I Am SO Over “Personal Brands!”

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 2 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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Tell Us How You Managed!

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

You can’t watch TV, go online or read the news right now without hearing about another man in power being accused of sexual harassment. From learning that even the mighty Harvey Weinstein could be exposed (irony intended) to the solidarity offered by #metoo, which garnered millions of supporters within hours of Alyssa Milano’s Twitter post, many women in the business world are deciding that they will no longer tolerate the unwelcome advances, pressure for sex or the retaliation when they refuse. However, the title of this essay is dripping with sarcasm, in case you missed it. I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading in an article in The New York Times in which men indicated “… they planned to be…

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Fear and Blindness

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 2 Comments

A portion of my coaching practice focuses on individuals who engage me to assist them in taking the next step in their career. Sometimes they want to change industries or change positions. Sometimes they are looking for a job and want some help with interview practice or resume review. And sometimes they’re stymied, ready for the next big promotion and not sure why they haven’t received it. I recently had a call with a man who was ready for the next big jump in his career but senior management didn’t agree. What was going on? He was currently a sales executive in a Fortune 500 company with a 10+ year sterling track record. In his early 40’s, he had been with…

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Dinner with Fabulous Women

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | 7 Comments

Two experiences happened recently that inspired today’s essay. My husband and I were sitting in the lobby bar at the Hotel Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, waiting to meet friends, and were admiring the scores of photos of famous people that adorned the walls. Deliberately nursing our drinks before dinner, we started a game, guessing for one another which of those famous former patrons we’d choose as dinner companions. After bemoaning how few women were on the walls – at least compared to men – I silently made my choices and then my husband astounded me by guessing every one correctly! I can never really claim to be misunderstood. A few months later, spending a day in NYC before an evening at the…

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Ready for My Closeup

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

The bottom fell out of the U.S. economy in the fall of 2008 and most businesses – and individuals – didn’t quite know what hit them. The business I ran was heavily dependent on the consumer magazine industry, which was already beginning to feel the effects of consumers’ move to the Internet. We had begun to shift our strategic direction earlier, paying even more attention to the treasure trove of data that we collected each year and mining it for broader use and additional revenue streams. Our head of marketing, a smart and hard-working woman who had created a smoothly functioning and strategically focused department from not much more than shoe strings and tape, was releasing data nuggets to the press…

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The Dark Corners of Polite Society

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

The business section of The New York Times on Sunday, August 20, 2017, contained an article, “Exposing a Toxic Milieu for Women in Economics,” by Justin Wolfers, that, for me, added one more brick to the wall of an already awful week. We saw clansman and neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, resulting in violence and death. We saw terrorism attacks in Spain and Finland. We saw our national leaders respond inconsistently, offering little moral or ethical leadership designed to bring us together. I wanted nothing more this beautiful Sunday morning than to curl up with good coffee and read The New York Times. Then I came across this article and was smacked in the face with the reminder that there remain many…

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