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News & Blogs: Women in the C-Suite

A CEO asks: Are you negotiating for yourself?

Thursday, November 7, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Joy Chen

Do you always get what you want?

How many times have you negotiated a contract successfully on behalf of the company and saved the organization millions? What about the time you gained the Board’s agreement to a major, game-changing business proposal you put together? Or when you advocated for a promotion for one of your direct-reports and the company supported it?

These are all forms of negotiations we do as professional leaders in our day-to-day jobs. We dedicate a lot of effort and time to achieve these results and successes.

But how much time and effort do we put toward negotiating for ourselves, personally, for what the type of job we want, our personal development or compensation? Why do we not put as much effort or tenacity behind asking for what we want as we do when we negotiate a contract from our company? Data suggest that when it comes to negotiating for personal goals and desires, women do it less often and are less aggressive than their male peers.

If we don’t do it, who will? It is important that women ask for what we want for our careers. If we don’t ask, the likelihood we will get what we want is low to none. Here are a few tips for negotiation for what we want in our careers.

  • Prepare. We invest time and effort in winning a contract and negotiating a deal; we must invest time in preparing for the negotiation of what we want personally. First, determine 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. Share your work and be strategic with communicating to those who have 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. When results are visible and applauded, your brand value goes up.
  • Your ask can benefit both sides. We typically come out and ask directly for what we want. At times, it may be more effective to position the request so that 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 instance, if you ask for training that will further develop your capability, it may be positioned as training that will help with a project that benefits your boss or the company, rather than being solely for your own personal development. 
  • Always have options. Instead of negotiating with one position, what are other options that will still put you in a better place? How do you have those options in your back pocket in case you need to use them as part of your negotiation strategy? For instance, you want to ask for a flexible schedule where you can telecommute one day a week. Your boss is concerned about importance of your presence in the office, including the meetings that are best attended in person. You may offer to consolidate and schedule those meetings on days that you are in the office. Or, if the goal is to be able to telecommute 20 percent of the time, offer to use your judgment based on the needs of the business to determine how best to do that within a month (versus each week).

Joy Chen is the CEO of Yes To Inc., a Network sponsor that specializes in natural skincare. In less than three years, Chen has catapulted the brand to number two in the natural personal care category. Prior to Yes To Inc., Chen spent 16 years at the Clorox Company in senior leadership positions in marketing, sales and operations. The San Francisco Business Times recognized her in 2012 as Most Admired CEO of the Year and in 2013 as one of the Most Influential Women in Business.

Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors.

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