The Forest and the Trees at Work

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | No Comments

I received the email message 20 minutes before our coaching session was about to begin. This young woman executive was asking to reschedule – again – because she had just been called into a meeting that was very important and she was very, very sorry! When we finally got together, I pointed out to her that this was the third time she had rescheduled at the last minute, plus she had cut one session short due to a work emergency, showed up late to one session because a meeting ran over and she hadn’t completed her goals yet. “Your company is paying me whether you show up or not,” I reminded her. “But this is an opportunity to focus on you…

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The Self- Promotion Gene

By | Executive Coaching | One Comment

The young woman I coach sent a frantic message: “I really need to talk! Are you available tonight?” She learned that afternoon that the new CEO not only passed her over for the promotion but now had her reporting to her rival for that bigger job. Distraught doesn’t begin to capture what was going on for her and she needed a shoulder to lean on; maybe next week we could begin to talk about next steps. “My problem is that I focus on doing great work and thought that would be enough;” she sniffed. “Vivian spends her time telling others how good she is.” I’m sure there are some sour grapes in that mash but my poor, sad client was on…

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Quitting vs Letting Go: The Enemies List

By | Executive Coaching | 3 Comments

Five years ago I walked out of my corner office and my role as CEO in an information services company to start a new work life. The reasons were many, some push, some pull, but they’re not important now. What is important is to acknowledge that the transition came with as many lessons about my own personal foibles as it did about starting and running a small business. I found admitting the business mistakes was far easier than admitting the hard truths about my own strengths and weaknesses; after all, I used to have people to take care of “my” accounting and “my” IT and “my” marketing. It was natural and easy to admit that I needed to learn how to…

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Lazy Brains

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | No Comments

The corporate acquisition had barely been finalized when the divisional CEO – my boss – called to discuss moving one of the operating units from the new company into the company I ran. “Kathi,” he argued, “it makes perfect sense. Most of their clients are media companies, like your clients. But their profits have been slowly and steadily declining over the past few years. I think this move could energize the employees and benefit the products they offer by reexamining them from a syndicated research mindset. Think about it. But I firmly believe it is the right move.” I was new. I had much to learn about the business I was running and I needed to give him an answer quickly….

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Bias vs. Behavior: What Explains Gender Differences at Work?

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | 2 Comments

The Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article last fall that hasn’t, in my opinion, received enough media attention: “A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women are Treated Differently at Work.” S. Turban, L. Freeman. And B. Waber, October 23, 2017. Citing data that reports women are underrepresented in the C-suite, receive lower salaries and are less likely to get that first promotion to manager, they set out to investigate the question: do women and men act all that differently at work and, therefore, do behavioral differences drive these sorts of career outcomes? They used a large, multi-national business strategy firm to do their research. In this company, women made up 35-40% of the entry-level workforce but a…

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I Am SO Over “Personal Brands!”

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 3 Comments

Are you the star of a reality show? Do you have products or services licensed under your name? Do you aspire to either of these achievements? If your answer is no, you should not be marketing yourself or your career as a brand. I offer another essay from the Curmudgeonly Crone, continuing my rant on bad career advice floating around which, in the end, only serves those floating it. These folks arguing that we need to develop our personal brands to assure career success may, indeed, hope to launch classes and services offering us help under their personal brand. What is a brand? The dictionary defines “brand” as: 1. A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular…

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Lessons from Imperfect Bosses

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | No Comments

My caller ID indicated that London was on the line and I immediately felt those butterflies that seemed always present during my first year or two of being a CEO. It was early morning. VERY early morning, in fact, but I had already made the mistake of once pointing out the time on the U.S. east coast while being upbraided for being unavailable when one of these morning calls came in. “Do you know what time it is in London?” our corporate CEO had asked me. As a matter of fact I did: it was noon in London. “Do you remember that you work for a British company?” I did remember; how could I forget? “Do you think me unreasonable to…

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Beware of Bad Career Advice!

By | Executive Coaching, Management | 5 Comments

Call me old, cynical or just plain curmudgeonly but I am on my last nerve reading about “business” people with almost no business experience who are “transforming their personal brand” and offering “business” and “career” advice to the masses. Pardon the quotes but it is the only polite way I know of calling it the way I see it. What offering came close to pushing me to the edge today? This, from a “career strategist” on LinkedIn: “Instead of ensuring that the role is a good fit for you, make sure the MANAGER is a good fit for you. It is crucial that you fully vet the person who will have a big hand in your career success. Make sure there’s…

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I Resolve To…

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 3 Comments

I confess that I love the entire concept of the New Year. To me New Year’s Eve gets me ready for a fresh start. I clean my cabinets; go through each and every drawer in my desk, shredding and organizing. I carefully list expenses preparing for the accountant. And I think carefully about my resolutions, intending to usher in the New Year with an improved version of myself. But I didn’t get to be a Crone without years of management and leadership experience, giving me license to suggest some resolutions for my younger readers looking to get ahead at work or readers of any age just trying to appreciate their lives more. Take what you will from this list. I only…

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It IS Who You Know!

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | One Comment

I have always used my own career as proof that knowledge, skills and a driving work ethic were “all” you needed to succeed. I entered the business workforce not even convinced I wanted to be there, believing that an academic path was still my sure route to success and this first job was just a way to pay the rent. I’ve told you what happened: I fell in love with business, helped in no small part by serving the mission of The New York Times, and, in the blink of an eye, I ended up on a career trajectory that led me to assume the stewardship of an information services company for more than a decade. I was smart and hard…

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