Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is a genius when it comes to marketing to women, and she’s has been all over the news after her recent interview on 60 Minutes. Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, is a topic of controversy among both men and women. I was captivated by her interview and immediately ordered the book. She believes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder and accessing positions of leadership and power. Sandberg cites a number of reasons.
Since I happen to agree with most everything she has to say (thank you Sheryl for encouraging women to take responsibility for the ways in which we limit ourselves), I developed my own list of observations made over the years when assessing what it takes to win a seat at the proverbial “man table.”
1. Develop a strategic plan. How can you expect to succeed when you have no idea where you’re going? Companies develop strategic plans and so should you. Estrada Strategies helped us create ours. We know where we want to be in 5 years and we are working backward from the plan to get there.
2. Get a brand name education. Whoa, mama. I hear the gasps all over the World Wide Web. Let’s face it. Women with brand name diplomas are taken more seriously.
3. Choose a mate that pulls his/her weight. I paraphrased Sandberg here. How can a woman be expected to lead at the highest levels if she is also primarily responsible for housecleaning, laundry, childrearing, cooking, and carpool? Trust me on this one. It’s impossible. Been there, done that and I have the paperwork to prove it.
4. If you have to cry, go outside. I ripped this one off from PR guru Kelly Cutrone and made it one of my rules for living. Women get a bad rap when it comes to emotions. Channel those emotions in a positive direction to get what you really want.
5. When all else fails, create your own table. That’s what I did by starting FletcherPR. My table is white with pink chairs. This was not to make a statement because they were $49 at IKEA when I started the company 6 years ago. I keep them around to remind me of the leadership road less taken.
Above all, don’t be afraid to be a woman. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and “lean in” to as many opportunities as you can.