Karie Willyerd Ph.D. is a highly successful business woman. She is Vice President, Learning & Social Adoption at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company. Early in her career, she shifted her way of thinking about executive roles and jobs to:
- Identify problems and needs in a company.
- Identify where a company was disappointed and needed fixing
- Focus on new alignment with goals and adjustments within the company. For example, a process may be fine and complete but may need to move at a different speed.
Karie’s strategy of simply looking for a job turned into something quite different—if you offer a solution that you are willing and able to implement, to a company you are interested in, a job can be created for you.
Karie says, “Every woman I know who is successful has worked very hard. They’re always smart, but smart isn’t enough when you’re a woman. I’ve always had a couple of big projects or quests underway at the same time as my job, whether it was pursing a doctorate or writing a book while working full time.”
Karie’s Tips and Secrets for Business Innovators
- Pay it forward. Be generous with time, referrals, and making connections for people.
- Look forward. It’s so easy to focus on the job you’re in with the company you’re in, but jobs and companies are changing. Every once in a while look forward and imagine where your industry is headed, your company, and your job to see if you need to be thinking about changes.
- Build a core network. Rob Cross, a researcher in social networks, says high performers have a core network of 12-18 people. Who are your people? How are you staying in touch with them?
- Be authentic and genuine with everyone. Some people know how to manage up, but not so much sideways and down. Remember those people who may be lower in the organization than you now, could one day become president or CEO.
- Figure out how your strengths match needs your organization has and offer to help. Jobs can be created when someone is willing and able to fix a big enough problem.
Karie shares a story about her tips and secrets in action. She explains:
“I have a very dear friend who is the CEO of a software company. She lives in California and flies to Ohio for her job almost every week and still figures out how to entertain regularly, retreat with friends, and be the board chair for a non-profit. She works hard and keeps her network alive by holding fantastic dinner parties. Her company was voted locally as one of the Top Employers for Work Life Balance, even though she personally works ridiculous hours when travel is included. To me that shows that she is constantly thinking about the people around her and how to make their lives better.”
You can connect with Karie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
If you would like to be featured in a future business woman profile for the Women of Innovation series, contact Jim Nico at [email protected].