the current recession. Collectively, these forces have dismantled many old dysfunctional operating systems.

Driven by competition, organizations met these challenges by restructuring. They took advantage of the new information-sharing technologies to bring together in work teams, either physically or virtually, people with differing backgrounds, information sets, resources, perspectives and problem-solving skills. The approach worked so well that firms were able to raise productivity and profits while simultaneously reducing the layers of corporate bureaucracy, trimming the number of long-term employees and cutting back on benefits.

Much of the organizational work today, particularly the creative work, takes place in teams because, done right, the result is a collective creativity. But work teams are effective only when people buy into the organizational goals in a cooperative endeavor and the organization delegates power to the team to go ahead and solve problems.

The problem organizations have is that as they restructured employee trust eroded. Queried in 2009, more than half of American workers said they did not trust their organization’s leaders. An even higher percentage said their employer had violated a contractual relationship. A survey in January found that more than 60 percent of employees said they would leave for another job if they had the chance.

The organizational dilemma is obvious. Companies needed to find team leaders who excel at bringing people together and motivating them to solve problems, leaders who can create a climate of trust in a work team and themselves be entrusted with power.

What many firms are finding is that this means they need a new type of leader: one with an interactive, open style of leadership that is based on skilled communication.

Because this is exactly the job approach that many women cultivated so their talent, experience, education and work skills would not be brushed aside by gender bias, they are moving into these new positions of leadership in organizations. These women will be instrumental in putting our economy back on track.

What steps can you take to begin cultivating the skills to move into one of the transformational leadership opportunities in your company? Begin by managing up, building trust one step at a time.

  1. Know your job. Be so good at it that everyone in your work setting understands that you know what you are talking about.
  2. Figure out what your company needs to be successful. Do your homework.
  3. Network throughout the organization. Build relationships with people who understand your ability to get things done.
  4. Go where the action is. Join work teams and contribute in a collaborative way. When you think you are ready and the opportunity presents itself, don’t bypass a chance to lead.
  5. Focus on the task at hand and the goals of your team and organization. Remember, it is always professional, never personal. Avoid getting sidetracked into pushing your own agenda and personal interests.
  6. Articulate clearly what you and your team need to achieve its goals. Enlist your supervisor, keep him or her informed, leverage his or her strengths and talents in carrying out the team objectives, and make sure that the supervisor knows you appreciate and acknowledge the value he or she adds to the team.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, February 26, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Tests could help find right career

March 9, 2012

“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” — Unknown

photoJanice was determined that she would break free from her old habits this year, especially her job. She was miserable at work, feeling like the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Janice knew she didn’t enjoy her job anymore, yet she didn’t have a clearly defined sense of what she would like to do. She wanted to better understand her career strengths and occupations where those abilities could best be used.

Perhaps you’re like Janice, feeling burned out and wanting some new career ideas. Perhaps you’re part of the 45 percent of Americans who, according to a recent Conference Board survey, are unsatisfied with their jobs. If so, consider starting the new year by taking some self-assessments. These tests can help you gain better insights into your abilities and interests, then aid you in identifying career options that match your personal preferences.

Having this personal profile is good for making informed career and life decisions. As Carol Kleiman, former business columnist for the Chicago Tribune stated, “It is important that your future job or career fit your personality.”

Where do you find the ability, values, personality and career assessments? The Internet offers self-directed assessments. Self-directed means that you can take the test and review your own results. You do not need a certified third party to analyze and interpret the data. Some tests are free; others charge.

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth created a new Center for Leadership, noting that “effective leadership starts with intimate knowledge of yourself.” If you want to increase your knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, what you like/dislike and gauge potential career options, here are some self-assessments you can check out.

–If you want to look at career choices that link to your job performance strengths and preferences, investigate the free Career Steer assessment at www.careersteer.org.

–The Career Interest Test, at www.careerplanner.com, costs $29.95 and identifies general types of work (broad categories like accounting, engineering, human resources, marketing, etc.) that might be right for you based on what you like, and want, to do.

–The Keirsey Temperament Sorter at www.keirsey.com. is a free assessment providing insights into how you respond to people and situations as well as how skillfully you get along with others. This information can be helpful in determining if working with groups of people or on your own is right for you.

–The Princeton Review Career quiz matches your interests and work style to careers where those interests are involved. The test is free: www.princetonreview.com.

–The work of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, into personal tendencies and preferences is the foundation for the Jung Personality Typology Test. This is offered for free at www.humanmetrics.com and can offer insights to your personality and preferences.

–The free Career Values test helps you understand your values and what you want in a career: items like independence, creativity, knowledge, status, precision, earnings, etc. Find the test at stewartcoopercoon.com/jobsearch/career-values to help define what standards and principals are required for you to feel satisfied and engaged at work.

–The Kolbe A Index identifies your natural talents and how you take action. Your method of operation is then matched to careers in the Career MO assessment. The assessments are found at www.kolbe.com and cost $63.95 when taken together.

Use this information about your interests, values, natural talents and personality as data points in making the career decision that’s right for you.

Jane Perdue is CEO of The Braithewaite Group.The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. For assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $10 is requested for appointments.

The Job Coaches: The things you can’t control

February 17, 2012

Now that we have come to the end of the semester at most colleges and our young people have processed through commencement on their way to life outside the school environment, a little common sense advice seems in order.

photoNo matter where you work, or what you do, there are things you can control, and things you cannot. It’s good to get a handle on the ones you cannot, so you do not spend unnecessary brain power and body energy stressing about them. This also frees you up to handle the things that are within your own control and makes your life easier.

Here are some tips about what you cannot control, followed by what you can:

1. Weather: There will be days when the weather dictates what you can and cannot do. Storms ground airplanes, bridges wash out and high winds knock out power lines. Frustration and anger aren’t going to change the outcome. Do what you can to rearrange your schedule, then let it go. Be prepared for the inevitable delays. If you are traveling, take a good book, your laptop, and a charged cell phone, so that you can use those inevitable delays productively.

2. Traffic: Getting to work on time and ready to start the workday is certainly important, but sometimes even the best-laid plans come to naught. Your normal commute may be 45 minutes by bus or car, and you left your home base in plenty of time, but, whoops, there’s a wreck at a major intersection. It’s not going to help to sit in traffic fuming and spewing out obscene words. Breathe, and let it go. Besides, don’t you think the person involved in the wreck might be having a worse day than you are?

3. Equipment failure: From airlines to office equipment, it always seems that the machines break down when you most need them to work. The copier gives out when you are running 30 copies of a report due tomorrow; the computer suddenly boots you out of a document you had nearly perfected; the car refuses to start when you have exactly 20 minutes to get to an appointment. Again, railing away at the machinery will not help. Instead, choose how to handle the situation: Is there someone you can call for help? Another place to make copies? Move your mind away from fear of the problem into creating a solution. It’s more likely to get resolved, and you’ll feel better, too.

4. The economy: Yes, we are in a recession. Yes, it may be hard to get the perfect job. But, remember, everyone had to start somewhere. There are still plenty of stories about people who started at the bottom and learned all there was to know and later became a leader in their field. In this day and age, it is estimated that the new college graduate will have eight to nine different jobs, and four to five different careers. Own your own labor, and your attitude toward it. If you are happy with the work you have, happiness will spill over into other areas of your life.

5. Other people’s life choices: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, work is the place we are most likely to actually interact with people of another race or culture in the globalized world. It is not going to help to criticize your colleagues about their choice of life partner, their culture, their parenting styles, their spending habits, or their work ethic. You are only in charge of you, your own attitudes, and beliefs. Listen and learn, understand what emotions may be behind the words, and make good choices for yourself with greater awareness.

One caveat: If you are working with someone you believe is doing something illegal, you want to either report the situation immediately to someone with higher authority or get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

If you look at this list, the biggest commonality around what you can control is your own attitude. It’s clear that this is something within anyone’s control, no matter where they are on the career path.

Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed., is a certified career and academic coach specializing in higher education. Contact her via her website, TransitioningYourLife.com.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, May 28, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Gender stereotypes: All minds needed at the table

January 27, 2012

In 1998, Catalyst and National Foundation for Women Business Owners published a joint study showing that women were leaving corporate and public sector organizations to start businesses of their own because, among other reasons, they continually encountered gender stereotypes that held them back.photo

Much earlier, in the course of my own research, I had interviewed a very successful entrepreneur who had trod that path exactly. She put it this way:

I live in San Francisco, and I liken the disillusionment in a corporation to a creeping fog. In the nighttime, the fog slowly comes in from the ocean and goes under the Golden Gate Bridge. You are really not aware of it at first, and eventually you hear the foghorns in the distance, and those foghorns indicate a change in the environment, a slow creeping disillusionment.

In 2004, Catalyst released the results of a study of the experiences of male and female executives of Fortune 1000 Companies. It reported that while both men and women have similar goals on entering organizations and strategies for reaching them, and that both groups would encounter barriers in their careers, women had the additional problem of encountering harmful gender stereotypes. How that was happening was crisply explained four years later in the title of the 2008 Catalyst study: “The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don’t.”

Stereotypes and their harmful paralyzing effects on women’s career opportunities and advancement have not gone away. According to a report just released (Catalyst, Jan. 14), gender stereotypes continue and especially in male-dominated organizations.

We have known for half a decade at least why it makes no sense for companies to tolerate this. A 2004 Catalyst study reported results from an examination of some 353 companies that maintained their Fortune-500 rankings four years out of a five-year period. It showed that companies with the highest percentage of women in top management had a higher return on equity (35 percent) and greater total returns to shareholders (34 percent) than companies with few women top managers. A 2009 Catalyst study suggested an additional reason. The higher return on investment was seen in firms where male managers saw the value of diversity training and then carried out the results in working with members from diverse groups.

Assuming that the point of operating a business is to make a profit, what does this tell us?

Volumes.

Companies hiring and advancing qualified women access a larger pool of talent and benefit from considering all minds valuable. Where women are given equal (not special) opportunities and bias-free measurements of job performance, it is possible to eliminate or reduce the harmful outcomes of stereotypes. Companies are then able to operate on a higher level and perform better overall.

It would be more profitable for companies if managers were to set stereotypes aside and follow leadership styles that advance the organization’s mission. Unfortunately, far too many major corporations and smaller companies around the globe still use outdated styles of management and leadership at all levels of the organization that are ill suited to benefiting from employee diversity.

Companies that seek success need to set standards of “no tolerance” for those who deliberately use stereotypes to avoid appraising and paying women professionals the salaries they deserve. To do this, it will be important to establish diversity training programs that eliminate the harmful effects which may impede female employees from making productive contributions, especially in this down-turned economy.

Aspiring women in organizations where stereotyping is supported or tolerated by top management are learning work styles that enable them to counteract and maneuver around gender stereotypes, and along the way improve the climate for all employees. Not an easy task, but a strategy successful women have found useful.

Look for tips in an upcoming column on how “Managing Up” may help you gain an edge on career advancement to make an even greater contribution to the bottom line in your company.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, January 22, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Dealing with layoffs: Keep moving, change lanes later

January 20, 2012
Following 10 years of promotions, Margaret was laid off for the first time in her career. Her company had been hit hard by the recession and needed to dramatically reduce its staff.photo

Included in those reductions were key performers like Margaret who worked in functions no longer deemed “business critical.” Margaret believed being laid off meant that she had failed. She froze, personally and professionally, and did nothing for several weeks except look back at what had happened, wondering what she could have done differently.

Margaret hadn’t failed at her job; however, she was failing at dealing with the situation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between December 2007 (when the recession officially started) and October 2009, there were 49,357 mass layoffs affecting more than 5 million people. (A mass layoff is when 50 or more people are laid off at the same time.)

So there are many individuals like Margaret who are dealing with an unexpected speed bump in their career path.

Hitting those career obstacles hurts, just like it did when you fell off a swing when you were 10 years old. But, just like you did way back then, pick yourself up and keep moving. View the situation as a “teachable moment” for exploring, growing and learning instead of allowing yourself to withdraw.

As Albert Einstein remarked, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Use these seven lessons and inspirational quotes to keep moving:

1. Look for lessons to be learned. Work with a trusted confidante to explore your thoughts and feelings about what happened. There’s something positive to be learned from nearly every situation that will make you better the next time around.

Consider this quote from songwriter and scholar Bernice Johnson Reagon: “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”

2. Aim for acceptance. Denying what happened or looking to find fault won’t make the situation go away or change the outcome. Focus instead on what you do well and look for opportunities where you can apply your strengths.

As author Carlos Castaneda reminds us, “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

3. Analyze your thoughts and feelings to become more self-aware. Take a long hard look at your reactions so you can better understand your motivation.

Ponder these words from American essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.”

4. Keep taking wise risks. Expand your comfort zone. Learn and grow by trying something new.

As Aldous Huxley, English writer, tells us, “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

5. Build bridges to the future; don’t burn those to the past. You never know when a past boss may be-come a future boss, so you want to assure that the relationship remains posi-tive.

Billy Cox, author of The Dream Book, offers some excellent advice, “Taking the high road is usually not the easy one to take or the most popular … but if you compromise your principles and your integrity, it will always end up costing you far more in the long run.”

6. Be optimistic. Shed those “what if” thoughts or “maybe I should have” worries, and remain positive.

As author Remez Sasson writes, “The difference between can and cannot is only three letters. Three letters that can shape your life’s direction.”

7. Get, and stay, moving. Volunteer, take a class, work out, become a mentor, network. Learn from the past and energetically move on.

Reflect on these words from orator and philosopher Edmund Burke, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

The next time you are cruising down the highway and see the road sign that reads “keep moving, change lanes later,” smile and follow the good advice.

Jane Perdue is CEO of The Braithewaite Group. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Search Assistance Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, register for a workshop or make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, January 1, 2010.

The Job Coaches: Human resources and small businesses

January 13, 2012

When you think about the dream of owning your own business, you may marvel at the thought of being your own boss, and you may be surprised by the hours that you have to put in. In fact, many small business owners say that they work much harder in their own business than they ever did when working for someone else. The difference is that you’re working hard for yourself. It’s like buying vs. renting.photo

You start thinking about your product and what makes you different from your competition. You consider what your location will look like, how you’re going to advertise and all the other necessary details. If you’ve been in business for a while, you may be thinking about what special you’re going to have next week or how you are going to gain new customers or clients. However, some new or tenured business owners are not thinking about employees much beyond salary.

Employees are the heartbeat of any business and even more so when it comes to small businesses. You want to hire people you can trust who will represent you in a positive way whether you are present or not. If a customer or client has a negative experience with one of your employees, they will remember that a lot longer than they will any positive interactions. You’ve got to have the best people on your team.

I went around town and asked some small-business owners about employee relations, training, conflict resolution and how they found their staff. Every owner had a different point of view, and the findings were interesting.

The first question was, “When you thought of having your own business, did you really think about the HR stuff such as compliance and employee development, or did you focus only on hiring and budgeting for employees?”

I was surprised that most said they had not thought about the human resource aspects of the business. One owner said he knew that scheduling can be a little tricky sometimes because most of his staff was part time, but he wasn’t expecting the “miscellaneous” things such as customer service training, personal feelings/needs and employee development. A more tenured owner said that she always has had a great staff but wasn’t sure how to enhance the position of the employee who is doing a stellar job and has a world of potential. She knew that if she didn’t do something she’d lose her along with her skills and knowledge.

I learned that even though some of the challenges were specific to the industry, type of business, environment or length of time the business has been open, the human needs were the same. Their staff members wanted to feel needed, cared for, respected and appreciated.

Here are a few tips on employee relations:

Matchmaking: When you’re interviewing, ask situational- or behavioral-based questions. Probe for real examples of how they have handled situations in the past.

It’s all clear: Write a job description. Make sure the potential hire understands what will be expected.

All ears: If you say you’re going to have an open-door policy, do it! Really listen and ask them what they think. They might have some solutions. Just because you’re the owner doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers.

Invest: Teach them skills that they will not only use in your business, but that they can take anywhere. This will show your employees that you truly value them and care about their personal growth.

Put it to action! Have some ideas of how you can enhance the duties of your star employees. As Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” You want the best employees to be keepers.

Slash the trash: A grad student once told me this when I was preparing for a multiple-choice test. Create an exit strategy for employees that may not be in the right position or industry.

Recruitment: Have a Plan B, a reserve list of potential employees. That will save money on turnover costs and is good for growth.

Owning a business comes with a long list of responsibilities, and as an owner you have many hats that you wear. I hope these tips are beneficial to you, your business and, most of all, your interaction and development of your staff. After all, they are a direct representation of you and your business.

Pat Eardley is an H.R. adviser with more than 16 years’ experience in human resources management. She supports small-business owners, allowing them to have more time by focusing on creating a successful business environment for them and their employees.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, May 7, 2010.


%d bloggers like this: