How many times have you negotiated a contract successfully on behalf of the company, saving them millions of dollars? What about the time you gained Management’s agreement for a business proposal you put together? Did you successfully leverage for a salary increase as a result of your accomplishments? These are all forms of leadership negotiation and influence that we do as professional leaders in our day-to-day jobs.
How much time and effort do we as women put toward negotiating for ourselves personally – for what we want in terms of the type of job, our personal development or compensation? Data suggests that when it comes to negotiating for personal goals and wants, women do that less often, and are less aggressive than their male peers.
If You Don’t Ask, Who Will?
It is important that women ask for what we want for our careers. If we don’t ask, the likelihood of getting what we want is low to none. Here are a few tips I would like to offer up on how best to get what we want in our careers and how to approach negotiations to get them.
Do your homework.
Channel the way you invest time and effort into winning a contract and negotiating a deal, and invest time to prepare for your own personal negotiations. We first have to determine what we want in terms of career goals, and the plan to get there, including the negotiation strategy to achieve them.
Know your value.
Women believe as long as we do a good job, someone will notice and “take care of us,” but this approach leaves too much to chance. We need to be intentional by showcasing our good work and accomplishments. This can come in the form of sharing your work and or strategically communicating to those that have a major influence on your career. For example, before you ask for a raise or a promotion, you need others to know your accomplishments and how you are ready for the next job. Once your results are visible and applauded, your brand value will go up.
What you want can benefit both sides.
We typically come out and directly ask for what we want. At times, it may be more effective if you consider properly positioning the request so it seems beneficial to both sides. In other words, how do you ask for what you want in a way that can be a win-win for both sides? For instance, if you asked for training that will further develop your capabilities, it can be positioned to help with a project you can take on to help out your boss or the company, rather than being solely for your own personal development.
Instead of coming in with only one negotiation position, what are your other options that will still put you in a better place? Make sure you have those options in your back pocket in case you need to use them as part of your negotiation strategy. For example, you want to ask for a flexible schedule where you can telecommute 1 day a week, but your boss is concerned about your presence in the office, including the meetings that are best attended in person. Offer up some solutions. 1) You will consolidate those meetings to the days that you are in the office, or 2) the goal is to be able to telecommute 20% of the time, and you will use your judgment based on the needs of the business to determine how best to do that within a month (versus each week).
About Joy Chen
Joy Chen is the Chief Executive Officer for Yes To, Inc., which specializes in Natural Skincare globally. In less than three years, she has transformed the business and has catapulted the brand to the #2 category leadership position in natural personal care. Prior to Yes To Inc., Joy has spent 16 years at the Clorox Company, and was the Vice President General Manager of the Laundry business. Her work experience spans large and small companies, focuses on tackling complex, business turnarounds and shows her leadership effectiveness through leading organizations through change.
Joy is an active Board member and advisor for start-up businesses and nonprofit. Specifically, she is active with 18 Rabbits and 479 popcorn. She supports many women entrepreneurs by providing guidance and coaching to starting founders/CEOs in the Bay Area. Additionally, she is on the Board for Junior Achievement. She is also active with Network of Executive Women, both the executive and diversity women groups. Recently, she has been awarded 2012 Most Admired CEO of the Year and 2013 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joy received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University.