Ways to get to the top, straight from the best!
Forbes has successfully brought together world’s most successful women to recount their experiences of reaching the top and what it took for them to reach the zenith of prosperity. The keyword is balance, as has been agreed upon unanimously by these powerful global women. All of them are of the opinion that while they have progressed in their careers, they have also managed to enjoy life beyond work.
The women who were interviewed have all cultivated their own success stories in different fields, some having climbed the ladder of the corporate sphere, some zigzagging their way upwards through many companies en route, some by starting and running their own businesses with flourish. And their individual ways to achieving success tell all the women out there that irrespective of the domain where we find our niche, each of us have to be responsible for our success, championing our ideas and being the landscapers of the career-path that we have chartered out for ourselves.
The first and foremost piece of advice that these women have given out is to wake up early. Be it Michelle Gass, the President of Starbucks, Andrea Jung, the Avon Chairperson, or Anna Wintour, the editor the Vogue, they all vouch for the multiple merits of developing the habit of starting one’s day early.
Next, they opine that women must negotiate early and often. Research reveals that women do not negotiate as often or as successfully as men, which in a way also contributes to the lingering gap in gender wage. This gap is more noticeable in developing countries, and it increases with age. This must be done way with, if the mantra of negotiation is followed religiously by women worldwide.
The third cue is ‘delegate’. Every working woman should think of her career as a juggling act of many balls, and she has to decide which ones are made of glass, which would shatter if dropped, and which ones are made of rubber and would bounce back. She can then choose to give away the rubber balls. Further, Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg advises the women of today to adopt their mentors and to leverage them. A meeting should be followed with an email, for the same. An interesting article can also be sent or they might be connected with someone who might be helpful. It is also important to maintain the relationship over time. This will, in due course, lead to an opportunity when you can ask them to recommend you for a job or make an introduction.
Today, women have to be driven by an insatiable curiosity, readiness to learn and the ability to adapt to new environment. It is an age where changes are happening at a lightning pace, and thus, as Anne Sweeney, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, puts it “The smartest thing you can ever do is to constantly ask questions.” Another secret, as given out by these women is to “listen.” We need to hire people who are smarter than us, provide them with the tools to do their jobs and then listen carefully to them, thus opening up to different kinds of information, which will make our conclusions that much better. Women also need to be persistent in order to pursue success. Stamina and patience are indispensable.
Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme, says that women also have to get comfortable with the word “no” - sometimes she will hear it, sometimes she will need to say it, though it is one of the most difficult words for women to use. However, as she remarks, it will get easier with practice. Next, a woman has to plan definite career goals, both long-term and shot-term, and then work her way to those.
Last but not the least, a woman must sow seeds of courage within her in order to reap success. She has to pinpoint what she wants, and then stand up for it. Beth Mooney, the CEO of KeyCorp, narrates her initial hitches and failures, thus reasserting that the new-age woman must raise her hand for the big opportunities.
So what are you waiting for, take note of these leading ladies and become one yourself!