The Secret Reason You Want Women in Top Leadership and Executive Positions in Your Company
When it comes to business, everyone from the entrepreneur to big corporates needs to listen up and take note of this interesting development in the business world. Although the number of women in executive roles in companies is often limited to a single-digit percentage, studies are increasingly proving that if companies want to increase their profit, they need to rethink their strategy on gender diversity within the company.
Why it’s important to have gender diversity in your company.
In January 2018, McKinsey & Company published their 42-page report Delivering through Diversity on their findings with regards to valuable aspects of this very topic. They found that “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”
I don’t know about you, but this statistic really had me sitting up straight. So often we as women don’t even realize the importance of our contribution to the business environment. We often focus so extensively on get the job done despite facing challenges, raising families and contributing to our communities that we undervalue ourselves. I, of course, am of the opinion, that if we don’t know and acknowledge our worth first, no one else will.
Personal challenges women face that are featuring in executive leadership roles globally
It goes without saying that featuring in these executive roles brings challenges of their own for these successful women. Just like a normal wife and mother she has duties to fulfil that lie outside her corporate duties. The reality is that their male counterparts, especially those without children rarely understand the extreme stress and challenges these women face and they rarely have empathy for women in these situations.
What type of support do they need?
It doesn’t need to limit women’s opportunities to excel in the business environment. As women, we can support each other to better achieve our individual goals. Handling personal finances, paying bills, diary management, travel arrangements, event planning, holiday itineraries, the list goes on… The fun part for me is knowing that there’s always a solution for these types of challenges. And no, it’s not a personal assistant, but rather a Virtual Assistant. Both may have similar skillsets but there’s a fundamental difference between a personal assistant and a Virtual Assistant. That difference is mindset! A personal assistant is invaluable but has the mindset of an employee. The right Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur in her own right, so she already has a growth mindset, a get the job done attitude. A no-excuses mentality. She is focused on results!
It’s so important for us as women to empower each other the reach our goals and dreams. It’s within our grasp if we support each other. There’s no shame in getting help. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. We just need to know where to get the right assistance. As mothers and wives, we often face this tremendous guilt when it comes to our jobs and families. We are always spreading ourselves too thin. Feeling guilty if we need to take time away from work to spend with our children or families. Even taking your child for a dental appointment can seem like a mountain.
My suggestion? Get that trusted support that will free up your time so you can focus on the quality events in your family, children and work. Value yourself and your loved ones enough to let go of some things.
Let’s celebrate each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. Together there are no limits to what we can accomplish!
3 Tips to kick the mid-year slump’s butt!
It’s mid year and you’re looking back at what you’ve accomplished so far… Disappointed? Don’t fret you still have another few months to get it right! Yeah mid year slump is such a real thing for me. You hoped that you would be a little bit further along the line by now but hey, sometimes things don’t always go as planned so stop beating yourself up about it!
Luckily I’m bringing you a couple of tips to pick yourself back up and keep pushing, maybe you’ll be able to accomplish that goal after all 😉
Re-align your goals
We are prone to make a ton of goals at the beginning of a year but sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself if those goals really still resonate with where you’re going in life/career/relationships etc. If you’ve written down your goals a couple of months ago, sit down and ask yourself if you really need to have accomplished them by the end of the year. What’s happened from then until now, what have you achieved? Re-structure so your goals align with the vision you have for yourself as we’re coming into the last part of this year.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Let’s face it, life happens… I didn’t know I’ll be moving this year, it just crept up on me and bam! I still haven’t launched a course I was creating because I had to take some spare time to pack up and move my life. Sometimes unexpected things in life throws you off course, don’t worry you are awesome enough to pick yourself back up and climb back on the right path.
I’m a sucker for planning, although I never seem to plan a time to plan… Hmmm hope that makes sense? What went wrong in the first half of this year that prevented you from being where you wanted to be mid year? How can you improve/change your circumstances so the same thing doesn’t happen with your newly planned goals? You can only improve if you admit where you could’ve done better. Being healthier is always a big one for me. So instead of just winging it with the knowledge you thought you had, maybe plan a couple of meals ahead so you’re sure you’re making the right choices.
Most people do not reach their goals in the time span they planned to reach it. Have you ever wondered why? Because life happens. It’s sad but true. The best you can do is pick up and keep on keeping on. Being sad about your situation won’t help you one bit. But if you realize what went wrong and how to counter it, you’re well on your way.
If you have reached the goals you set for mid-year then CONGRATS! The gratification of reaching a milestone that you’ve set for yourself is unmatched. Keep doing what you’re doing and this year will turn out to be one of your most successful yet. If you haven’t, just remember when life gives you LEMONS make LEMONADE!
How is that 2019 goal list looking? A 6 month check in with…myself!
What?? It is July already??
Well that was unexpected – seems like just the other day I was getting my kid ready for his first day at big school and now we are 6 and bit months down, 2 terms into school and a talking, almost 2 year old, into 2019!
So I thought it fitting to do somewhat of a check in with myself – have you done something similar?
Now I will admit – this year really has challenged me a fair deal, but in a good way (if there is such a thing) because challenges mean we are learning or have been given an opportunity to learn, take a step back and reassess situations that may not be all that great for us and have the chance to make a change.
One of my big challenges was balance this year – and funny how it was also something that was on my list, my new year’s resolutions if you want. Balance in life and work. Finding more time for me (which still eludes me it would seem) and because of this, I found myself on the brink of mental meltdown.
In this blog, I will share how I plan to get back on the proverbial horse and put me first in order to be there for everyone else who needs me. Because if you do not take care of you, no one will!
How am I going to reach my goal in the last half of 2019?
Now, I had a few things on my list of resolutions, goals that I wanted to achieve for 2019 but one of my main ones was finding balance in my life, family and work. But the main thing I knew I needed to do was put me first!
If I am not at my peak when it comes to health and mental wellbeing, how can I possibly be there for my family? How can I possibly be there for my clients? How can I possibly be there for me?
After my personal hurdle knocking me on my behind for a few days – I decided to sit, take a breather, have a mini digital detox and reassess the situation and how I was going to overcome the madness.
This is what I came up with (these were on my original list):
- ME FIRST – I have to take time for me. Whether that be a morning out on my own for breakfast or meeting with a friend or my mom or sister for a coffee then so be it. Perhaps even just having a bit of time to pamper at home is what I will do – set aside an hour or so to do nails, have a spa bath or get a foot massage.
- BE MORE PRESENT – Being a working mom, working at home and still trying to be present with the boys can be challenging, especially when deadlines and tasks are at the forefront of my mind most of the time. But I have noticed remarkable changes in my kid’s behaviour when I spend, even 10 minutes, of time just with them, fully present and participating in whatever silly little game they want to play. So I know that I have sort of checked this one off the list – but will continue to have this on all lists going forward.
- EAT BETTER – Seems like something that should be easily done – but this is possibly the one goal that has eluded me the most. Convenience is king and most times that results in take-outs and snacks and so on. But after re-looking my list and realizing that I definitely need to make the change – I am prepping meals and making sure that not only my kids are well fed and eating their veggies but that mommy is too … after all, we lead by example.
- GET QUALITY SLEEP – I have also had serious trouble with getting more than 4 hours of sleep in every night and something that I am trying to get around.
And this brings me to – how this relates to me as a VA….
All these things make for a better me, and a better more balanced home life and therefore a more quiet and focused brain when it comes to working and providing clients with the best and more.
I would say that this would be the same for anyone whether working from home or at an office, freeing your mind of the clutter and madness and having balance can definitely help you achieve your goals. It can make a serious difference when it comes to completing tasks and learning new things and taking on more challenges with a positive outlook.
I have complete faith that all of the above – as well as a few extra things – will be achieved before midnight chimes at the end of 2019!
How far have you come this year? Did you reach any or all of your goals?
Happy half year and let’s end it with a bang!
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a VA
Developing your boundaries is a crucial step to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients.
Boundaries come in many shapes and forms and when you consider that you are working with many different personalities who may not think the same way. It’s really important that you teach them how to treat you. If you let someone cross your boundaries, they will be taught that it’s okay. Set your boundaries, and then stick to them. You’ll run a better business, and your clients will appreciate it too!
Boundaries are key to a successful VA/Client relationship. Make sure that time, energy, and integrity are protected for everyone involved. The biggest and most rewarding client interactions come from my boundaries around communication.
Your clients will appreciate knowing the rules and respect you for setting and communicating them with confidence.
Focus on Exceptional Communication
- Timely, efficient communication should be a priority. Of course, communication with a single client should not consistently and unreasonably encroach on your personal time or negatively affect your productivity. However, being available demonstrates that your client’s project and satisfaction are important to you.
- In addition to timely and thorough communication, it’s also important to make your clients feel comfortable being open and honest with you. They should feel that their ideas and concerns will be taken seriously.
It is all about compromise
Yes it really is all about compromise especially when you are working as a virtual assistant. Concentrate on doing most of your work during working hours, be available when there is a crisis and turn your phone/ laptop off when you need a bit of YOU time!
Obviously it does not matter what boundaries we set and precautions we take, other people are not always going to follow our lead. It’s up to us to set, and keep, those boundaries, no matter how difficult it might be at the time. I would say that it’s vital to our health to do this.
Good work ethics, transparency and personal integrity are three key aspects that every virtual assistant needs. We define integrity for a virtual worker as having personal standards that will not be broken by the opinion of others.
Rules to follow
- First, do not create situations that you will later regret.
- Second, people will act as we allow them to. If you don’t say something when something isn’t right, then the person assumes it is okay.
- Third, professionally communicate when setting boundaries yet be firm.
Action steps to implement:
- Develop your ideal day.
- Set your boundaries based on your ideal day.
- Communicate those boundaries to potential and current clients
- Address any issues immediately before it gets out of hand and becomes a strain on the working relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries is good for you and your client. It teaches them how to work with you in a way that stimulates win-win situations.
Effective boundaries create positive client relationships.
Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”