Sunday, November 3, 2013

Your Best Career Opportunity is NOW

Your career is only as good as your current opportunity.

Most people think about their careers in linear form. In other words, they judge where they are based on their career to date and where they want to take it.

There's nothing desperately wrong with that of course but it isn't terribly inspiring.

The past is, well, the past. It's gone. And yes, of course past experience can be valuable when pursuing your next 'step' and yet, in some respects, the past in uninteresting.

The future is where 'goals' sit: aspirations to achieve a particular level of success perhaps. Or to work your way up the ladder.

Again, there's nothing wrong with this thinking, those goals just may never happen due to choice or other factors.

The truth is, your career is happening right now beneath your nose. And my question to you is: "Is your current career giving you everything you want right now?"

The opportunity isn't in the past or the future. It is here, right now.

So, right now, are you choosing to make the best of this opportunity?

Are you getting the most from it?

Are your values being met?

Are you utilising your deepest strengths?

Are you delivering the value that you know will make you feel most fulfilled?

If you answered 'no' to any of those questions you need to challenge yourself by asking, "What's missing?"

And make sure that your next career opportunity plugs those gaps.


Friday, October 18, 2013

How to Make Better Decisions, with "Supercoach", Michael Neill

Decision making is actually straight forward when you trust in your inner wisdom to find the appropriate answer for you.

In his book, "Supercoach", Michael Neill essentially talks about two questions, to help you arrive at better decisions.

You can apply these questions to decisions you need to make around your career, your relationships, or whether or not you want to buy a pet...

Question 1: Do you want it?

Quite simply ask yourself if you want something:
"I want to be writing this article for you."

"I want to be sipping my coffee."

"I want to ask for a raise this quarter."

"I want to continue being trodden on."

"I want to continue to lie."

"I want to worry about money."

If you do want to, do it. And if you don't want to, don't.

Question 2: What do you think?

Trust yourself and tap into your inner wisdom to guide you in making your choices. As Neill points out:

"Wisdom is ever present and always kind.

Wisdom comes most often in the midst of inner quiet.

Wisdom feels right, even if it doesn't feel good."

What decisions do you need to make today?


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Not 'Ambitious'? Don't Worry; The Only Way Ain't 'Up'

"So, how ambitious are you?"

"Yikes!" you think. "I'm not ambitious at all... I was dreading him asking me that."

Interviews. Performance reviews. Chats with your boss. All of these situations could result in your degree of ambitiousness being called into question.

There appears to be a widespread perception in the corporate world that to be any good, or to be regarded as an asset to your company, you must also be 'ambitious' (which, in most corporate cultures, means 'wanting to work your way up the ladder').

In my mind, that definition is limited and is actually held by only a small percentage of the working population and yet, their definition has become the standard to which everyone else thinks they must adhere.

A Client Said...

I had a client recently who was talking about his performance review and how he should handle 'that' question about ambitiousness. "If I was talking to friends," he said, "I'd say the truth: I don't want ever to be a senior manager leading a massive team."

"And how would you reply if your boss asked the same question?" I asked. "Well, I would have to tell him what he expects to hear: that I'm ambitious and want a top job in the long term."

Surely the problem with this is that this client could well end up with exactly what he doesn't want: a job that doesn't inspire, engage or motivate him.

I often like to challenge the 'rules' that are created by perception; it is just in my nature.

So What Does 'Ambitious' Mean?

I believe that being 'ambitious' simply means 'to have ambitions - goals, needs, a mission - that you yearn to fulfil'.

Yes, a small percentage of people do have ambitions to be the next CEO/COO/CFO.

A larger group have ambitions to reach a certain level of seniority, or to manage a certain number of people, and then want to stay put.

And then there are some people who have ambitions to compete in a triathlon every month and so fit their training around their working week.

Some people have ambitions to spend as much time as possible with their families.

Some people have ambitions to seize every learning opportunity they can.

'Ambitiousness', by my definition, is about having a mission (or goals, or ambitions) that you believe deeply in and that you pursue with as much energy and passion that you can muster.

So, To Your Next Meeting...
So should you be cautious when discussing your ambitions with your manager?

Well, that's up to you.

But all I suggest is you get very clear about what your deepest ambitions really are across life and work, for an engaged, happy and enthusiastic employee will always be more likely to deliver, both for themselves and for their organisations.


Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.

At A Career Crossroads? Use Your Values To Guide Your Decision.

Andrew Penn, CFO Telstra

Last week I attended a networking function, co- hosted by The Financial Review and The University of Sydney's Business School.

The CFO of Telstra, Andrew Penn, was the keynote speaker who offered a series of very honest thoughts about a range of topics, most notably for me: his views on effective career management.

Being an individual and coach who believes deeply in the power of values - and the importance of seeking outcomes that support those values - I was thrilled to hear what Andrew had to say about his own career choices.

He told us that he realised early on how important both 'challenge' (a value) and 'opportunity' (a value) were to him: any role he has taken, since starting out as a clerk in a shipping business, had to meet these criteria.

What a simple strategy: to ensure your values are met.

Consider your career today and where you want to go. What do you really want to get out of it?

Might it also be 'challenge' or 'opportunity'?

Or perhaps to broaden your 'knowledge' or deepen some specialist 'expertise'?

(These are all values: they are factors that are important to you).

Perhaps you need your work to bear 'immediate results' or maybe you enjoy seeing 'results over a longer time frame'?

Whatever your values, be mindful of them. Basing your career choices on them will bring you untold fulfilment and success.


Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Deal With Confrontation

This isn’t new news, but most people struggle with confrontation. If that’s you, it probably boils down to your very human need to be ‘liked’ by everyone.

Naturally, you want to feel a sense of belonging and when people challenge you and your opinion, or outright disagree with you it can shake that up.

Suddenly you are unsure if this person is accepting, or rejecting you. Suddenly you are not sure if you belong in their little circle or not. Suddenly you feel alone and at sea.

There are a multitude of tactics you can adopt in such circumstances and I’d like to touch on one today.

Let’s start by asking 2 questions:

What is your default position as soon as you are faced with confrontation?

What role do your ‘persecutors’ believe you play?

Thomas Kilmann produced an interesting set of options that you might like to consider (TKI Model) above. Here are the options:

Option 1: Do you back down immediately and effectively run away from the problem?
Option 2: Do you accommodate their wishes and berate yourself for ‘being so soft’?
Option 3: Do you spontaneously challenge them back and go round in circles as you butt egos?
Option 4: Do you look for ways in which you could work together to find a solution?

Consider options 1 and 2 above.

If your ‘persecutor’ has come to think of you as someone who will either run away or back down, s/he will smell blood immediately and go in for the kill. As soon as you compromise, you haven’t got a chance.

If you go with option 3, you’ll be butting heads all day.

Which leaves option 4 as the strongest (and only) path to take. And there are plenty of ways in which you can collaborate.

I don’t want to get into those strategies here – that’s for another time. But what I do want you to consider is which of these default positions you naturally choose when faced with confrontation.

And secondly (and perhaps more importantly) which is the position your ‘persecutors’ believe you will take.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘push over’.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘doormat’.

You don’t want to be known either as a ‘hot head’ who will only ever push back when challenged.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Greatest Myth: To Be 'Resilient', You Must Be 'Unbreakable'

I work a lot in the corporate world and often find that many corporate cultures operate in a dramatically different ways to the rest of the world.

Someone, somewhere along the line introduced this concept that to be 'resilient' at work, you must be some sort of superhero: unbreakable, unbendable and therefore wholly reliable.

Not only is this totally unrealistic, it creates greater problems than it solves.

Resilience differs from person to person and from organisation to organisation. People working in emergency care for example are under very different pressures to people working in a travel booking office for example: their needs for 'resilience' therefore differ enormously.

But whatever your culture, resilience has nothing to do with being superhuman.

Resilience is wholly about three things:

1. Adaptability.
2. Flexibility.
3. Resourcefulness.

The more flexible and adaptable you are to circumstances that come your way the more open minded you will be when solving problems. You will become creative rather than stressed. You will seek solutions and opportunities wherever you can. You will summon new resources because you will be looking for them.

So the next time this word, 'resilience' gets bandied around the office in a rather unrealistic, unimaginative way... get creative. And see what happens.

What are your thoughts about 'resilience'? How do you view it? Is it a 'corporate' word gone mad? How does resilience show up in your personal lives?

Love to hear your thoughts!

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.


Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Establish Your Personal Brand BEFORE Any First Meeting

Your personal brand exists purely in the minds of the people you interact with, be that your clients, managers, recruiters, friends or children.

In the words of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, "Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room".

When it comes to first impressions in business you have a wealth of tools that you can draw on to help support the image you wish to convey before you've even engaged in your first handshake.

Here are my top 10 tools to build your 'first impressions' personal branding arsenal. Use them to demonstrate your professionalism, value-add and expertise and you're much more likely to build trust and credibility from the start:

1. CV

It's never been good enough to have a drab CV. Thesedays you simply can't afford to be a wallflower; the competition is just too fierce. And a recruiter - or potential employer - sifting through a stack of CVs during her tea break doesn't have the time, or interest, to reach page 3 of your CV to read the juiciest, attention grabbing stuff. My advice? Make your first paragraph count. Cram it with 3-5 high impact statements that really sell your value, and potential value, to your reader.

2. Email address

A big bug bear of mine is unprofessional email addresses. If giving out a personal email address why use, when you can have an address like this: It would be easy for people to make a negative judgment about the first one but not about the second. Simple.

3. Your Advocates

Think about who you want talking about and representing your brand. The referees you choose for your CV for example say a lot about you. If your referee is a CEO a recruiter might think, "This candidate is well connected," or "This person has credibility." Think too about who is talking about you - do they have credibility? Do you want to be associated with them?

4. Your Reputation

What are you known for? If you were to think about the most influential, or well-known people you work with the chances are, some sort of 'value-proposition' comes to mind. Perhaps s/he is a 'go-to' person for something in particular? Or s/he is the most knowledgeable on a specialist topic? What is your reputation built on? What do people think of when they think of you?

5. Your Social Media profiles

You know as well as I do that it matters what you post online. Does your LinkedIn profile truly reflect your achievements to date? Is your facebook profile embarrassing? Are you tweeting endlessly and if so, what are you saying? Are your social media antics beneficial, or a career limiting fiasco?

6. Blog or website

It's becoming more and more common for regular 'careerists' to have their own websites and blogs. Why? Because they're a great tool to demonstrate your expertise and value. And I LOVE that! And even if you've only just started out writing a blog or you have a really simple website, that still tells me you have guts and initiative and helps establish a positive perception of you.

7. Video or audio

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, why not record yourself sharing an idea or opinion about something topical? Video CVs will probably come to replace the traditional paper and online versions so get ahead of the game; you could even post your videos on your blog!

8. Portfolio

A physical portfolio, to showcase your work and ideas, is a tool few people use which makes it highly valuable. If you are in the graphic arts or media industries you may be using one already but if you're in accounting, law, finance you might not have considered how powerful a weapon a portfolio can be. Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge through articles written about industry issues. If you've had these published in trade magazines or on your in-house company intranet, all the better but your unpublished thought pieces are also gold.

9. Business card

Your business card has the power to make or break a first meeting. Your aim is to establish credibility quickly so if your card is bland, or printed on poor quality paper stock, you might want to rethink it. A job title can also help establish your authority or memorability. My friend Ben is owner of the Australian Beer and Wine School; his title is 'Head of Liquids'. Yup - that sticks! If you work for a global organisation and you're stuck with your 'safe' corporate card, help it work harder for you by making yourself more memorable (in a positive way, obviously). There are plenty of ways to do that including...

10. Attire and Grooming
My grandfather always said, "You can tell a lot about someone based on their shoes". Are your shoes scuffed or the heels worn? Are your clothes tailored or hanging off you loosely? Do you need a new hairstyle to freshen up your look?

People notice small things and, in the blink of an eye, will make a judgment whether or not they like, respect or trust you.

How can you use any/all of these tools to help you further your career?   What else have you done to create a solid first impression before you have even met a new client or potential employer?   Love to hear your comments - post them below!   Rebecca  
To learn other tips, strategies and ideas like these, to help you build a powerful Personal Brand and advance your career, you'll love to receive 'PRESENCE', my fortnightly ezine. You'll also receive a copy of my special report, 'The Top 5 Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs'. YES! Subscribe me now!

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Working Mum? Have Children When Your Husband Retires!

Xerox's CEO, Ursula Burns, has recently been asked what the secrets are to her success.

She attributes part of her success, as a working mum, to marrying a man 20 years older than her.

How she sees it, having an older partner meant childcare was never an issue: at a time when she was pushing her way to the top, her husband was retired and was able to look after the children.

What do you think about that? It's an interesting angle... one I hadn't really thought about before... I'm sure that is an approach that works for many women.

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Top 5 Ideas to Help You Get Ahead, Even If Promotions Are Currently Scarce

Flatter structures these days, combined with the fact that many companies are tightening their purse strings can sometimes lead to a reduced number of 'vertical promotions' being available.

But know this: if you're currently working for a company that's put a hold on promotions, it won't last forever.

It can certainly be frustrating, even demoralising, if new job titles or promotions are scarce. But remember, if they're scarce for you they're also scarce for your peers (who also happen to be your competition).

And when faced with this kind of stalemate, you've got to use the time wisely so that when those promotions are back on the table, you're ready to come in hard with plenty of evidence to support your negotiations.

So what can you do if you aren't getting the promotional opportunities you want at the moment?

Simple: you look for other opportunities.

And there are plenty of ways in which you can get that step ahead of your competition without actually being promoted.

Here are my top five ideas to get you cookin':

1. Lateral up skill
If you can't go up the ladder just yet, think about how you could 'go across'.

By putting yourself forwards for a move into another area within the business, you will not only expand your current skill set, but you will also extend your network; build credibility with other decision makers; add value to your CV; extend your knowledge; and gain new experience. What's to lose?

2. Innovate
If you're feeling stuck and a little bored even, look for creative ways you could innovate. For example, either examine how current processes are delivered and improve them or develop entirely new processes.

Think about where you can add value. Look for bottlenecks, or problems, and solve them. And remember to keep a note of your wins - they will become excellent bargaining tools when promotions are available again.

3. Project work
Look for, or create, short term projects to keep you motivated and interested in your work. Think about ways to add value or solve problems. And look for proactive ways in which you could add value to the business.

4. Train others
Add value to those around you - and therefore to your organisation - by offering to train or coach other people.

This sort of initiative will be welcomed as it keeps training costs low. Training other people and seeing them grow will be a hugely gratifying experience for you and will also build your skill set.

Think too about how such an initiative would be perceived by key decision makers. What leverage might it give you in your next performance review?

5. Train yourself
Whilst you're waiting for promotions to come back on the table, use this time wisely: upskill and develop yourself wherever possible.

Find out what training budget has been allocated to you - you might be surprised to find it is a nice juicy sum! If there isn't a big budget, consider what you might be prepared to invest yourself in your own professional development.

Your greatest asset is what's between your ears after all. And knowledge is forever.

What are your top tips?
How do you add value to yourself and to your company during tough times?

I'd love to hear from you!

* To learn other tips, strategies and ideas like these, to help you build a powerful Personal Brand and advance your career, you'll love to receive 'PRESENCE', my fortnightly ezine. You'll also receive a copy of my special report, 'The Top 5 Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs'. YES! Subscribe me now! 

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Anthony Robbins’ 6 Core Human Needs

According to Anthony Robbins, top peak performance coach, "We are all driven by the need to fulfil six human needs. These six, basic human needs are not just desires or wants, but profound needs which serve as the basis of every choice we make".

Here are Robbins’ list of Human Needs:

1. Certainty
The need for security, comfort and consistency.

2. Uncertainty
The need for variety and challenge.

3. Significance
The need to feel important, needed, wanted and worthy of love.

4. Love and Connection
The need to feel connected with, and loved by, other human beings.

5. Growth
The need for constant development emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

6. Contribution
The need to ‘give beyond ourselves’ and give to others.

Clearly, your 'needs' must be met to enable fulfilment and joy in your life but is it ever possible that those needs might cloud your judgment? Or slow your progress?

I believe so.

Your 'needs' are crucial to understand and even more important is your ability to take action despite them.

You might want to read my recent post 'The 5 Futile Behaviours That Every Smart Women Knows Will Strangle Her Career' in conjunction with this list of Human Needs and let me know what you think.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

The 5 Futile Behaviours That Every Smart Woman Knows Will Strangle Her Career

Futility is a depressing thing: you push and push and push and still don't get a result. But what's worse, is you chastise yourself for not getting that result.

Women are constantly setting themselves up for failure by going out to achieve outcomes that, in some instances are never, ever, ever going to happen.

Stop wasting your time!

Here are the five behaviours that you must stop doing right now, if you're serious about getting ahead in your career.

Futile Behaviour 1.
Trying to tick everything off your to do list

If you're anything like me, you will constantly have a to-do list the length of your arm. You believe that the list gives you security: that feeling that you're 'on top of things'.

In fact, all the list does is set you up to fail because you and I both know that however many tasks get ticked off your list, new ones are added just as quickly.

The key, I have discovered, is to know which tasks have any real value and which should be dumped off your list entirely.

Knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what tasks to complete.

Review your to-do list.
- Which tasks serve no purpose at all?
- Which can be binned immediately?
- Which tasks could you delegate straight away, either up or down the chain?
- And which tasks will create outcomes that will make a real difference to you, your team or your company?

Having answered these questions, you will now have a 'dump, delegate and do' list. Signpost the tasks on your 'do' list that will make the greatest impact, the most quickly, and get to work only on those.

Futile Behaviour 2:
Seeking perfectionism

Perfectionism, by its very nature, is impossible to attain. You will always want to tweak and finesse... and then tweak a bit some more.

Quite simply, stop wasting precious time.
Ask yourself:
- Is trying to 'make things perfect' really helping you?
- Is it getting you where you want to be professionally?
- If so, what are you NOT doing when you're spending your time seeking perfectionism?
- Would anyone notice if you completed a task 5% less well? How about 10%? Would it make a significant impact to your end outcome or not?

And finally, whilst you're striving to be 'perfect', what are your peers up to??? They're your competition by the way.

Futile Behaviour 3:
Trying to be liked by everyone

The world is made up of different people. That is what makes it interesting.

We have different personalities. Different quirks. And different views about whether  or not dogs are 'better' than cats.

I don't know about you, but I don't like everyone I know. That would just be silly.

We don't all share the same values for a start which creates an automatic 'dislike' for one another. So if, I don't like everyone I know, why would I expect everyone else to like me?

The truth is, you don't need to be liked by everyone. Someone might not like you, but respect you highly. I don't know about you, but that would suit me fine.

Get realistic about who you really need to have 'on your side' and quite simply, who doesn't really matter all that much.

Spend the majority of your energies trying to influence the opinions of people you like, respect and who can help you achieve your goals.

Futile Behaviour 4:
Waiting to feel certain before making a decision

A UK newspaper recently ran a story about a fortune teller who makes her predictions using asparagus. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't know how accurate asparagus would be in foreseeing the future. I expect it's not.

Trying to know what lies around the corner is about as futile as it gets. Yes, you can have a 'best guess' based on 'the facts', your gut feel, and the opinions of your most trusted advisors. But none of us can ever really know the future.

If we did, the GFC (global financial crisis) might never have happened and I wouldn't have ever dated anyone who let me down. :)

Read my post here about how to arrive at better decisions with greater ease.

When faced with your next decision making situation, where you feel unsure, repeat this sentence 5 times in quick succession,

"I am never going to know for sure how this will turn out; that is exactly what makes the world such a fun place to live in. But I do trust myself, and my judgment, to make the best decision that I can today."

Futile Behaviour 5:
Waiting around to be recognised

Although 'recognition' is a major need that we all have as human beings, it does not necessarily follow that you need that acknowledgement to come from other people.

Much more important is to know, in yourself, that you have done a great job.

Of course, receiving praise from external sources is wonderful. But just don't sit around waiting for that stuff to come your way; you could be waiting a lifetime.

'Self validation' is a skill that you can easily learn if you do it regularly. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What were your expectations before you started?
- Did you meet those expectations?
- What value did you add?
- How would you rate your performance out of 10?

Once you've answered these questions, get into the habit of writing your achievement down. Even better, keep an 'achievement journal'.

When it comes to your next discussion with your Partner, or Vice President, make sure you have those achievements top of mind. Share them with him and make sure they are known. You might receive some praise (and you might not) but either way, rest assured: if you have self validated and you have made it known what you have achieved, you have done everything that you can to influence their good perception of you.


Now, Over to You!

Have any of these behaviours been slowing you down?
What have you done about it?
What are you going to do about it?
Love to hear from you!
Rebecca     Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Biggest Loser 2013: What Have Diet and Exercise Got To Do With It?

To all my Australian readers, are you enjoying this season's "The Biggest Loser" on Channel 10?

I'm sure you'll agree that 'weight loss' is, on the surface, about your diet and exercise routine.

The fact is, your mental state is far more important: your degree of self-worth and determination will determine whether or not you can maintain that routine.

The three trainers on "The Biggest Loser" spend a lot of time talking to the participants about their mental states.

Participants are often challenged about how highly they value themselves.

The trainers push and push to reveal the excuses participants are making about why things are as they are or who else is to blame.

The trainers are constantly looking to help partipants break their limiting attitudinal and behavioural patterns and encourage them towards new decision making.

I actually think the number one priority when faced with any challenge (weight loss or otherwise) should be your self-worth.

Do you value yourself highly enough to even attempt this challenge?
Do you deserve success?

Once you feel congruent with questions like these, then those practical strategies, like diet and exercise plans, have a fighting chance of success.

What do you think?
Have you lost a great deal of weight and how important was your attitude to achieve that?
How important is your self-worth at work, certainly in terms of your decision making?

Love to hear your feedback!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thatcher: A Lesson For We Women

Today we mark the passing of Margaret Thatcher - 'The Iron Lady' - and first, and only, female Prime Minister of Great Britain.

In her lifetime she had a phenomenal impact, both at home and overseas, and created a platform from which modern British politics has been shaped. When asked about her greatest achievement she replied, "New Labour."

Thatcher hauled a weak Great Britain out of its despair and led it, through a highly tumultuous period, to power once again; she took on the Unions, education and police reforms; led her country through ferrocious terrorist attacks on home soil; and even went to war.

She is famed for her no-nonsense approach, sheer determination and deep patriotism for her country.

A remarkable life and a remarkable legacy.

And all from a woman who was the daughter of a humble grocer.

We modern women must take note of the fact that Margaret Thatcher achieved what she did because of the woman she was.

What do you think?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blaggers: 3 Reasons Why They're Stealing Your Next Promotion

All too often I hear from peeved clients that 'blaggers' are stealing their thunder.

'Blaggers', not to be confused with 'bloggers', (as my spellcheck keeps doing) are those people in your meetings who speak openly and candidly about themselves and their achievements.

At times, they twist the truth or in some cases, downright lie.

Whatever you might think about blaggers, there are three crucial reasons why they're getting ahead faster than you:

1. They speak up

2. They're convincing

3. They're 'known'

Let's look at each reason in turn:

1. Blaggers speak up

Blaggers do the first thing right: they share their opinions (however annoying that might be to you).

Speaking up and sharing your ideas are crucial steps if you are serious about raising your profile at work.

The reason why a blagger might steal your next promotion is that he or she is adding what I call 'PIV', or 'perceived intellectual value'. And that word 'perceived' is absolutely vital here because we all know that some blaggers are talking rot, but if those key decision makers aren't affected, or are simply unaware that it's 'rot', then this isn't necessarily an issue.

The crucial point is, blaggers share their ideas (or PIV) with the exact people who can help them advance their careers.

2. Blaggers are convincing

Certainty sells. Most blaggers have a knack of sharing their opinions with vigour, whilst looking people directly in the eye.

Think back to a time when you were looking to hire a plumber to fix a problem in your house. If he sounded unsure as he explained how he'd fix your burst pipe and mumbled his way through the technical details, I bet you didn't hire him did you?

The reason why a blagger might steal your next promotion is that certainty sells.

3. Blaggers are 'known'

People who share their opinions boldly and stand for something tend also to create strong positionings for themselves in the office.

In other words: their direct reports, peers and senior managers come to know about them because they speak up with certainty.

The reason why a blagger might steal your next promotion is that he or she has a profile within your organisation.

In Summary...
Now, I am not suggesting that you start blagging your way around the office willy nilly... or compromise your integrity in any way.

But I am recommending that you stop getting frustrated by blaggers and start to learn from them.

There are many ways to raise your profile within your organisation. Blagging can be done well and help you get ahead. It can also be executed badly and tarnish your reputation.

Observe the people who do it (frustratingly) well.

Notice how they share their views. See how they use certain vocabulary, tone of voice and gestures to give them an added air of credibility. And then watch them become famous around the office.

What are your experiences with blagging?

Are you a blagger? Does it help you raise your profile effectively?

Love to hear from you!

- Rebecca

The Problem Women Have with 'Job Offers'


Did you hear the one about the woman who snapped up a job offer of $150k and then cried all the way home?

A 'job offer' is just that: an offer. It is not a final offer.

You may know that many women start their careers financially worse off than men.

To give you an idea a recent UK study, published in the Hecsu Journal Graduate Market Trends, found that 55% of male graduates earned below £23,999 whilst 70% of female grads earned an equivalent sum.

These figures are reflective of global statistics unfortunately and of course set a precedent for women for the rest of their careers.
Women are constantly playing 'catch up' and it all starts with that first job offer.

But Isn't $150k a Lot of Money?

Now, a job offer of $150k might sound remarkable. It might even take your breath away.

But unless you observe the figure in context, you will never know how much more you could have secured.

Stand Your Ground

The mistake many women make is to accept the initial offer and walk away. They feel happy because this decision gives them immediate security.

But what if there was a budget of $220k assigned to the job in question? Haven't you just lost out on $70k?!

You Have Nothing to Lose
Too much rides on your ability to negotiate. Remember, it isn't just your salary today that's at stake, but the incremental effect this particular negotiation will have on all your future salaries as well.

Here are some ideas to give you the strength to negotiate:

1. See your initial offer as just that: an offer.

2. Have a view of what salary you want to negotiate up to.

3. Ask for what you believe you deserve, plus a bit more.

4. Be (a little) flexible.

5. Wait: you should receive an amended offer.

6. Consider it and take your time.

7. Push back again if you need to - focus on the value you add to the organisation: they need you more!

8. Celebrate when you believe you have done all that you can to achieve the outcome you want.

What are your thoughts on this - I'd love to hear your perspectives.


WARNING! Your 'Decision Making' Style is Stalling Your Career!

'Decision making' is a crucial part of leadership. It's not just about making those tough calls, but how you conduct yourself during the process.

Most people naturally make decisions based on three different approaches. The problem is: none of these approaches is especially effective.

As you review these response types, think about which one describes you most accurately:

1. Emotional
An emotional decision maker reacts to how she feels. She gets a sense in 'her heart' that an outcome either feels 'right' or 'wrong' and will be comfortable to arrive at a decision with, or without, any facts.

2. Analytical
Someone who bases her decisions on facts and rational data thinks with her head. Often she will do so with little thought about how she, or anyone else, might feel as a result.

3. Reactive
A poor future planner will make a decision 'in the now' without considering how that decision might fit with the 'bigger picture'. She will tend to make decisions in a reactive manner.

Which one best describes you? Are you a reactive person, or do you rely on your head or heart to make decisions?

The Solution!

Arguably, the reason why each of these approaches is deficient is because they are all too simplistic and operate without a breadth of data.

To achieve this breadth of data, and to make more effective decisions, here are six key factors to take into account when you are next making a big call:

1. Head
Yes, logic is important:
- What do you know for sure?
- What are the facts?

2. Heart
And yes, how you feel is also useful to draw on:
- How does this make you feel?
- Who else do you need to consider here?
3. Intuition
What about your intuition as well?
- What do your experiences tell me?
- What's your gut reaction?

4. Context
How does this situation fit into a longer term time frame?

5. Counsel
Who else could provide an insight and give you an alternate view?

6. Values
Which of your values are you basing your decision making on?*

*This one is such a biggie I am going to write a dedicated post to it!

How do you currently make decisions? Do you tend to rely on one instinctive approach or do you unite many?   What has worked best for you? I'd love to hear; send me your comments below.   Rebecca

Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 Strategies to Ensure Your Next Salary Review Meeting Works For You

Your next review meeting - where you will discuss your salary, bonus package, the hours you work and other perks of the job - should already be in your diary.

You might be lucky, and have a manager who is organised and has already scheduled your meeting; many clients however complain that this is not the case for them. Either way, follow these 5 tips to help you achieve success in your next salary review:

1. Get a meeting in the diary now!
2. Be thinking now about what you wish to negotiate: salary; bonus; flexi-time etc.
3. Set expectations early.
4. Be prepared.
5. Don't back down.

Let's look at each of these in turn:

1. Get Your Review Meeting in the Diary, Today

Quite simply, make sure you have a meeting in the diary. It's amazing how many people complain that they haven't had a review in 18 months and yet have never asked for a meeting to be put in the diary. It is your career, remember that!

2. Be Thinking Now About What You Wish to Negotiate

This is your meeting. It is to discuss your performance, your career and your ROI.

ROI stands for 'return on investment': what return do you want for the investment of time and energy that you have given towards your organisation's success?

This is not your manager's meeting, however much you might think it is. Just because he or she has the power to decide how you may be renumerated, it does not follow that they are there to run the meeting.

You must run the meeting. Have your own agenda: decide what you would like to be discussed and agreed upon at this meeting.

- Do you want to negotiate a raise in salary? If so, do you have a sliding scale in mind?
- What other factors do you want to negotiate: car allowance; flexi time; share options; performance bonus?

3. Set Expectations Early

I think it's useful to let key decision makers know what you want well in advance; I am not a big believer in hoping people will be able to read your mind!

So, if you're looking for a promotion this time round, it is sensible to make that clear well in advance. Don't wait until your review meeting to have that conversation. It might be too late. Setting expectations means that hopefully you're on the same page; you don't want to sell why you're worthy of the promotion in your review meeting - your manager should already have been sold!

4. Be Prepared

You must focus your discussion on your results. In other words, what results have you delivered for the organisation? Think for example about the stats behind your accomplishments:

- Have there been sales uplifts under your tenure?
- Have you renegotiated a contract that has cut costs?
- Have you streamlined a process that has reduced time and cost?
- Have any of your team members been promoted under your management?

The more you attribute your requests for higher pay with the value you have added - and continue to add - the easier it will become to achieve the salary outcomes you are looking for.

5. Don't Back Down

If you don't achieve the outcome you are looking for, try hard not to be downhearted.

But whatever you do, don't hide your disappointment. Say you are disappointed. This in itself can change a decision and you may be able to negotiate a deal.

However, it may also make no difference at all. If that is the case, that is frustrating but it doesn't mean you miss you. By backing yourself you will have demonstrated the belief you have in your value.

You could suggest your pay is prioritised next time round, or you might request an alternative means of renumeration (through flexi time for example).

Keep your eye on the prize and continue to ask for what you deserve.


5 Key Differences Between 'Assertiveness' and 'Arrogance'

When I work with clients to help them become more assertive, a common resistance they have is their belief that other people might misconstrue their intention and regard them as 'arrogant'.

For obvious reasons, most people wouldn't wish to be regarded as being 'arrogant' but the fact is, there is a real difference between the two.
Decide for yourself whether you could ever be judged as being arrogant based on these differences:

Assertive People: are open to other opinions.
Arrogant People: believe only their opinion matters.


Assertive People: listen to others.
Arrogant People: ignore everyone else.


Assertive People: state their opinion decisively.
Arrogant People: shout and argue.


Assertive People: act constructively and inclusively.
Arrogant People: dictate.


Assertive People: engage people and draw them towards them.
Arrogant People: push people away.

Now, when you look at these two very different attitudes (and their resultant behaviours) hopefully you’ll agree that acting 'assertively' can only be of benefit to you!

What do you think? What are your experiences?

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Negotiating Tactics When Seeking a Pay Rise

1. Wait
Listen to what your manager has to offer first. You never know, she might offer you a sum straight away that is higher than you want! If nothing materialises then you have to speak up.

2. Have a Scale
Set yourself a 'salary sliding scale'. Make sure the lower figure in your scale is still a number you'd be happy with. Pitch at the higher end of your scale. Then if you need to negotiate backwards - towards your middle, or even your lower figures - you'll still be happy with the outcome.

3. State Your Case, Don't Justify It
If you go to great lengths to explain why you're worth what you're asking for, you will sound unsure and this will dramatically weaken your position. Be polite but direct and keep your communication succinct.

4. Accept Only When You're Happy
If you aren't happy with an offer you are made, you don't have to accept it. Say you're unhappy straight away. You might get a surprised response but at least your manager will know you're serious. If you say nothing, or accept an offer that you believe falls short, you simply confirm that the valuation she has made of you is appropriate.

5. And If You Still Don't Get What You Want...
If nothing can be done, and you have to settle for the pay rise you've been offered, don't stop negotiating! Ask your manager to put in writing (email is fine) that your salary will take priority when salaries are next reviewed; request alternate compensation instead such as flexi-time; or seek alternate opportunities such as a performance bonus.


Read Similar Tips from Rebecca:

Are You Entitled to Ask for a Raise?

Asking for a Raise: A Tip From Suze Orman (Oprah)

Understand Your Value

Read This Fab Article By Dona DeZube:

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary

Are You Entitled to Ask For a Pay Rise?

Laura* and I have just reached the 'Assertiveness' segment of her coaching program and we were talking about pay rises.

She asked me, "But Rebecca, am I entitled to ask for a pay rise?"

The question made me inwardly gasp.

"What do you mean exactly Laura?" I asked, to be sure I understood her correctly.

"Well I've never asked for one before and I wondered whether I can ask."

I work with clients at all different stages of their careers. And when it comes to pay, some are negotiating multiple layered packages involving their base pay; flexi hours; and performance-based bonuses whilst others, like Laura, are unsure whether they should be asking for one at all.

"What makes you think you wouldn't be entitled to a pay rise?" I asked.

Laura stopped for a while. "I don't really know. I've always just been too scared to ask."

If there is one thing I've learnt from both personal experience and years of coaching corporate men and women, only you can determine your value and worth.

If you decide you're never worth a pay rise then that's up to you but remember, it's just your fear keeping you safe from potential rejection.

What if you do ask for a pay rise? What are the potential consequences?

A potential pay rise!

More importantly what if you don't ask? Surely the consequences are a whole lot worse.

I'd love to hear your stories and experiences having asked for a pay rise. Have you experienced this 'fear' of potential rejection? How did you manage it?


* Laura's name has been changed in view of client confidentiality.

Read More Strategies from Rebecca:

5 Negotiating Tactics to Ask For a Pay Rise

Asking for a Raise: A Tip From Suze Orman (Oprah)

Understand Your Value

Is Income Linked to Fulfilment?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 Tips to Maintain Credibility When Under Fire

Your Personal Brand is one thing. Your Personal Brand under fire is another.

The true test of your Personal Brand comes when you're faced with a crisis:

  • Perhaps you have been challenged on a report you have written
  • Maybe someone has questionned your leadership technique
  • Or someone seems to be trampling your values

Whatever the crisis, it's important to check in with yourself to decide how you want to respond.

And that's the important thing, to check in with yourself first.

All too often, people respond in an empassioned knee jerk way: do first, think later (or not at all).

To maintain your credibility it's vital that you think first and then respond.

Even if you're under pressure to make a decision... you just have to think very, very quickly.

Here are 5 steps to get you focused:


1. What are the absolute facts here?
2. What assumptions am I making?


3. Ask your counterpart for specifics: you don't want to react to a generalised statement.

So, for example: if the challenge you were faced with ran something like this:

"I think this report you've written is littered with errors."

Instead of assuming he means the entire piece is littered with errors, ask for some more information:

"Ok, to be clear, can you point out exactly what the errors are?"

4. Now, based on his reply, reassess the facts and ask yourself if your counterpart is justified in his claim?

5a. If so, offer to correct the error quickly - speed is important; you don't want an issue lingering on.

5b. If no, push back assertively!

When have you felt challenged and how did you respond? Did you think and then do? What were the outcomes?

- Rebecca

New Product Launch! Is Your CV Doing You Justice?

Are you:

* someone who has emailed your CV to many recruiters, only to have heard nothing back?

* aware your CV needs to stand out and be a sales tool, but you don't know how?

* keen to leverage LinkedIn too, but don't know which buzzwords to avoid?

* unsure how to position yourself as an expert in your CV?

* starting to realise that your job prospects and future salary will both be limited unless you have an engaging and competitive CV that opens doors?

...then you're not alone!

So many of my clients ask me for help with their CVs.

And despite them being both highly-talented and highly-employable individuals, their CVs simply don't reflect this reality.

And it saddens me enormously because I know these clients have been missing out on opportunities. And often opportunities that they really, really want.

Well, the great news is there is a way to craft a CV and LinkedIn profile that effectively demonstrates the depth of your offering and helps you get those crucial interviews.

I'm pleased to announce the launch of my brand new product:

'Complete CV Building System' 
67 Strategies to Successfully Promote Your Value & Expertise to Land Your Dream Job!'

What you will learn:

Module 1: Content

Module 2: Formatting and Layout

Module 3: The Marketing Module! Sell Yourself Effectively

And there's a BONUS LinkedIn module too to ensure you position yourself effectively online as well.

Read more about this step by step CV building product here!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Women & Their CVs: Their 5 Most Common Mistakes

I read a lot of CVs and I've noticed that women seem to make the same mistakes again and again.

Download for free the 5 most common mistakes women make on their CVs here.

You'll also receive my fortnightly ezine 'Presence' which is crammed with useful strategies and resources to help you raise your profile and get ahead in your career.

- Rebecca

What's The Difference Between a CV and Résumé?

A CV is essentially an in-depth chronicle of your career to date and should be focused largely on your achievements throughout that time. Visit a post I wrote about how to sell the benefits of hiring you here.

Your CV details a reverse chronology of your current and previous roles; the results of your work; and an insight into your training and educational background.

A CV is usually 2-3 pages long.

A résumé on the other hand, will be shorter - usually a single page - and is designed with a specific role in mind. As a result, it will 'cut out' any superfluous information that is not relevant to the specific role being applied for.

Which should you use?

Here is Australia, the terms CV and Résumé are used interchangeably.

I use 'CV', partly because it's simply a more globally recognised term and partly because I am a big believer in capitalising on the real estate that is your CV to capture the depth of your offering.

Either way, make sure whichever document you provide is achievement / accomplishment / results focused!


Read related posts written by Rebecca:

The 5 Common Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs (you'll receive our fortnightly ezine 'Presence' too)

Has LinkedIn Superseded 'the CV'?

So do I need a CV when LinkedIn is 'where it's at' thesedays?

According to a survey by Jobvite, 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to screen candidates. This isn't surprising. Before LinkedIn, recruiters had to keep manual lists and client books to keep track of where candidates were.

Thesedays, they simply have to run a 'search' in LinkedIn for the keywords they are looking for (read my post on LinkedIn keywords here). LinkedIn has made their lives considerably easier.

In Human Resource Executive Online ('Goodbye Resume? Not So Fast, Experts Say") a number of recruiters are quoted on the topic:

Jennifer Hoffman, a principal in Winter, Wyman's Human Resources Search, says this: "A Résumé (Editor's note: they use that term in the US) conveys several layers of information about an individual's background as well as being equally important for a hiring manager in learning about an individual's experience and comparing candidates side by side."

Revi Goldwasser, managing partner of Wall Street Personnel (financial recruitment) says, "For the actual component of 'hiring,' you still need a resume 100 percent of the time. When we submit a resume to a client we need a resume - when the job seeker goes to an interview, we need a resume."

Recruiters in Australia agree:

In January 2012, Human Capital Magazine Online ("The Résumé is not dead; It's just evolving") quoted a number of senior recruitment executives:

Guy Cary, managing director, First Advantage – Australia & New Zealand, said the resume is still important because it allows a candidate to present themselves to an employer the way they want to.

“While the employer may have seen a candidate’s profile on LinkedIn, it may be somewhat generic and not appropriately targeted to the company or job in question,” he said. “A strong resume that represents what a candidate brings to a particular organisation or role is still critically important.”


The fact of the matter is, you need both an online and 'offline' presence - which basically means you need a LinkedIn profile as well as a paper version of your profile - in other words, a CV.

The question isn't so much whether you need one or the other.

The question to ask should be: are BOTH your online and offline profiles (LinkedIn and CV) demonstrating your expertise, knowledge and credibility... that's all that matters in the end.

- Rebecca

Read other related posts Rebecca has written:

3 Questions To Help Your CV Stand Out from The Competition
The Number 1 Mistake Women Make On Their CVs
What's The Difference Between a CV and Resume?
The 5 Types of Keyword To Use in Your LinkedIn Profile
The 5 Common Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs (with this download, you can receive our fortnightly ezine 'Presence' too)

The 5 Types of Keyword To Use in Your LinkedIn Profile

What is a 'keyword'?

Essentially, ‘keywords’ are the words that recruiters type in when they run a search on LinkedIn.

When you're considering which keywords to add to your profile, it helps to get into the mind of a recruiter. What words is he or she likely to be looking for? What kinds of candidate would be connected to those keywords?

A simple way to work this out is to ask yourself,

‘What words have the greatest relevance within my industry?’

For example:

1. Are there particular experiences that a recruiter would need to see in your profile?

e.g. pitch work; leading new business projects

2. Might certain skill sets be important?

e.g. Advanced Xcel

3. Or specific knowledge perhaps?

e.g. risk analysis

4. Maybe she's looking for someone with particular process or product knowledge?

e.g. Software; processes; equipment

5. Companies?

e.g. the fact that you have worked for a particular company already could be very relevant to a recruiter looking for someone with your experience

Scatter these keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile and CV.

Don't over-do it and repetition is fine.

- Rebecca

Read other related posts by Rebecca:

The Number 1 Mistake Women Make on Their CVs

3 Questions To Help Your CV Stand Out From the Competition

The 5 Common Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs (with this download, you can receive our fortnightly ezine 'Presence' too)

3 Questions To Help Your CV Stand Out From the Competition

Your CV is a marketing tool. Plain and simple.

Marketing is about selling benefits - so what are the benefits of hiring you?

Too many people shy away from this question, but in many ways it is the ONLY question you need to ask and answer.

Take a bottle of water.

How would I benefit if I were to drink this specific bottle of water?

Benefit 1: Well, for starters, it's smooth. And I prefer smooth, over sparkling, mineral water.
Benefit 2: It's Evian. It has that gorgeous pure taste that I love.
Benefit 3: It's cold. It's come straight out of the fridge. Tick.

There we have it. Three clear benefits. I'm sold.
So what about you? What's on your package? What are you offering that's different or special? What would make a recruiter choose you over the stream of competitors out there?

Here are some questions to help:

1.What special knowledge or expertise do you have?

2. What experiences have you had that set you apart from your competition? These could be personal or professional experiences that enrich the breadth of your offering.

3. How can you make a difference / add value?

Answer these questions and your CV will start to sell benefits, benefits, benefits.

I'd love to hear some examples of benefits you have delivered (or are continuing to deliver) in your workplace!

- Rebecca

Read other posts from Rebecca:

The Number 1 Mistake Women Make On Their CVs

Read all 5 Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs (and you'll also receive a FREE subscription to our fortnightly ezine 'Presence')

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Number 1 Mistake Women Make on Their CVs

In my time as an Executive and Career Coach I have reviewed umpteen CVs – from men and women alike. I’ve noticed that women tend to commit the same errors time and time again.

The most problematic of these, in my view, is focusing too heavily on the 'Responsibilities' they have had throughout their careers.

I think this stems from the fact that women, in the main, want to do 'a good job' or rather, they want to be seen to be, or thought of as, doing 'a good job'.

I fell foul of this when I used to work for major international organisations – my driver was doing my job to the best of my ability, which meant diligently dotting the ‘Is’ and crossing the ‘Ts’ every single day.

Taking your responsibilities very seriously is important (dotting Is and crossing Ts can be tough going) but unfortunately, when it comes to your CV, those responsibilities are meaningless by themselves.

What recruiters, and potential employers, want to understand is how those day-to-day responsibilities delivered results.

Doing your job is not enough.

They want to know what happened as a result of you doing your job.

Action: Review your CV. Is it crammed with responsibilities? Or is it packed to the rafters with accomplishment, after accomplishment, after accomplishment?

- Rebecca

Read other related posts written by Rebecca:

Read all 5 of the Most Common Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs (you can also receive a FREE subscription to Rebecca's fortightly ezine 'Presence')
Why Your Experience To Date is Just Not Enough
3 Questions To Help Your CV Stand Out From the Competition
The 5 Keyword Types To Use in your LinkedIn Profile