A couple of months, I had the opportunity to be at the #WomenInTech session where the conversation pivoted around how #WomenInTech are Taking and Making it one step ahead at a time. A range of topics were covered on how one's mind-set, aspiration and passion coupled with opportunity, an enabling environment, guidance, resilience and professional networks are critical to navigate a long and meaningful career for #WomenAtWork.
In this article, I am sharing what stayed with me after the session..
* Mind-set is key : The way you view yourself, your capabilities and your work is the most important determinant in how you navigate your career and life as your view of yourself influences others perceptions of you (both consciously and sub-consciously)
* If you need something and know what it is, make sure you work towards getting it. Many times, a lot of people tend to adopt the 'wait and watch' approach. In today's fast-paced hyper-competitive environments that we work in, it is prudent to take charge of what you have to do, own it up and make it happen. That is what is valued by organizations and C-Suite leadership
* It is OK to not know everything. If you don't know, have the courage and strength to ask someone who does, or to invest in learning
* Diversity in teams makes great business sense as it brings in multi-dimensional insights and perspectives to problem solving and innovation. Diversity could be in terms of geographies, cultures, age groups, gender.... In the long run, diversity in teams can be a very strong differentiator for winning teams as it catalyzes 'new ways of thinking', 'pushing existing boundaries' and 'challenging status-quo'. Hence, focused efforts in investing in building diversity in teams can open up new doors and windows which can propel new growth trajectories
* Speak Up : As women at work, it is important to ensure that your voice and views are heard at the right forums / in front of the right leadership. A well thought through perspective backed by data and storytelling are powerful ways to make your point and convey message which gains audience attention and engagement. Key is to ensure you are well prepared, have done your home-work and have multi-dimensional insights on the topic you are speaking about. Be confident and clear when you speak
* Build allies and professional networks : It is good to build allies and professional network at work who can provide well meaning and balanced inputs and feedback , especially for critical career milestones or work assignments. Having this feedback from a different function / team (say HR or Technology or Sales in case you work in marketing) or from executive leadership ensure that you have a real 360 degree view of things.
* Executive sponsorship / mentorship is good : While many women navigate their corporate career path through trial-and-error (mostly), there is immense value if you have an executive sponsor / mentor who can provide well-meaning advice and guidance at critical career milestones or when you are at the cross-roads. For mid / senior level women, it may be worthwhile to actively seek out executive sponsorship / mentorship to help you orchestrate your career path
* Create a unique personal brand : As women grow up the corporate ladder, it is important to create a unique personal brand for yourself. Way too many women consciously make efforts to blend in consciously (for e.g.: wearing black in a business meeting) or unconsciously (by ensuring that they concur with majority). Do ensure that you work on being aware of your unique personality and let it shine through
* Readiness and Opportunity go hand in hand : For long term career growth, both individual readiness and organizational opportunity go hand-in-hand. If you are ready to take a higher role or position, it is good to explicitly ask for the same. A good question to pose to one's boss / HR Manager would be "What do you think I should do to get that job (say a CMO) / or a role?". Many times, it can actually turn out that an individual is ready to take a higher career role, but the opportunities don't exist within the organization. In such cases, a good consideration could be to look for growth outside the current context - either within the organization or externally
* For lasting change on #WomenAtWork, men need to be an integral part of the #WomenAtWork conversation and solution. A good reflection of that was the audience in the session had about 30% men in attendance, in contrast to most other sessions I have attended on this topic - which usually typically had ~95% women
Any questions / feedback? Leave a comment below..
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