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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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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