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    Women Business Leaders Should Dress for Success

    January 17th, 2013

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    A Signature Style is what helps us to create an unforgettable image and stand out from the crowd.

    Women business leaders inherently stand out from the crowd due to their gender. But how do you become memorable beyond your femininity?  Here are some pointers on how to create an unforgettable image by creating your Signature Style.

    Your wardrobe should contains the 3 C’s:

    Consistency         =          Credibility             =           Confidence

    Consistency -Consistency means you have a look that is in keeping with your message, your position, your personal brand.  Think Katie Couric, Oprah, Michelle Obama. They have a look that underscores who they are and what they stand for, and that is authentic to them.

    Your look should maintain a degree of consistency in order to be credible and should extend your professional brand.

    Credibility

    Credibility is given when you have shown that you are consistent with your personal brand, are authentic and have an image that matches your message.  Do not give up your credibility for the sake of comfort or lack of time.

    Pay attention to the details.  Don’t let things like panty lines, a bad haircut or dated clothing ruin your appearance. This will undermine not only your credibility but your confidence, as well as the confidence of those around you.

    Keep your appearance up, keep your wardrobe looking good and ensure it’s a true reflection of you to score the most points in credibility.

    Confidence

    Confidence comes in knowing you’re pulled together.

    When your look is consistent with who you are, your clothing is up to date and in great shape (no falling hemlines, etc), your bumps and bulges are managed with shapewear and your hair and makeup flatter your look, you just can’t help but feel confident!

    When you’re confident from the minute you set foot out the door you’re unstoppable!  You know you look great, but more importantly, you feel great and it shows!

    Taking time to ensure that your wardrobe is supporting you in the 3 C’s will go a long way in helping you to feel great about yourself!

    Summary

    The key to dressing for success lies in consistency, credibility and confidence. If women business leaders follow these simple guidelines your brand will flourish.

    Read Susan Creal’s full article on signature style, “What Do Bill Gates, Oprah and Michelle Obama Have In Common?”

    Another excellent is Mary Michele Little resource, Your Signature Style Coach with One Chic Mama Inc.  She is passionate about helping women entrepreneurs bring out their authentic style and take their look to the next level.

    To get her free report, Top 5 Secrets for Creating Your Signature Style, or to learn more about Michele, go to www.onechicmama.com

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    5 Tips to Maximizing Compensation for Women Business Leaders

    January 14th, 2013

    How women business leaders can close the “wage gap”

    While there are numerous statistics that assure women are getting equal compensation for jobs they perform compared to their male counterparts, there is still a male dominance at the top.

    So forget about the myth of unequal pay and focus on what you can do to level the playing field in the world of business.

    Here are a few pointers I’ve expanded upon that came from Penelope Trunk, founder of Brazen Careerist, a social network for young professionals:

    1. Stop looking paranoid. Not all men are out to get you. Seek out men who support your talents Instead of focusing on the bad apples, find the men who respect women, and prove yourself to them.
    2. Admit that feminism is not dead. But at the same time don’t align yourself with the feminist bloc, but rather view the notion as outdated.
    3. Don’t assume you’re being out-negotiated. Yes, women negotiate less, but it doesn’t mean they earn less. It’s just a different style. And, for those of you who want to get great at negotiating salary, here is great advice.
    4. Don’t pretend to be a guy at work. Don’t dress like a guy by wearing boring suits. Let you appearance exude your femininity while being true to your personal brand.
    5. Be kind to everyone. This is not a woman thing. This is a tolerance thing. And tolerance of the new millennium should focus on socioeconomic diversity rather than race or gender. Use your intuition and sensitivity when dealing with people in the workplace.

    Summary

    There is no longer discrimination in wages between men and women in the workplace. It’s against the law. However, that does not mean things are equal.

    To make things more comfortable and rewarding in your workday seek men who respect women and your particular talents, don’t be lured to the aged view of feminism, read up on negotiating, don’t try to be a guy by wearing boring suits and be kind to those you work with.

    To read more from Penelope Trunk click on this link to read the full article A Salary Gap Between Men and Women? Oh, Please.

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    Women Business Leaders and the Importance of Being Authentic

    January 10th, 2013

    Women business leaders should hone their skills so that they come from inside and are not a reflection of someone they are trying to emulate.

    This year’s catch phrase for women in business is, “Be your authentic self.”

    As I’ve mentioned before on these pages, women shouldn’t be like men. They shouldn’t hide their femininity, sexuality, communality, sensitivity and whatever else is attributed to women more often than men. They should be real.

    Here is sage advice from Marcia Reynolds on the road to authenticity.

    1. Look Outside

    Whenever making career transitions and reinventing yourself, look outside to determine how best to act. Imitate people you admire. This will feel awkward, but it will give you a chance to practice skills such as negotiating and persuading. As you become more comfortable with the skills, integrate them into your own style.

    This is a logical step in your growth as long as you can quickly shift from trying to BE someone else to DOING things like someone you admire. As soon as you can use your own voice and special talents, the more effective you will be in connecting and getting results.

    2. Look Inside

    When a situation is uncomfortable, you can authentically lock yourself into one “self” where you work hard to prove your point. Yet you can also authentically call on different behavioral patterns that are a part of you.

    When what you are doing isn’t getting results, sit back, quiet your brain and listen before you respond. In this space, you have access to many patterns of behavior and energy that you have developed over time.

    Early in your career you could call on Warrior energy to help fight your way up the corporate ladder. Latter, you might have better results using Connector and Inspirer energies.

    This process of identifying, focusing on some, and decreasing other behavioral patterns is how you grow.

    3. Don’t Look Anywhere; let it go

    It doesn’t matter what your audience thinks of you. For every moment you worry about their reaction, you are giving less than 100 percent. They need to see 100 percent no matter if they like you. Being authentic means being skilled, knowledgeable and disciplined enough to let go.

    Summary

    Being authentic is being yourself. If you feel as others are viewing you as inauthentic, you are being inauthentic; perception is reality in the eyes of the perceiver.

    If you have skills to incorporate into your business repertoire, you must practice them enough to be comfortable with them before you can use them as your skills.

    You have to feel comfortable using them so that you are self-assured that you are your own person—that you are authentic.

    Read Marcia Reynolds entire Huffington Post article, “How Do You Know if You Are Being Authentic?”

    Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D. is the author of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction. She is a professional coach, speaker and leadership trainer who works with a variety of people and organizations around the world.

    How do you define authenticity? What have you done to achieve it in moments when you are unsure of yourself? Sharing your ideas will help us all show up more powerfully in the world.

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    Women Business Leaders reveal 7 Secret Ingredients For Women to Grow their Business

    January 7th, 2013

    The information in this post is from the Internet magazine, The Next Women and what was learned when about 170 ambitious entrepreneurs and investors met up at the University of Cambridge ideaSpace to network and discuss different elements involved in the growth of a business.

    What was revealed were the Seven Secret Ingredients to Grow a Business:

    1. Start with a Great Team

    According to Female Internet Entrepreneur and the NextMentor Jana Eggers, CEO of Spreadshirt, the key elements to build and maintain a good team are:

    • Communication and Trust
    • Fire people quickly and let people leave
    • Only trust negative references when hiring people
    • Have a simple goal, clear enough for all employees to understand and focus
    • Give both Guidance and Autonomy

    2. Develop A Strong Advisory Team

    Create an advisory board with a “star” entrepreneur who will influence business decisions and investors. The type of people you manage to get on board will reflect the quality of your product idea and business plan thus endorsing your idea.

    3. Adapt to Dynamic Markets

    Timing and adaptation to new markets is essential along with a market for the product or service. The customer base must be established and the market identified. Stay tuned to changing and emerging trends and adapt your business plan accordingly.

    4. Follow your Customers

    Successful serial entrepreneurs will keep telling you, “Follow your customers!”  An excellent entrepreneur will be able to predict what her customers will want in the near future.

    Care about what people say about you and your brand. The importance and influence of “word-of-mouth” in constantly increasing so good customer relationships are essential. Identify your company detractors, the ones who wouldn’t “recommend you to someone else” on the survey feedback, and follow up. You learn best from your mistakes.

    5. Have the Ability to Fund Growth

    Entrepreneurs have to find investors they can work with. Transparency and trust are key. The person who invested money will be working closely with the entrepreneur and her team for several years, so their relationship will be very determining. Be careful of the kind of money you take on.

    Any investment comes with a different baggage, different strings attached. You may want to think through carefully what is expected from you and manage expectations: accept the fact that you cannot do everything.

    7. Plan on Global Expansion

    There are 2 ways:

    • Choose a country where you already have competitors, implying the presence of relevant customers and markets,
    • Go where opportunities and gaps are and find the right local people and partners to work with.

    7. Learns from Failures and add Luck to the Mix

    There are no set rules to grow a business successfully but entrepreneurs learn from each other through shared knowledge and experience. People learn from their mistakes and from their competitors’ mistakes. Unfortunately, luck is also a big component of a growing business.

    As business leader Ashish Patel said, “I’d rather be with a lucky investor than a smart one.”

    As entrepreneurs learn from mistakes, adaptability is also a key skill to have to be able to follow the trend, market, and customers in order to grow a business further on a long term basis.

    The event ended with a few words by Mark Littlewood, the Founder of BLN, summarizing the main themes which came up during the Growth Forum: Honesty, Bravery, Passion, Simplicity, Great Advice and Timing.

    Summary

    To grow your business, it is essential to have: a great team, an entrepreneurial “star” on your advisory team, adaptability to dynamic market change, ability to follow your customers, resources to fund growth, foresight to expand market globally, and the ability to learn from mistakes. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.

    Read the entire article, Business Leaders reveal the 7 Secret Ingredients to Grow your Business

    http://thenextwomen.com/2010/07/20/business-leaders-reveal-the-7-secret-ingredients-to-grow-your-business/


    4-Step Approach to a Social Media Plan for Women Business Leaders

    December 6th, 2012

    POST is one of the most effective acronyms since the four P’s of marketing. It’s a four-step approach that can help women marketers define a social media marketing plan for their business and/or clients.

    The POST method is the heart and soul of the book, Groundswell, written by Forrestter Research analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoffand. It is  highlighted in Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell blog post, The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy. The POST Method serves as a guide to help you determine the right strategy for the right audience.

    Josh says, “Executives are going about social strategy backwards: picking technologies like blogs or communities first instead of focusing on what they want to accomplish.”

    Your purpose should dictate strategy and the tactics used for reaching desired goals. A few common outcomes for your social media marketing efforts should include:

    • Gain insight into your target audience – You can use all the qualitative data you want, but some of the most interesting and helpful market research can be found within the social communities where your prospective clients interact, share information and make recommendations.
    • Link building for traffic and SEO - According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web. Creating linkbait and promoting it to social media news and bookmarking sites can attract a slew of links from bloggers that read them. Creating value for the community is not the only rule, creating value and behaving according to formal and unwritten rules is what sustains social media sourced link building.
    • Build brand visibility and authority - You’ve heard it before,“Conversations are happening online about your company’s brand, with or without you.” You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your prospective clients – providing them with information and interactions that further support your company’s brand.

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    Women Business Leaders: Do You Have a Social Media Crisis Plan?

    December 2nd, 2012

    Using social media to respond to a crisis is timely and effective, but your response must be deliberately managed and controlled. A well thought-out crisis plan should not only inform your audience that you care – it should also pay attention and respond to online conversations.

    As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure you retain control of the messaging your business puts out there. In an article by Chris Syme titled, “Got Crisis? Get a Social Media Mindset,” she outlines the three elements of a social media crisis plan:

    Transparency
    According to Chris, transparency doesn’t mean your company should expose all its warts to the public. Rather, it means making the effort to be open and show a willingness to communicate, even in times of crisis. Chris notes that “silence is a sign of negligence, whether we like it or not.” Be prepared to have an open dialogue even when you would prefer to say “no comment.”

    Honor immediacy
    Basically, you need to be prepared for an emergency or crisis so that you have a well-crafted and sensitive response to situations that could be difficult or stressful. The time to craft these statements is not when you or your business is in the midst of a crisis, however. Chris also notes that even if you don’t have all the information, it’s better to say you are trying to find out rather than offer no statement at all. A timely, “we are looking into it now,” shows that at the very least, you acknowledge the situation and are concerned.

    Remember it’s not about you
    Chris notes that this is the hardest concept for companies facing a crisis to understand. “When you have herds of media knocking at your door,” says Chris, “it’s hard to remember that the public really doesn’t care about you.” They want to know what happened and what you are going to do about it.  Think about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how BP mishandled the early responses.

    Planning for a potential crisis is key. Having a response ready will give you a moment to regroup while showing the online community you care. Protecting your brand requires thought and planning, especially today. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on protecting your brand: “Social Media Branding Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid,” and “6 Ways Women Business Leaders can Protect Their Brand.”


    3 To-Dos For Women Leaders To Surround Themselves With The Right People

    November 30th, 2012

    Women business leaders should evaluate the company they keep, both within the business day and socially.

    Have you ever spent time with someone and wondered. “Why am I wasting my time?” There is an old proverb that reads, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”

    Quite often we become like the people we’re around. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of the short- and long-term implications.

    I have worked with people who looked for negative alliances. A group of actively disengaged employees would hang around together, waiting for the opportunity to talk about how bad things were.

    We all know that if you hang around people who don’t like their jobs or their lives, you’ll become like them.

    Clint Swindall, president and CEO of Verbalocity, a personal development company, suggests 3 “to dos”  to help you surround yourself with the right people:

    1. Analyze your crew

    Surround yourself with people who support and challenge you. Create a support system of  people who enhance your life and will help you reach your goals. Do an analysis of your circle of friends and evaluate whether they add to your life or take away from it. Measure their successes by what you are aspiring to.

    2. Filter out the negativity

    You know that you have good instincts – use your antennae to find the negativity and them make sure that you keep it as far away from your life as possible. Refuse it. Not only does it impact our perspective regarding our own lives, it impacts our mental health.

    If there are negativity supporters or exponents in your organization, you need to have a serous talk with them. If they refuse to change their attitude, you have to get rid of them. They can foster and fester a cancer that will spread through your company and kill your goals, dreams and, ultimately, your livelihood.

    While your success can be determined in part by whom you surround yourself with, it can also be determined in part by whom you choose to not surround yourself with.

    3. Dedicate time to the relationships

    Our lives are so busy that sometimes we have to dedicate the time to interact with the people who mean the most to us. If you need to schedule time to keep in touch with friends and family, put it on a calendar.

    If you’re around someone with a cold, you’ll probably catch the cold. What are you catching from the people around you? These relationships in your professional and personal life are as important to your success as the work itself. Do everything in your power to surround yourself with the right people.

    Summary

    Not often are successful businesses run by one single person; generally you’ll need a very strong support staff that is committed and faithful to the goals of the company. If there are naysayers or negativity artists on board, success will inevitably be derailed before the train gets a full head of steam.

    Use your intuition to select people around you who will compliment and contribute to your goals and boot the detractors off the train before any serious damage is done.

    Read Clints entire Forbes.com article, Surround Yourself with the Right People.

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    9 Simple Ways Women Business Leaders can Reach Their Goals

    September 26th, 2012

    As women business leaders, we have all achieved some kind of goal, but I have been wondering how intentional these milestones really are. For instance, I had never been a runner, but I was inspired by the New York City Marathon while living in New York. Watching the ecstatic runners cross the finish line, I decided that it was going to be me the following year. Having set this goal I was able to plan, train, visualize myself finishing, create milestones while training, make friends with other runners, track my progress and have real clarity about the outcome. I wanted my identity to be a “marathon runner.”

    Reading these tips from Celestine Chua on Dumblittleman.com really made sense when I compared them to how I achieved a random goal – becoming a marathon runner. Think about your own goals and try some of these tips to help make your own goals become reality.

    1. Concentrate on 1-3 goals
      If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick to them.
    2. Create a vision board
      A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly, which inevitably inspires you to take consistent action.
    3. Create milestones
      If you just set one huge goal, it can be discouraging – especially when you don’t achieve it after a short while. I find it’s helpful to break a big goal into smaller goals.
    4. Create a plan
      The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal, because that’s when your motivation is the highest.
    5. Track your results
      It’s important for me to track the results of what I do. Otherwise it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1-2 performance metrics, and then track those metrics daily/weekly.
    6. Have goal buddies
      Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, cheer you on when you feel unmotivated, give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal and keep you on track.
    7. Start documenting your goal pursuit
      Having a blog or private diary to document your goal pursuit can be a therapeutic experience. When we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal.
    8. Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals
      For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor.
    9. Learn to say no
      Do you often put your goals aside for other people? You can’t put your life on hold for others! Learn how to say no and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

    I realize now that I instinctively used many of Celestine’s tips in planning and focusing on my personal goal to become a marathon runner. But these tips can easily transfer to your business goals, as well.


    How Women Business Leaders can Spot a Liar

    September 23rd, 2012

    While I hail from a rather dramatic, perhaps dysfunctional (as we all do in some ways) family, two values were etched in my character: Never break a promise and never tell a lie. As a woman business leader and business owner, these values have helped me stay grounded throughout my career. I have to admit, though, that the drama also comes with a license to exaggerate – but only for the purposes of a good story, of course!

    Consequently, spotting a liar has been very difficult for me. I think these tips I’ve condensed from an article by Bill Rosenthal and Carolyn M. Anderson are very helpful.

    When evaluating a potential liar, consider these three behavioral signals — that is, both what they say and how they say it:

    Discomfort
    Does the person seem uncomfortable about what she is saying? The visible anxiety may be caused by guilt or fear of getting caught, which leads liars to hurry to end the discussion and even look relieved when it’s over. Their feet might be pointing in the direction of their getaway — perhaps a doorway or a hallway. They may also put a barrier — such as a briefcase or purse — between themselves and you.

    Evasiveness
    Someone who withholds information or keeps the conversation vague when you ask for specifics might be lying, particularly if that person finds it hard to remember something that should easily be remembered.

    Manipulation
    Is the person using data that’s suspect? When you ask her a question, the liar may answer with much more detail than is needed. She may also use overly explicit language for emphasis: Adding lots of detail is a common trick of con artists, for example.

    New Research
    Aside from those three behavioral clues, you should also consider if the speaker is more likely to lie. You’ll find plenty of new research on this subject. For example, a person who is under pressure is more apt to stretch the truth than someone who is not.

    I hasten to add that these tips are just guidelines and to use them with careful consideration and thought. Just keep in mind – not everyone who exhibits some of these behaviors is lying. They just might be nervous or have to visit the ladies room!


    How Women Business Leaders Can Create Effective, Sustainable, Healthy Organizations

    September 21st, 2012

    These are the basic principles that will apply to any organization, whether it exists to make money or to fulfill its mission. As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, I am passionate about my business and the causes that I am involved in. I find these tips from Fredia Woolf extremely relevant to the health of either.

    I’ve summarized Fredia’s “7 Essentials for an Effective, Sustainable, Healthy Organization” and added my thoughts for you here:

    1. Leadership ability and commitment
      Fredia notes that, “At the heart of every successful organization lies the quality, competency, vision and drive of its leader or leaders.” I think most of us have experienced lackluster leadership, whether in businesses, schools or government. It shows in the lack of enthusiasm of employees, students and staff.
    2. Strategy
      Without clarity and direction, says Fredia, it’s difficult for employees and staff to feel as if they are part of the process. Leaders need to communicate the organization’s strategies so that team members can set goals that are aligned with the corporate goals, and work together to achieve them.
    3. Communication from and visibility of senior leaders
      According to Fredia, “Highly capable leaders who craft a brilliant strategy yet stay in their offices … will not create high performance or healthy organizations.”  Not only should good leaders be the voice of the organization to the outside world, they should communicate often and openly with their team. Keeping staff informed and updated helps them to feel part of the overall success of the business.
    4. Accountability
      Fredia makes a good point, noting that many times leaders either micromanage their team or don’t offer enough support or direction leaving employees to flounder. Finding balance between those two extremes makes sense not only from a productivity standpoint but also from an employee satisfaction standpoint. Empowering your team to make decisions but also holding them accountable for their work will create an engaged and purposeful team.
    5. Remove structural impediments
      Rather than referring to office walls and closed doors, Fredia is suggesting that there may be political, organizational or even personal agendas in a business that hamper it from growing and adapting. Healthy organizations will acknowledge internal impediments exist and work towards a goal of removing them.
    6. Creating a sense of team and trust
      While it is important to gather employees that have the technology and technical expertise to help your business stay profitable and current, Fredia cautions that companies cannot afford to forget about teamwork and trust. You can employ great technical minds, but if your team doesn’t communicate and trust one another, your organization will flounder.
    7. Focus on coaching and development
      Fredia’s last point is so important, and something I feel strongly about in my own business. Coaching and mentoring your team to help them reach their full potential not only helps your business by maximizing the talent your team already possesses, but it fosters team members who will go the extra mile for you when the going gets rough.

    Rather than think of employees as expendable or as a business asset, grow a culture of trust, communication and mentoring to create a team culture that fosters healthy effective sustainable organizations. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on mentoring, “7 Way Women Business Leaders can Mentor and Motivate Others”, and “Itzhak Perlman Inspires Pointers on Perfection for Women Business Leaders.”