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Clubs Have Their Perks--and Glaring Limitations
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Business Insights for Women
PNC INSIGHTS Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 Issue
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Author Janet Pucino reminds readers that innovation always trumps likeability.

The debate around the lack of women in the highest echelons of the corporate world rages on, with new voices--including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg--placing the onus on individuals to "lean in" and charge ahead despite the obvious obstacles.

Janet Pucino, an independent consultant who has held high-level IT positions in numerous companies, falls largely in the Sandberg camp. At the core of her book, Not in the Club, is the admonishment, "Stay calm, carry on and remain fierce." Here are a few touch points:

Do your best work every day regardless of the culture or political climate. Pucino advises working within the constraints you find, while still sticking to your guns. You may encounter resistance, but unless the situation is untenable, soldier on. Of course, if the corporate culture is hopelessly poisoned, it's probably time to move on.

Practice composure. There's no getting around the double standard, Pucino suggests. It may still be seen as okay for men to lose their composure in the workplace, but women must set boundaries and resist the urge to get personal.

Match your work ethic to the business strategy and expectations of your role. While women tend to be "worker bees" who take on whatever assignment they're given, Pucino recommends prioritizing and delegating to focus on the tasks that are most aligned to company strategy--and thus your career.

Match your communication style to your organization. In the face of the club mentality, one can easily fall back on soft-selling ideas, reestablishing credentials and not taking full credit for ideas. Pucino argues that women need to be direct, get quickly to the point and offer solid reasoning behind their opinions.

Develop rapport with a few individuals instead of trying to get everyone to like you. Rather than trying to storm the gates with likeability, target one or two influential individuals and find common ground.

Insist on "synchronous collaboration." This is Pucino's tech-talk for making sure that if you're asked to share information or resources, that you receive the same courtesy in return. In other words: Don't give something for nothing--it will become expected of you.

 


 

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