Thursday, July 25, 2013
If you're in a position of power, people probably believe you to be a confident, hard-driving person.
If only they knew.
The reality is that inside you're a churning mass of insecurities and doubts, always afraid that others will find out you're not really what they think.
If you feel this way, you're not alone.
Some highly successful people have felt the same way, including Avon's first African-American female vice president, Joyce Roche.
Roche says she has suffered from imposter syndrome, a feeling that comes from believing you're a fraud and not deserving of the success you have attained. She suffered internally from the constant churn of doubts and a feeling that her success would come crashing down unless she worked all the time.
In a new book, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success, Roche shares her insecurities and how she learned to beat her feelings of self-doubt.
"I want women who are highly successful to know they're not the only one who have those feelings going on internally," Roche says. "I also want them to know that comfort does come with time, and I can hopefully help them find ways to quiet that inner voice of doubt sooner."
Both men and women can have imposter syndrome, often characterized by a feeling that one success will not be followed by another and not believing what others tell you, Roche says. If you have the problem, you also may keep your upbringing or educational degrees a secret from peers and think that you always have to have a backup plan in case you're discovered.
Being a workaholic or perfectionist are other characteristics of someone suffering from the problem. Such tendencies can lead to emotional, physical and mental ailments that can derail a career and a personal life, Roche says.
Want to get a handle on your own imposter syndrome? Here's what Roche advises:
• Speak up. Don't try to contain your feelings and cope with the stress on your own.
Tell a trusted friend, family member or mentor. If you can't do that, try (read more here)
Friday, July 19, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Remember the first time you heard about Twitter?
At the time, you may have scoffed and said you could care less about what someone ate for lunch. But years later, with 400 million monthly visitors, the social network that uses 140-character tweets shows that millions of people obviously feel differently.
Millions of people follow famous personalities or celebrities on Twitter to see what they think. Not content with that information, they also may regularly check Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites to stay abreast of what co-workers are doing or what industry leaders are saying.
That drive to know what others are saying or tweeting provides important lessons for those who want to be more influential, says Kurt W. Mortensen, author of Maximum Influence.
"Social validation boosts your influence," he says. "People will always believe someone else before they believe you. We think that if someone likes you or your product, then it must be good."
That means recommendations on LinkedIn or "likes" on Facebook can boost your influence, as can your ability to tailor your persuasion skills to individuals, he says.
"Probably one of the biggest mistakes we make in trying to influence others is trying to persuade them in the way we like to be persuaded — and not the way they like to be persuaded," he says. "Most of us only have three or four persuasion tools, and that's another mistake."
A person has many ways to persuade others, from conveying the right body language to telling stories that evoke emotion, Mortensen says. The key is listening carefully to garner enough clues to use the right techniques so the other person is moved to trust you and believe what you're saying.
"I'm not talking about manipulation," he says. "It's not persuasion if it's not a win-win for everyone. But if you believe in a product, then I believe you have a moral obligation to persuade someone to buy it instead of letting them go with an inferior product from someone else."
So if you have a great idea for your company, then you need to also find the best way to persuade your boss to accept it.
Such a move can be tricky because you have to be careful, Mortensen says. You don't want to step on the boss's ego.
"Make sure you're asking the right questions so that you're sort of leading the boss down the path you want him to go. Don't just dump data on him," Mortensen says. "It doesn't matter if he ends up thinking the whole thing was his idea. Check your ego at the door if you really want to get something done."
Whether trying to influence the boss or a roomful of colleagues, he says one of the best ways to get others to follow your direction is through the use of stories.
That story will help the most if it is emotional, according to a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School study. Researchers found that of 7,000 newspaper articles in The New York Times, those that go viral on the Internet are those that arouse emotions, such as happiness, anger or anxiety.
Another way to boost your influence: Don't make the mistake that only higher-ups have the power to make things happen, Mortensen says.
For example, a job candidate should (read the rest here)
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
After a long day of business on the road, I have been known to hole up in my hotel room and have room service deliver a hot fudge sundae while I watch a marathon of "International House Hunters."
I always feel guilty doing it, however, because I know that I'm missing opportunities to engage in great conversations with other people. (I don't feel the least bit guilty about the ice cream.)
That's why I'm going to follow the advice in this column I did for Gannett/USA Today. Read on...
If you're like many business travelers, you're only thought at the end of a day may be to head to your hotel room, watch True Blood and order room service.
But for Patricia Rossi, business travel is more than getting from point A to point B with a minimum of hassles. She sees it as a golden opportunity to network and make new contacts.
"Most of us already have a beautiful relationship with the (television) remote," she says. "Business travel is a great time to get out of your room and meet people."
Rossi says the hotel chain she frequents when traveling — Hyatt House extended-stay hotels — offers evening socials that allow her to meet other business people in a relaxed setting with food and drink already on hand.
"All I have to do is show up, smell good and be nice," she says.
Rossi sees something special in breaking bread with contacts on the road, and inviting more than one contact to a meal can take the pressure off you.
"People really appreciate it so much," she says.
She also organizes "tweet ups," she says, contacting regular Twitter followers and asking them to meet her if she's in the city where they live.
"You've already developed those relationships online," Rossi says. "But this is a chance to get kneecap to kneecap with people, which is so important."
Another gold mine of networking opportunities is a hotel gym, she says.
"You're in there, blowing off some stress and staying healthy," she says. "I've developed some of the best relationships with people I meet in gyms."
While many employers trimmed business travel during the economic downturn, it is starting to make a comeback. In 2012, employers spent about $225 billion on domestic travel, a 5% increase from 2011.
That uptick may be because of the bottom-line effect of employees being on the road. Specifically, an Oxford Economics study conducted for the U.S. Travel Associationfound that 57% of business travelers say trimming their travel budget during the economic doldrums hurt their company's performance.
Rossi, a business etiquette coach, says if you're reticent about approaching strangers on the road to make a business contact, try these tips:
• Be observant. Spotting other business travelers with their briefcases and professional dress is easy, but also look for body language that shows a person is open to starting a conversation.
You can start with a simple, "Where are you headed?" and see if a person is open to talking. The guy who turns his body away from you or the woman who doesn't offer a friendly smile is revealing through body language that he or she is not open to chit-chat.
• Share a business card. Nothing is more off putting than watching "someone pat his body down like he's on fire" as he searches for a business card, Rossi says.
Always keep business cards in a handy spot so you can present one easily with your name facing the recipient. If you're the one receiving the card, make a polite comment or ask a question about the company where the person works.
• Follow up. Whether you make a new business contact through an evening get-together or in the airport security line, make sure you send a follow up e-mail or handwritten note.
"If the person mentions that a daughter is graduating, send a follow-up note saying that you hope everything went well," Rossi says. "Or, if the person mentions a love of NASCAR, follow up with an article about NASCAR in a handwritten note."
Notes sent through regular mail are especially powerful for establishing a connection, she says.
"Have you ever seen people go to the mailbox and get personal mail? They rip right into it first instead of the bills," Rossi says.
Friday, July 5, 2013
I consider myself really lucky because if I have a good idea, I run with it. Sometimes that idea doesn't always work out, but I think the excitement that comes from being creative and exploring new options can't be beat.
I remember well what it feels like to work for an employes that wants you to do things the company way, and would prefer you not think too much, thank you very much.
That's why its heartening to hear about L'Oreal, and the efforts they're making to encourage all employees to offer their ideas in this latest story I did for Gannett/USA Today....
If you're so unhappy with your job that you plan to look for a new position this year, you're not alone.
A recent Monster survey finds that 81% of workers who have used their Monster account in the past three years plan actively to seek another job this year and 79% report they're confident they're going to land another position
A desire for more money is a motivating factor for many workers, according to the online survey of nearly 6,000 job seekers. But so is a desire for a more personally fulfilling position.
Such reports can be unsettling to many employers.
Companies have been operating with lean staffs for many years because of the economic slowdown, and they may dread the thought of high turnover just as they're ready to ramp up operations.
At least one employer, L'Oreal, is trying to head off such turnover by offering workers a chance to develop more meaningful and fulfilling work, similar to what can be found in start-ups.
Michael Larrain, president of active cosmetics for L'Oreal, says employee surveys show that workers stay on their jobs for more than compensation. They also want work that lets them have an active voice, something he experienced as part of start-ups for a decade.
That's why he's focused on creating a culture of "intrapreneurialism," or instilling the entrepreneurial spirit within the company so it spurs innovative thinking, passion, ambition and growth.
"I want everyone to ask questions about why we're doing the things we're doing," he says.
That also means that everyone is encouraged to try new ideas without feeling they will be berated if they fail, Larrain says.
"We're going to strike out many more times than we will hit a home run," he says. "But when we do fail, we'll look at what we learned from it and what we can change for the future."
Larrain says he's aware that employees — especially younger workers in Generation Y — want more career development opportunities. Each employee works with a manager to come up with a career development plan because he wants to ensure that top talent doesn't leave.
"I'm watching managers to make sure they're listening to employees. I want them to throw ideas out there and then listen to the discussion," he says. "Our leaders need to be very, very, very strong communicators to establish trust and make sure people feel free to speak up."
As part of that effort, he has established a leadership development program that gives four sales representatives in the United States a chance to be mentored individually.
"We weren't doing a great job of preparing managers and vice presidents to be successful," he says. "That was forcing us to go for external hires," which can be expensive and time consuming.
Instead, Larrain says he is aiming for up to 70% of top positions to be filled internally, creating what he calls "a bullpen of superstars."
Larrain also uses a phone conference once a quarter to get feedback from sales representatives. Calls can range from 45 minutes to two hours, he says.
"I don't get to be in the field as much as I would like, but over the last two years we have developed a level of trust so that they can share what they want. There is no agenda. It gives me a chance to see what morale is like, and where we may be dropping the ball," he says. "It keeps the managers on their toes because they know I've got a link directly to the people in the field."
One program designed to spur that entrepreneurial spirit among all employees is one that mimics the ABC-TV reality show Shark Tank.
Each team at L'Oreal took eight weeks to work with a coach on developing dozens of ideas that were presented to senior leaders during two days in New York. Decisions were made immediately on the viability of an idea with one brand bringing a handful of ideas that "were done immediately," Larrain says.
"It created a buzz throughout the entire division," he says. "It showed that enthusiasm, hard work and entrepreneurship was noticed and acted upon. It's helped really give us jump forward in creating the culture I want."
The number of employees planning on leaving their current position as cited in the Monster survey makes Larrain even more convinced he's on the right path with transforming the culture.
"I want my people to know that they're more than a number in this division," he says. "I want an assistant to walk into my office and tell me she has an idea. I think it's extremely healthy for people to feel they have a voice."