Every now and then a business book comes along that really resonates with the book-buying public. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel, fits that category.
The book’s subtitle—101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers—explains exactly what lies within this 268-page book. Frankel has divided her advice into eight chapters: “How You Play The Game,” “How You Brand and Market Yourself,” “How You Sound,” and so on. Within each chapter are fifteen to twenty behavior choices that need to be addressed.
For example, Mistake Number 18 is not asking questions for fear of sounding stupid. According to Frankel, “If nearly three decades of working inside corporations has taught me anything, it’s that if I don’t understand something, most likely no one else does, either.”
Following her description of a problem, she offers coaching tips. For this mistake, she recommends: “Use simple paraphrases as a way of gaining clarification. ‘Do I understand you correctly that we’re being given six months to complete Phase One of the project, three months to complete Phase Two, and six months to complete Phase Three?’ If you’re wrong, you’ll be told so; if not, you’ve gotten the information you need.”
Frankel asserts that most women who grew up in the 1950s and 60s never had the opportunity to take part in competitive sports, the armed forces, or other activities that required “playing to win.” Reminiscent of Gail Evans’ excellent book, Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman, Frankel reminds us that women often don’t know how to play the business game, much less play within the boundaries. Often, women see the whole idea of the “game of business” as distasteful, unpleasant topic.
This is how she addresses that issue:
“Let’s start with the most important lesson: Business is a game and you can win it. As a matter of fact, women are born to win this game. I spend half of my time working with men, teaching them to be more like women. Of course, I don’t put it quite that way or I would be out of business. Instead, I talk to them about the importance of things like listening, collaborating, motivating, and seeing the human side of their staff. These are typically things women do well because they’ve been taught the behaviors and have had a lot of practice at them.”
With Frankel’s guidelines and specific examples, her dollops of wisdom are easily followed and understood. Here is Frankel’s list of general guidelines that can help any woman get her career back on track:
- Give yourself permission to move from girlhood to womanhood.
- Visualize yourself as you want to be.
- Talk back to the fearful voice inside your head.
- Surround yourself with a Plexiglas shield.
- Create the word on the street.
- Recognize resistance and put a name to it.
- Ask for feedback.
- Don’t aim for perfection.
If you wonder why you’re not as successful as you would like to be, spending a few hours with Frankel’s book will help you see where you might be making mistakes without even knowing about it.
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