Recently, the Senior VP who heads my office took the women in the office out to breakfast. The topic of conversation? How to be successful as a woman in our field (healthcare/pharmaceuticals).
The whole conversation was fascinating, but what I wanted most to share with you are my SVP’s top four tips for success as a woman professional.
Always deliver – don’t compromise on quality. While perfect may be the enemy of good enough, you’ll always regret ‘not quite good enough’.
Maintain poise – no matter what’s going on for you personally or professionally, maintain poise, most especially with clients. Smile, be interested in them, focus on solving their issues. It can sometimes require compartmentalization, but when things are rocky I’m usually grateful for my ability to compartmentalize. Recently I was going through a particularly stressful time on a project, and a lot of turmoil personally as well. As I walked into a client meeting I felt ill-equipped to handle, I told myself, “No matter what happens, maintain poise.” The meeting went great, and the client said he thought I was doing a great job on the project and wanted to know when would I be managing projects independently, because he would like to work with me more in the future! I would have been proud of how I handled the interaction either way, but the positive feedback sure was nice.
Make the tough decisions sooner rather than later – whether it’s firing someone, moving on from a personal or professional relationship that has run its course, or another tough decision, it’s best for you and your happiness and everyone involved if you don’t drag the decision out. Sometimes it may seem less brutal to move slowly, but I don’t know very many people who prefer to have their bandaids torn off slowly so they can feel the pain over a longer span of time. It’s compassionate to let people move on – including yourself.
Don’t be afraid to give things a try – you might think you can’t do something well that you’ve never done before, but unless you give yourself the opportunity to try – including the space to fail, at first, and to get better over time – you’ll never have the delightful surprise that you excel at something you never imagined you would!
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I would love to hear the insights you have from reading these tips, and how you put them to work for you!