Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Women as Negotiators

I just attended a class in Negotiations in the Learning Consortium executive education series at UCSD Rady School. A major part of the class was a negotiation exercise in teams of two. My team of two women successfully negotiated the highest value deal versus our opponents, an all-male team. The secrets of our success? In this case, better preparation, first in reading the question, second in identifying the key value drivers and third, in agreeing a strategy beforehand. Our team presented a united front, taking our discussions privately, outside the negotiating room, while the opposing team was divided at times.

Do you think there is a difference in style and success rate between men and women negotiators? In what situations can women get the better deal?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Women's Networks

As a member of several women's organizations including the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and Athena San Diego, the association for executive women in technology, I find networking in a predominantly female setting has been very productive in finding leads. However I am no wallflower either when it comes to business networking in mixed company, or the more usual settings where the majority is male.
Are there differences in the ways men and women network? What has your experience been with networking in mixed, and mainly women groups?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Women on Corporate Boards

Catalyst is well known for its research on women in business. Catalyst's 2008 census of Women Board Directors and Corporate Officers and Top Earners of Fortune 500 companies was published on Jan 12, 2009 at http://www.catalyst.org/publication/282/2008-catalyst-census-of-women-board-directors-of-the-fortune-500

According to the latest report, among Fortune 500 companies, on average 1.7 out of 11.2, or 15.1% of board directors are women. For FP500 companies in the healthcare and social services industry sector 2.1 out of 10.5, or 20% of directors are women. The percentages are almost the same in each case for women among corporate officers and top earners.

These figures represent a very small increase over 2007. An increase was also seen in the number of boards with 3 or more women, which is reported to be the magic number to achieve critical mass and keep those women on board. There has however, been an increase in the number of boards without a single woman director.

What has your experience been? Is it difficult to be the only senior woman in a corporation? Two's not enough company? Three's a comfortable crowd?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Independent Consulting

Have you been laid off recently? Looking for a job but hesitant to accept something if you are not sure it's a perfect match for your career goals? Why not consider a short term consulting assignment? This can be a great, low-risk way to get to know a potential future employer, broaden your experience, while earning some much needed income and keeping your options open as you continue your job search.
I fell into consulting almost by accident after being laid off last spring. My project leads all came via personal contacts from previous jobs, who knew my experience and skill set well. While consulting, I enjoyed being able to keep a flexible schedule that allowed me to juggle several assignments, job interviews and still make time for leisure activities during the day. One of my consulting assignments resulted in an offer of a permanent position, which I was happy to take having had the benefit of several months' experience with the company, its people and culture.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Been Laid Off?

Today's Union Tribune published the latest unemployment statistics - 8.8% in San Diego in February 2009, expected to reach double digits before the economy improves. Our household has certainly contributed to that statistic, since both my husband and I have been laid off in the last 12 months. Happily, I am now employed again but my husband is still seeking employment.

Losing a job can be as traumatic as losing a loved one and after a lay-off many people go through the normal stages of grieving: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Have you been laid off? What stage are you at?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Portfolio Careers

The first time I came across the concept of a portfolio career was in Charles Handy's book "The Age of Unreason", first published back in 1989. Handy defines a work portfolio as "a way of describing how the different bits of our life fit together to form a balanced whole."He includes five categories of work in a portfolio: Wage work, Fee work, Home work, Gift work and Study work. This concept has certainly played out in my life. So far I have had careers as a scientist, a strategy consultant, a strategic plannner and currently in business development. But I also have a passion for playing the cello and serve on several nonprofit boards of directors.

What do you think of portfolio careers? Is this a trend likely to increase in the future? Is there such a thing as a job for life any more?