A Conversation with Women: Keys to Success

April 27, 2018

A Conversation with Women: Keys to Success

By: Dr. Trish Holliday


Starting a conversation about how women can take charge of their future in this complex and ever-changing world is inspiring to me as I coach many women who have yet to define themselves and their own goals. The BE SAY DO model offers a simple framework of taking charge of your own trajectory. Within each component of the model, there are explorative questions to reflect on how one can BE more authentic, SAY words that communicate with clarity and purpose, and DO actions that drive effectiveness and excellence.

When women come together to dialogue about how to influence their own individual success accompanied by generating energy around the idea that “women championing women” can create an “all boats rise” effect. The BE SAY DO model is a simple way to take ownership of your own journey and career. There is a collective impact for women when we can come together, build, and produce ideas followed by action. By studying the definition of collective impact, we have the opportunity to learn and apply the core principles of success within our own careers and together as professional women.

According to the Collaboration for Impact, collective impact is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change. What if we were to take this definition and overlay it on a discussion about women and keys to success for the professional woman? John Kania and Mark Kramer stated, “We believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.” The BE SAY DO model supports the idea that with collective impact we can achieve more and with more.

The first component BE, focuses on your authenticity as a professional woman. Some of the deepening questions that assist women in reflecting on this idea of authenticity are: 1) Who am I in my work environment? 2) How do I show up authentically? and 3) Do you feel you are being yourself at work and comfortable being the “authentic” you?

The second component SAY, explores how you communicate in the workplace? Some of the deepening questions that help to reflect on this idea of communication are: 1) What is the story you share about yourself? 2) What is the importance of word choices in describing situations, and experiences? 3) How can communication elevate or deflate your presence within a community/group? 4) In meetings, do you most often contribute to clarify a point, introduce new thinking, or are you reserved? and 5) What are ways you can strengthen your own personal influence through what you say and how you say it?

The third component DO, emphasizes the importance of action. Sheryl Sandberg states, “Careers are a jungle gym not a ladder. There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, asks, “Are you where you want to be professionally?” Both the statement by Sandberg and the question by Clark offer the opportunity to deeply consider whether our actions are helping to promote ourselves or hindering opportunities for growth. How are you actively seeking to sharpen your expertise and gain new information to enhance your role?

It is my hope that this conversation will disrupt our normal way of being, saying and doing, and become an invitation to consider new possibilities as we strive to BE authentic, SAY words of purpose and with clarity, and DO actions that demonstrate intentionality, commitment and excellence. I think if we as women can work together, lift one another up with support and encouragement, and focus on our collective impact, we can rise together and IGNITE WOMEN LEADERS!

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