Getting heard … Part 2

Some ideas to try;

– if you are bringing a new idea or key results to a meeting where you are concerned that you won’t be heard take the time in the day or two before the meeting to meet with several key players.  Review your ideas with them and take their input onboard.  When the meeting comes around you will then have some people onside

– Think about how you present your ideas.  Many folks, especially women. want to go over the whole story.  They start with the problem, the history, the dead ends, the challenges and move towards the solution.  So many times, fewer words are better.  Start with what you want – approval, budget, more time, change of direction.  Then give a short why, how, when and $ and then open for questions.  Time is limited and you may find everyone agrees and they don’t want the full background.

– Think about the words you use.  Women are more inclined to start with words and phrases that suggest doubt; perhaps, maybe, another idea, it may not be a good idea, this may have been tried before.  Rather than building inclusion and discussion this encourages others to think maybe the idea has no merit.

– Read this “oldie but goodie” – every women needs to take the key learning from this on board and also any men who feel they are not heard –

Take the best seat….

When you arrive at a meeting early enough to have a choice of seat, think about where you would like to sit!  Get there early and have all the materials you need for the meeting.

1.  Meeting leader at the top of the table – if you are the project leader take the seat that goes with it.

2.  Leader support (PA or other) on the left and right of the leader so that they can have an aside if need be

3.  The other end of the table is a conflict position so avoid that

4.  Pick right of left side half-way down for best eye-contact without conflict

5.  Someone you find difficult?  Ask them to sit beside you.  It will build rapport and also it is very difficult to have conflict with the person beside you

6.  Take your space with your materials, welcome other by standing shaking hands and if you don’t know them give your first and last name and credentials or title.  This gets over people wondering why you are there

7.  Don’t offer to take notes or get coffee, this positions you as a very junior participant.  Often for women this may undermine you confidence and respect if you accept.

8.  When the meeting starts, ensure you are sitting straight and slightly forward with all your materials organised in front of you.  This will make you look ready and confident of your position.  (Don’t allow the inner voice give you ideas about being an imposter).  When you sit straight you look for confident.

A slightly different view:

Are you an imposter?

I would like to share with you that the first day I moved into the Managing Director’s office at Apple, I wondered what I was doing there! Did others think I deserved the role, would I perform at the right level, what did others expect?  This is the “imposter syndrome” at work.  Two years later we won “Employer of the Year”!

So many women say to me that when they are promoted or take on a new role they feel like an imposter.  Why don’t the alpha members of the workforce have this feeling?  I don’t know.

Inside each of us is and “internal critic” and it is important that we tame this beast.  Remember that the person who put you in the role or promoted you had confidence in you and it is in their best interests for you to be successful.  They don’t expect you to “know it all” immediately and if you do then it really wasn’t a promotion. They will be ready to support and help.

Each of us is only able to give of our best and I am sure if you give your best and turn the volume down on the “internal critic” you will not only be good enough but surpass your own expectations.  BE BOLD

Are you happy with 80%?

In Australia, most women work for 80% of the dollars that men would earn for the same role.  Part of the problem is the way women avoid money discussions.  Many women I speak with see that money is a once a year discussion and when there is a “freeze” they drop the subject altogether.  When I ask about it they have comments such as “I love my job”, “I don’t like conflict”, “business it tough right now” and a variety of others.  We all hope to be working in a job we love and have our work appreciated, but there are long term ramifications for not ensuring remuneration is part of the conversation.  If you are paid less, you are assumed to have few skills, you are less likely to get the next promotion, you limit the remuneration of those in your team and you will limit your income available for charity support!

It is up to you to “talk money” or equality of remuneration will continue at the level it is today.

Am I aggressive or focussed, determined and assertive?

Have you ever been called aggressive? I have during my time at Apple. If I had been a man, I am sure that my determination would have been seen as a positive attribute. As a woman, I think my male CEO felt threatened. He was comfortable with women in secondary roles but not leading. I found the tag “aggressive” an uncomfortable label.

For the first 10 years of my time at Apple I was working to build the education market for Apple in Australia. It was hard work, computers were new and expensive, few teachers had computer skills and schools could only afford a few systems. I was determined that computers could enhance learning. I could see from my teaching background that word processing, programming, spread sheets and other applications could provide new learning environments for students. It was exciting for me to be at the front of the wave of change. I worked really hard, doing tenders, writing the first software directory, running in-service programs to give teachers the skills to get started and bringing technology to the school. I was also successful bringing in over 50% of the Apple Australia revenue. I was not the demure and reserved employee that our leader wanted as a woman.

In 1997, I became Managing Director at Apple in Australia thanks to the sponsorship of Steve Vamos. One of the first questions I was asked by the press was “Who I had trampled to get the position”. I was stunned and saddened. My success, I firmly believe was around the ability to provide an inclusive workplace for all. This included flexible working, working from home, focussing on the outcomes of our team as a group rather than individual heroes. We won “Employer of the Year” in 2000 –the highlight of my career.

For 9 months in 2000/2001 I was treated from Breast Cancer. I job shared Managing Director with my Marketing Director and had confidence that the Executive team would work together to make the best decisions for the company. Apple in Australia continued to thrive during that time.

Since then I have succeeded in founding and growing Xplore for Success ( from the germ of an idea to a thriving business with a revenue of over two million dollars.

If someone asks me today if I am aggressive I have a better answer. I am determined that Australia moves towards more inspiring leadership, more inclusive workplaces and that both men and women can thrive at work. I am clear on my vision “Gender equality is everyone’s business”.

Have a go!

Have you ever considered the two meanings of “Have a go”!

The first is to attempt of try something out, get out there and experience something new. In the case of the budget, the government is hoping that something new will mean each small business will go out and spend $20,000 on something they may or may not need. Let’s hope our small business leaders understand that such purchases will still affect their cash flow.

The second meaning of “Have a go” is to attack physically. It is this meaning that came to mind when I looked at “have a go” and once again saw our pugilistic Prime Minister preparing to fight. He is a fighter; of that there is no doubt. Having not won his fights in 2014 against pensioners, families, unemployed and others – “are you a lifter or a leaner”.

In 2015, he is fighting against the “double dipping” of mothers and the women experiencing violence or those who care about women experiencing violence. The minister for women is once again showing his true colours and true views of women.

Unfortunately for Australia, I think the second meaning influenced our current government when they chose the slogan.

“Double Dipping” – Tony you disappoint me again!

We had an election where you seemed to think paid parental leave was a good idea! Give all women their full salary (up to $150K) for 6 months plus Super!

I loved the 6 months and the Super payments. However, I believe a “fair” plan from the government would offer equal payments to women and then business could enhance as they saw fit.  Together with many others, I believe we needed focus on the 3 to 5 years and also pre and post school care so that parent’s work was not so impacted by hours of 9 to 3pm.

The plan we had already at least put us in the OECD list and was considered a little short by most but not too bad.

Then you drop the plan that you had constantly talked about. Then you have changed it so it is no longer universal so once again we are at the bottom of the OECD list. You are just motivating organisations to drop their payments. Super which was so important to you has gone by the board again.

Then you insult mothers who had simply and legally been paid PPL – what is wrong with you?

And how about childcare, before and after school care?

And we haven’t heard one word from you about the problem of “Domestic Violence”….37 women dead this year.

What kind of Prime Minister are you? In my view, just a prime minister for the boys!

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