Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why you are leaving your money/success/value on the table

“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”
Wayne Gretzky

Women - when was the last time you went to bat for yourself regarding your own career, and won? If you are like more than 60% of women in the workplace, chances are, you haven't. 

In a recent article in the NY Times by Phyllis Korkki, it was said that:

‘Women tend to put their heads down, do great work and praise others in their department while modestly omitting their own contributions. Then they get really angry when they get passed over for the bonus and the promotion.’

Belief in the meritocracy is a huge reason why women still struggle as a whole to make the top ranks of corporate America. So we can keep hiding behind it, or we can learn how to ask for what we want. Exercising our asking muscle is the main goal of our October 13th event, more about it here

Here are the top three reasons why we don’t ask:

1) We don’t know that we can ask
2) We don’t know how to ask
3) Fear

Let’s deal with these three things in turn.

Number 1: We don’t know that we can ask.

I will end the suspense – you can always ask. For anything. Look at it this way: you don’t have what you’re asking for now, and the worst thing that can happen is that you will be rejected and you won’t have what you’re asking for in the immediate future. That’s not a loss – that’s just status quo. So ask away, you have nothing to lose.

Number 2 – We don’t know how to ask.

This gets a little trickier. Hitting the right buttons in your listener requires planning and consideration – the main thing here is making sure that you’re thinking about what’s important to your audience. I have granted many promotions over the years, and they are usually to the people who consider what my criteria truly is, what the overall benefit is to the group/company, and then frame their request accordingly. Oh – and if you’re not sure what your boss’ criteria for promotion is, see point 1.

Number 3 – Fear.

Call it what you like – fear of rejection, fear of being seen as ungrateful, fear of appearing (shock, horror!) ambitious or aggressive, or demanding, needy, high maintenance. Whatever it is that you imagine, remember it’s all in your head. It's an imagined future that you are creating. It's not real. Then breathe, refocus, and ask calmly for what you want. 


Ji Eun (Jamie) said...

Just started reading this foliow-up to "Women Don't Ask" which is aptly titled, "Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want."

Anonymous said...

will there be a follow up about suggestions on how to break past these things? I can identify, but am not sure of the way forward.... thanks!

Ji Eun (Jamie) said...

Dear Anonymous,

Yes, we have a follow-up event coming up next week:

This is a roundtable workshop where participants get to "flex the asking muscle." There will be negotiation role-play and feedback. The goal of this event is to help women overcome the fear of asking through practice.

If you're unsure what negotiation role-play is like, check out this podcast from