June 30, 2016

“What do you want to do with your career?”

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.  - Napoleon Hill

The first step in accomplishing anything is to decide you want to do it. As a senior executive, I mentored many younger employees. The first question I would typically ask a new mentee is “What is it you want to do with your career?” More often than not the response I received was “I don’t know”. This is an acceptable response from someone right out of college or from someone who may have just joined your company. But many times this response came from people who were five and ten years into their careers. I wanted to respond to these individuals: “Unfortunately, my crystal ball isn’t working so well today”.

There are many things a mentor can help you with, but deciding what your goals are and what you want to get out of your life and career are things that only YOU can decide. After all, each of us defines success very differently. If you don’t know wha...

January 26, 2016

Bully Busters: Five Tips for Dealing with Corporate Bullies


Kids on the playground are not the only ones dealing with bullies these days. Unfortunately, there are quite a few grown-up, corporate bullies out there too.


In fact, a WBI study found that 57% of women are targeted for workplace bullying. And not all of that ugly treatment is by men—some of that bullying is by other women. In a nationwide poll by the Employment Law Alliance, 45% of American workers say they’ve experienced workplace abuse. This study also showed that 40% of workplace bullies are women. They also found that female bullies pick on other women more than 70% of the time.


Why are adults, including so many women in a wide range of professions, bullying each other? And if you’re being bullied, what can you do to change the dynamic?


As the first woman to hold many of the leadership positions in a Fortune 200 company, I sometimes found myself in this situation. Since a woman had never held these positions, so...

December 4, 2015

Proven Networking Tip


I was recently a panelist along with some other key executives at an industry forum. The discussion centered around networking and relationships. A question was asked for advice on how to meet someone for the first time and begin an initial conversation. One of the panelists,the state President of a global company, confided  that she is an introvert and used to dread going to meetings where she did not know anyone. She shared some great advice handed down to her from a mentor.


Her mentor encouraged her to  introduce yourself and then ask the other person what they do for a living. No matter the response, say, “that sounds like a really hard job”. She said that invariably the other person would dive in and give you lots of detail about just how hard their job is. In that conversation you will find lots of nuggets of information to continue to move the conversation along.  


Developing a relationship is much more about listening to others than trying to tell the...

November 17, 2015

Make the most of a feedback session

When asked about the thing most managers dread about their job, the number one response is giving constructive feedback. Yet this is the most important task for any leader. As someone who came out of college and was leading a team at 22 years old, I wish I’d had some guidance on how to make feedback sessions more effective for my team members. After 33 years in corporate America, here is a simple outline I learned to use for making the most of a feedback session.  


Before the meeting:

  • Find a private location to have the discussion and notify the employee that you want to have a discussion about performance. This will help take the surprise out of the meeting.  

  • Beware of feedback overload. Most individuals can get overwhelmed when you are giving them feedback on more than two areas, so be sure to focus your discussion on a few specific items.

  • Do your homework. Make sure you can give specific examples of problem areas or areas where the em...