Updated: May 14
Listen up, lady! We’re taking Corporate America head-on. March is a significant month where we highlight the amazing accomplishments of women that have contributed to culture, change, and history. Now, it’s time for YOU to be one of them.
I’m a black female in a white male-dominated industry, yet I’ve won the highest honor (The President’s Award) three times in my organization. I’ve won this award twice in the “Team” category and once as an individual for innovation in leadership.
It’s not enough to be intentional. Now, it’s time to be strategic.
“So, how did you win this award three times?!”
In this blog, I’m sharing with you my 3x award-winning strategy on how I won and how you can too.
1. Friend to Most. Enemy to None.
Understand that effective relationships are the backbone to success in corporate America. It’s not about what you know or who you know, rather it’s about who knows you! I easily make friends and establish relationships. However, in corporate, it’s not about friending everyone. You need to establish relationships that serve you strategically with influencers and decision-makers. These are the people who will place that checkmark by your name when it’s time to vote.
“How can I break the ice and connect with these decision-makers?”
Many methods can be used to start conversations with others that lead you to your end goal. One of those methods is called FORM (Family. Occupation. Recreation. Message). When the appropriate time and opportunity arises, it’s always great to ask questions about what the other person is passionate about whether it be their family, their current position at work, or what they like to do for fun. Your message can fall under a plethora of categories such as an introduction, wanting to be mentored, learning from that person, and more.
Two ways that I’ve seen that I come to life organically is to ask for their help in their specialized area and offer your support in return. By simply asking for help from someone with influence places you on their radar and lets them know you mean business. If someone is willing to observe your work, it might be as easy as asking for a few minutes of their time after a meeting to give you specific feedback on areas of improvement. Once you thank them, offer your support with a future need. They may not need your assistance at the moment, but knowing that the invitation for help is open, helps that person feel comfortable approaching you in the future. It’s all about connecting.
2. Find the Problem. Be the Solution.
In corporate, everything cannot be a priority. There are specific goals that leaders care about. Once you find out what those goals are, it’s time to put your investigative hat on and be a detective. It’s imperative that you identify what those goals are and how it impacts the business overall. You’ll then want to learn how to speak to those goals. Some questions to ask are:
What are the key performance indicators (KPIs)?
How can you help meet those goals?
Do you know how to speak their language via the KPIs?
Once you’ve gathered your data and can speak intelligently in relation to your organization's KPIs, it’s time to start looking for the pain points. Look for areas of opportunity where you can contribute. Without being asked or told, find the pain point and propose the solution. Ask yourself questions, such as:
What is the biggest problem our organization is currently facing?
How can I save the organization time, energy, or resources?
Are there outdated or broken processes that I can fix?
Is there a gap in servicing customers where I can offer a solution?
You’re a team player, a self-driven contributor. Be the asset that you are, lady. Commingle your actions along with your organizations’ burdens and communicate clearly using their language (KPIs). I can assure you, they’ll see why your efforts matter.
3. Don’t Just Get By. Fly High. I’m not here to hurt your feelings, but if you’re going to just do the bare minimum, you’re going to be left behind. Now is not the time to just get by. It’s time to go the extra mile and deliver with excellence! "The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor." - Proverbs 21:25 A sluggard doesn’t mind work; they just don’t want it to be difficult. That can’t be the case with you. You’re going to have to push, persevere, and be tenacious. Corporate America is a competitive world. You can bet that you are not the only person that wants recognition and acknowledgement as you move up the corporate ladder. You’re going to have to demonstrate your ability to not only deliver but deliver with substance and quality. There may be plenty of people that want you or expect you to fail: Prove them wrong. Let your work ethic speak volumes where it cannot be ignored. Take pride in your work because you will reap what you sow. If you sow mess, you will reap the same. But, if you’ve gotten to this point, I know that’s not the case with you. I can say all of this to you with a powerful conviction because it was THIS strategy and the grace of God that got me that award THREE times. If you apply these principles, I’m certain that you can get the same results, if not more. But, don’t feel like you need to go at this alone, lady. I have helped mentor so many women to get to their pinnacle of success and one of the things that has helped them along their journey is community. That’s why I created a community of like minded women that uplift and support each other in career, business and life: Corporate Girl Network. In this community, you’ll be able to network, build your skills, and enjoy FREE masterminds. Get ready to expand your network while engaging in some fun social experiences and discussions all curated for you. Plus, you’ll have access to customized personal and professional development opportunities designed to motivate, encourage, and inspire transformational growth. Click here to join Corporate Girl Network: Inspiring Success Through Mentorship & Community. We’ll be waiting for you there!