The jobs picture in 2012 showed a significant slowdown in big jobs going to women, but some powerful changes did occur this year. IBM, the bastion of corporate America is now run by a woman, Ginni Rometty; and Yahoo appointed Marissa Meyer CEO who was 8 months pregnant - no more hiding that baby bump. Microsoft just appointed two women to run Windows, Microsoft’s bread and butter product. This demonstrates the reins of power are slowly being handed over to women, and that power is part of the 21st century woman‘s DNA. I see that everyday on NewsonWomen, and I learn a lot just from reading about these powerful women. So I want to share some of that with you, some specific suggestions of what you can do to be a powerful 21st century woman.
1. Think Strategically - IBM CEO Ginni Rometty over ten years ago saw the need for IBM to change to more of consulting company than a hardware company. She saw the need for a more global approach to business and pushed IBM into emerging markets. Very strategic, but she also was able to persuade her associates to move in those directions. That’s where the power comes in. While we all can’t be CEO of IBM, let’s talk about examples of strategic thinking you should be doing every day. You can ask yourself 1. How is what I am doing today important to the company? How does my job fit into the company, how does my company fit in to my industry? Are we ahead of the curve, behind in technology or just even with everyone else. And where do we want our company to be? Thinking about this every day will create suggestions in your mind you can make to your boss -- which brings me to my second point about power.
2. Speak up at Meetings - People need to know who you are and what you have to contribute, you need to show them how you can help the team. I know it’s not easy to speak up when there are only a few women around. So we should be use women's conferences and events to practice. I always wonder, why do we ask women to speak out more and then have them sit quietly during an event listening to a speaker? Conferences need to make sure women make connections. This brings us to point #3.
3. Networking - Everyone always talks about Networking, but its not that easy for everybody. How many of us really do it well? One thing we know is that social media makes networking much easier. Social media is your golf course - it's twitter, linkedin and facebook where you can find partners, investors, mentors, industry contacts and all the things men do on the golf course where women have been excluded for years. And Networking is more than just finding a job and making contacts. It’s about information. For example, I use it to send news to people. If I see an article about a new company starting up or raising equity that is similar to someone I know, I send it to them so they know what’s happening in their industry. It‘s been really helpful to people who may be too busy to read as much news as I do. And it magnifies the impact I can make by sharing info I find. We can all do this - connecting each other to info that is helpful, and building our power base.
4. And while people are connecting to you, Be open to new ideas and don’t be constrained by the limits that surround you. Final products almost never look like the original idea. Twitter started out as people saying what they had for breakfast, now it’s the fastest way to get the latest news and connect quickly with those you need to.
5. Use all the technology available. If social media is your golf course, think about your "golf bag of social media" being filled with clubs like twitter, linkedin,
facebook, Pinterest, instagram, foursquare etc - in golf you need different clubs for different situations. You don’t try to putt or pitch with your driver. Same in social media. Facebook may be great for friends, but maybe Linkedin is better for professional connections, and twitter better for breaking news stories. Or you may find a totally different way to use these "clubs".
So if you want to increase your power footprint, remember these power points:
1. think strategically,
2. speak up at meetings and make sure people know
who you are,
3, network and support your co-workers and friends with information they might find helpful,
4. be open to new ideas,
5. and use all the technology available to expand your "social media golf bag".