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You Date a Company; You Don’t Marry It

I’m taking a little break from the Balance Series. This week includes a little insight into some of my rhetoric I use when out inspiring people to play a bigger game for themselves.

Last week I found myself talking to amazing women at a couple of events on how to articulate their awesome. On both occasions, I reiterated my standard theme:

You date a company; you don’t marry it.

I constantly use this phrase as a frame for referencing the different “dating” phases you, as an employee, go through.

Phase 1: Swiping Right on Tinder vs. Looking a company up on Glassdoor
Phase 2: The First Date vs. The Interview
Phase 3: The First Blush of Love vs. The First 90 days on the job
Phase 4: Saying “I love you” vs. Getting your first big project

These side by side analogies are endless; however, most come to an end with the inevitable breakup. Continue reading “You Date a Company; You Don’t Marry It”

Do You Know What You’re Great at Doing?

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I got in trouble in school for bartering snails for colored pencils. Yes, my school mates traded their beautifully sharp and colorful Caran D’Ache pencils for slimy yet speedy snails. Interestingly, it wasn’t bringing snails into the school that was the problem. It was the deal making and wheeling and dealing manifesting on the playground instigated by yours truly. Clearly, my entrepreneurial spirit was not encouraged where I went to school. Such a shame. And just in case you needed further evidence, my bartering wasn’t limited to snails. I was a conker broker as well.

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but this was one of many shenanigans as a precocious little girl which should have clearly shown me a path to a career in sales. It’s always seemed second nature to me to find a solution a problem or provide resolution to someone else’s. If there’s a win for both of us, that’s even better. The question “why might they want this?” is always foremost in my mind.

And what does this flashback have to do with the idea of balance? The first step on the path to finding team balance is knowing yourself. Continue reading “Do You Know What You’re Great at Doing?”

Looking at the whole and not just the role

Welcome back to part three of the “Balance Series.”
Read Part I: How can you be courageous so you can be brave? and Part II: Do you practice organizational empathy?

I’m not sure if my first exposure to the concept of talent balanced teams was an accident or if it was just the first time I was mature enough to notice what was going on. Either way, it totally changed the way I thought about building leadership teams.

Back in the early 2000’s while I was at CNET Networks (soon to become CBS Interactive), I was part of the team that supported the sizable and complex sales organization. I was partnered with the Client Services lead Stacey DeLarios and the Ad Technology lead Adrian D’Souza.

If you ask me how life is today, I generally say “crazy, but good crazy.” However, that period with Stacey and Adrian was genuinely bizarre. It was the beginning of the tech bubble explosion and we were just as impacted as our friends. What it meant for us, however, was this weird combination of almost annual (and terribly painful) layoff rounds, accompanied with this continued acquisition of new brands and companies into the portfolio.

During this period Stacey, Adrian and I leaned on each other in a way that I’d never experienced before. It wasn’t planned or even discussed, but we had this immediate and mutual respect for our individual talents. Not only that, but we sought each other out to work through problems that weren’t necessarily in our “lane” of responsibilities but were in our “lane” of unique talents.

We were in the thick of it at the time and didn’t recognize how this mix of gender, personality, talent, culture, skills, style (I could go on) actually worked better for us as a team. It was when Adrian left several years later, Stacey and I noticed the hole. It was never quite the same again. Continue reading “Looking at the whole and not just the role”

Do you practice Organizational Empathy?

I was reminded the other day about the first time I was hired to speak professionally. I was driving with my husband Randall to the Berkeley Yacht Club. We passed a tall shiny high-rise tucked between the Bay Bridge and the freeway. I mentioned casually, “That building is where I did my first professional speaking gig. Up on one of the highest floors is a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay.” The event seemed like a lifetime ago and made me think about that first presentation. All the rhetoric of “you are the product” and “personal value proposition statements” and my favorite “every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room that you’re not in” had not been developed. They were glimmers of ideas.

What did I talk about? What did I share with a room of women looking to get some practical advice and a little inspiration along the way?

I addressed the idea of “Organizational Empathy.” I shared that when I disagree or get frustrated with someone, I pause for a second to consider: What if I walked in his shoes? Would I react to this situation differently?

My argument with that group of women, up in the high rise, long ago was the idea that we all should look at things from all perspectives. And if you’re empathetic to someone else’s view of the situation, someone else’s perception, then maybe you can find that bridge to collaboration and mutual success. Continue reading “Do you practice Organizational Empathy?”

How can you be courageous so you can be brave?

These days, I spend most of my time asking people to change. Mostly I coach them just to change the way they talk about themselves but change nonetheless.

Recently, I was meeting with a group of remarkable women, listening to how they would apply what they’d learned from my coaching. I must admit, my heart sank a little. It sank because while the room understood that they needed to evolve how they branded themselves and how others saw them, they were still afraid to push the necessary boundaries. These eager and successful women were really afraid of being their bold, authentic, unique, and compelling selves. My heart sank because I knew exactly what they were feeling: I’ve been afraid too. My heart sank because, in my eagerness to teach the idea, I had forgotten about the fear. Not acknowledging that fear was my fault. Continue reading “How can you be courageous so you can be brave?”

You Are The Product

How to present yourself in a powerful & impelling way.

There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t read some article explaining successful people’s morning routines. I’ve stopped reading them as I generally end up feeling like I’m still not doing enough. Feeling bad about yourself is not a great way to start the day. That said, my morning routine includes reading articles that have collected in my digital feed from the previous day. I’m a big fan of using Feedly to make this easy. I scan through roughly 300 articles a day. One might say it’s a bit of a problem.

However, this prolific reading is a great source of inspiration and ideas for the work I’m doing. Which brings me to this week’s newsletter and a conversation inspired by one of those articles: Andrew Medal’s 5 Investment Firms Reveal What They Look For In Startups.

You should read it yourself, but the five pieces of advice were:

  1. Fix a problem others ignore.
  2. When you pitch, focus on the big picture.
  3. Create products that have a glimpse into the future.
  4. Reach out to VCs physically near you.
  5. Have a balanced founder team.

Continue reading “You Are The Product”

I’m not funny. I’m just brave – Lucille Ball

Do you remember the word I decided was going to be my “word of the year” this year? BOLD.I’m a little over a month in and have learned some lessons along the way. I thought I’d share them with you and see if you were inspired to create your own word. There’s no rule stating you can only do this on January 1st.

Lesson 1 – Being intentional with something new takes effort.

I’m surprised by how often I have to remind myself that I’m supposed to be bold. Every time I have an interaction, I find myself asking myself the question, “Is there an opportunity to be bold here?” I wonder if anyone has built an “Intention reminder app,” it would be great for my phone to ping me at random times and nudge me into boldness. Where might you need a nudge?

Lesson 2 – Asking myself to be bold is making me have a serious conversation with my inner critic.

I had a teacher at my last job, Antonia Galindo,who shared with me the idea of the “Itty bitty shitty committee.” It’s that imaginary jerk that perches on your shoulder and tells you “no” or “you’re not good enough” or “who do you think you are?” or my personal favorite “they will judge you if you do that.” By bumping up against my inner fears on a regular basis, I’m also getting regular practice at shutting up my I.B.S.C., something I’ve struggled with for years. Do you? Continue reading “I’m not funny. I’m just brave – Lucille Ball”

Mismatched

Companies buy keywords and other targeting options to identify the jobs that might fit Linkedin users. But do they?

I received an email this week, as I do every week, from LinkedIn telling me that a company had a role I might be interested in. The role, Sales Order Management Specialist, was just one among many other similar roles. Instead of immediately hitting the delete button (my usual reaction to this weekly email), I think it’s time to question LinkedIn and their customers — is it me or you?

For starters, let me explain why this particular job listing clearly isn’t a fit for me. Some of the key requirements include:

  • 2 to 5 years of order management or order admin experience
  • Strong customer service and communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Outlook

I absolutely meet those requirements, technically. Even ignoring my current role as CEO, my previous job had me leading revenue operations for what is now a $1B media company. I think even the employer in question would agree that I’m not the candidate they’re looking for. Is the data scraped from my profile not clear? Continue reading “Mismatched”

Money Makes the World Go Round

One of the things I get to do these days is to work with companies that are looking to build out their “women’s” program. Is this the only solution to the current challenges? No, but it’s a start. I’m not going into that debate today. I’m thrilled that smart companies are bringing in people like me to make sure there is a plan for success. Positive signs people, positive signs.

I was working with a team the other day that got me thinking. We were having a conversation that I’d had with almost every team. A conversation about budgets — creating budgets and spending budgets. Continue reading “Money Makes the World Go Round”

Good Intentions

I learned this year that many of my friends set an “intention word” for the year. Not a resolution but a theme, a guide to center them throughout all the twists and turns the upcoming year will inevitably deliver. I was inspired. Now I have a word – BOLD!

My first BOLD move is to start this initiative. The team at The Amplify Lab and I have plans to highlight people who we think are doing interesting things or have ground-breaking ideas. We’re going to ask thought-provoking questions and share with you thought leadership that piques our interest.

Please join us in our initiative to learn about some amazing people and ideas, find out more about what I’m up to, and what we’re doing at The Amplify Lab.

But before I go, what is your word? We’d love to know.