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Climbing the corporate ladder

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Climbing the corporate ladder

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The truth is, all corporations share the same basic structure and the higher your position on the corporate ladder, the more difficult advancement becomes. Women are conquering self-doubt, personal fears and cultural stereotypes as they steadily climb the corporate ladder. In this session, we will focus on the defining the challenges faced by successful women, strategies they used to overcome obstacles and skills that served them well along the way.

The truth is, all corporations share the same basic structure and the higher your position on the corporate ladder, the more difficult advancement becomes. Women are conquering self-doubt, personal fears and cultural stereotypes as they steadily climb the corporate ladder. In this session, we will focus on the defining the challenges faced by successful women, strategies they used to overcome obstacles and skills that served them well along the way.

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Climbing the corporate ladder

  1. 1. CLIMBING THE CORPORATE LADDER: AVOIDING THE 10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES Carla Fair-Wright, PMP, MCTS, CSQE Society of Women Engineers ‘14 National Conference 24 October 2014 - Los Angeles
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
  3. 3. CONTENTS Learning Objectives Overview Management Hierarchy 10 Common Mistakes Summary Q&A Speaker Evaluations
  4. 4. LEARNING OBJECTIVES  Participants will gain a basic understanding of how the management hierarchy works.  Participants will learn what are the 10 most common career mistakes and how to overcome them
  5. 5. OVERVIEW
  6. 6. MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY
  7. 7. 10. GOSSIPING You could be unknowingly implicating yourself in the event by discussing it with others. Engaging in office gossip can make you seem untrustworthy to both coworkers and leadership. Never talk negative about your boss. “By the time the story gets passed to a third, fourth or fifth person, it’s not what you originally said,” Cindy Burns, the director of the National Association of Professional Women
  8. 8. 9. SELF-EVALUATION IS POORLY WRITTEN Women’s self-evaluations are so different from men’s that Andrea Kramer, attorney and founder of Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance could distinguish them without looking at names and she was never wrong. The biggest difference: Women’s are full of “we” statements and men’s are full of “I” ones.
  9. 9. EFFECTIVE WRITING - STAR METHOD A method for describing behavior and actions taken by a person in a given situation Situation or Task (Why?) • The background or context • Explains why the person acted in that manner Action (What done & how done?) • What person said or did in response to the Situation or Task • How s/he did it. Actions are the heart of the STAR because they show us the person’s behavior Result (Effect of action?) • Effects of the person’s actions. They tell us what changes or differences the person’s actions made and whether the actions were effective and appropriate
  10. 10. STAR Example Project My Contribution Purpose Management’s Response New Production Process Researched way to control the rate of addition Needed so process could scaled up to the production model without over pressurizing the container Pleased with results. No over pressurization and done within two months Situation/Task Working on a new process not run in production before. Had to find a new way to control the rate of addition, so it could be scaled up to the production model without over pressurizing the container Action Performed multiple experiments using various lab equipment Result Successfully scaled up within two months, which met the required deadline. No over pressurization occurred.
  11. 11. STAR Example Education Lesson(s) Learned Application Performance Improvements Employee Enrichment Program Teamwork Conflict Resolution Goal-setting How to effectively work as a team of diverse individuals towards a common goal Able to collaborate to identify goals and motivating factors to improve efficiency and morale Situation/Task Action Result
  12. 12. 8. UNABLE TO PRIORITIZE WORK 87 percent of managers say that the ability to prioritize work is the most important skill they are looking for when deciding whom to promote. -Dan Schawbel Always work from a list • Master List • Monthly List • Weekly List • Daily List Prioritize Tasks Determine the top priority A-level tasks — things that will lead to significant consequences if not done today.
  13. 13. 7. NOT HAVING A SPONSOR “For a promotion, you need to find someone in the ‘power alley’ or in the position to promote you,” says Stacy S. Kim, founder of Life Junctions. • Identifying the person who can help you • Learn as much as you can about them • Cultivate a relationship with them
  14. 14. 6. BEING INVISIBLE Once you’ve figured out who can get you where you want to go, you need to make sure they see you. “Those who decide who gets promoted need to know who you are and that you want to move forward,” says Kendra Davies, co-owner of Stellar Life Coaching. Participate in company training and skills workshops Take an interest in company initiatives Join in company community service efforts Does your organization have a Toastmasters club
  15. 15. 5. NOT SEEKING OUT OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE In my company, the difference between a Project Manager and Project Consultant is that the higher-level role is also supposed to also be a mentor and coach, recognizing areas in which other project managers are weak and coaching them. Managers look closely at employees who take initiative to train new hires and teach other employees. By generously sharing your knowledge, you are proving that you are invested in the success of the department and company as a whole— and will do the same as you move up. You are operating at 100% and 50% of your managers
  16. 16. 4. NOT ASKING FOR FEEDBACK Ask for Feedback—and Take it Well By proactively asking for feedback about the level of your performance, how you can improve, and what you should be doing differently, you’re showing initiative and the desire to grow. • Ask for 360 Feedback • Create an action plan • Practice continual improvement with each project and task you assign
  17. 17. 3. VOICING COMPLAINTS INSTEAD OF SOLUTIONS Prove you are ready to step up and take responsibility for what goes on with the team and help everyone succeed—instead of complacently accepting whatever happens by chance and not doing anything to change it. Standout employees aren’t necessarily the ones who don’t complain at all, but the ones who, after the complaints have been voiced, develop viable solutions for the less-than-ideal situations.
  18. 18. 2. NOT VOCAL ABOUT CAREER ASPIRATIONS Have you asked your manager about how the promotion process works? What is your pay grade? Where are you on the career ladder? Do your research on the position at the next level and how you can work you way up to that role?
  19. 19. 1. LACK OF BUSINESS, STRATEGIC, AND FINANCIAL ACUMEN Do you understand your department and company, where it's going, and what your role is in taking it there? Are you able to identify risks and opportunities for your business unit? Make strategy or make strategic recommendations based on your understanding? Can look at the financials of your business, understand the story that the financials tell, and either take appropriate action or make appropriate recommendations?
  20. 20. REFERENCES CAREER STRATEGIES Cleveland, J.N., Stockdale, M., & Murphy, K.R. (Eds). (2000). Women and Men in Organizations: Gender Issues at Work. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Jansen, Julie. I Don't Know What I Want, but I Know It's Not This a Step-by-step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work. New York: Penguin, 2003. Salovey, Peter, Marc A. Brackett, and John D. Mayer. Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model. Port Chester, NY: Dude Pub., 2004. Print. Debbie Meekins Interview: Developing Your Career and Employee Leadership Skills Mellody Hobson Interview: Cultivate and Grow Your Leadership Skills Sandberg, S. (2010, December 21). Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html Colantuon, S (2013, November 2013). Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_colantuono_the_career_advice_you_probably_didn_t_get
  21. 21. SUMMARY Know your industry and understand your role in the company. Set short and long-range goals to help you stay focused on achieving what you want. Be persistent. Don't let temporary setbacks deter you. Be Visible. Look for opportunities to take on more responsibility.
  22. 22. ABOUT THE SPEAKER Carla Fair-Wright, PMP, CSQE, MCTS is a software engineer with over 17 years of experience in the IT industry. She is a Senior IT Project Manager for Chevron, currently working in Global Power. Carla is the chapter author of two books, 'Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology' and 'Case Studies and Applications of Web Based Energy Information and Control Systems.' She has been featured in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) magazine, Maintenance Technology, and CODE Magazine.
  23. 23. QUESTIONS
  24. 24. Next Steps Please fill out online evaluation for this session Thank you for coming and hope you enjoy WE ‘14 in LA!

Notas del editor

  • The organizational structure of an organization tells you the character of an organization and the values it believes in.
  • What is a STAR?
    A method for describing behavior and actions taken by a person in a given situation
    Situation or Task (Why?)
    The background or context in which a person took action. It explains why the person acted as s/he did
    Action (What done & how done?)
    What the person said or did in response to the Situation or Task and how s/he did it. Actions are the heart of the STAR because they show us the person’s behavior
    Result (Effect of action?)
    The effects of the person’s actions. They tell us what changes or differences the person’s actions made and whether the actions were effective and appropriate
     
    Situation
    Describe the situation in which the person was involved.
    Clearly state what the challenges were, the obstacles, the resources available.
    Be as descriptive as possible in as few words as possible. The more concise your description, the easier it will be for the others to follow and understand the situation. If you ramble, people’s attention will fade.
     
    Task
    Describe the task to be performed.
    Sometimes the task required can be self-explanatory. If so, do not over-complicate the task description to make seem grander than it is.
     
    Actions
    What was the person’s approach to the problem and what actions were taken?
    Be concise, but specific.
    Actions should simple.
    This is also an opportunity to show decisiveness. What specific steps were taken to resolve the situation or accomplish the task?
    Be careful to only discuss what the individual did (e.g., not what the team did)
    This is where the person gets to shine
    Did they have to research solutions?
    Was their solution unique or creative?
     
    Results
    What were the results of the person’s actions?
    Again, be sure to only discuss the results that can be attributed to this person (e.g., not to a team of people)
    Try to use a measurable result
    “Within six months of launching the new process, system downtime was reduced by 40%” is better than saying “and now the system doesn’t crash as often as it used to.”
    If the result isn’t directly measurable, be clear in what the benefit was
    “The customer understood the charges and thanked me for going to the trouble of researching her complaint. In the end, she remained a loyal customer, even though the answer wasn’t the one she wanted.”
    False STARs
    Vague statements – provide no specifics
    S/he usually …..
    S/he always ….
    The team all participated…..
    Opinions
    S/he was the most accurate on the team ….
    Theoretical of future-oriented statements
    S/he would ….
    S/he would have ….
    S/he would like to ….
    Partial STARs
    Data given in bits and pieces
    Situation and action, but no result
    Situation and result, but only vague actions
     
    STAR Example
    Situation/Task
    Working on a new process not run in production before. Had to find a new way to control the rate of addition, so it could be scaled up to the production model without overpressurizing the container
    Action
    Performed multiple experiments using various lab equipment
    Result
    Successfully scaled up within two months, which met the required deadline. No overpressurization occurred.
  • Your 4 Master Lists
    There are four different lists that you need to create for different purposes to enhance your organizational skills and manage your time.
    First, you should create a master list on which you write down everything you can think of that you want to do some time in the future. This is the place where you capture every idea that comes to or every new task or responsibility that comes up. You can then prioritize tasks later.
    Second, you should have a monthly list that you make up at the end of the month for the month ahead. This may contain items transferred from your master list.
    Third, you should have a weekly list where you plan your entire week in advance. This is a list that is under construction as you go through the current week.
    Finally, you transfer items from your monthly and weekly lists onto your daily list. These are the specific activities that you are going to accomplish that day.
  •  “For a promotion, you need to find someone in the ‘power alley’ or in the position to promote you,” says Stacy S. Kim, founder of Life Junctions. “You then need to cultivate a relationship with that person. Learn about him or her so that you can then craft a story that convinces them it's in their best interest to sponsor you, and how you will help them and the company succeed.”

     An important part of getting your first promotion is identifying the person who can give it to you -- because it might not be your boss. As you work to find ways to stand out with your accomplishments, figure out who your audience should be

    Playing a key part in that person’s success puts you in a good position to get that first promotion.
  • While this means participating in company community service efforts, for example, it also means stepping up your everyday work. “When the decision-makers are reviewing who would be the best fit, let them recall not only your excellent performance, but also your awesome questions at the last team meeting,” Davies says. “Let your demonstrated value work for you.”
  • Jill

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