New year, new you!

January 11, 2010

Another year is here and damn, I’m still in the same old position I was last year and forgot to get a promotion! If this sounds familiar, read on for Jen Dalitz’s tips for getting what you want in 2010…

Many working women tell me they’re sick and tired of waiting for promises to be kept and wishes to come true. Indeed it’s one of the Big 3 issues my mentees consistently raise. On the work front women tell me they ask for more flexibility, more pay or more resources to get the job done, but it falls on deaf ears. They tell me how unfair it is that everyone else seems to get what they want. Or they lament that on the home front they don’t get the support from their spouse or family or friends that they need.
What I’ve noticed is that it’s often not what the women are asking for that lets them down, but the way they ask.

In work and in life, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets oiled so you’ll need to do more than wishlist (read: performance goals and objectives) and ask politely to get what you want: You’ll need to be a lot more persuasive than that if you want your wishlist to come true this year.

So here are my top tips on what I’d be doing to make my wishes come true:

1. Get clear about what you want and then communicate clearly. One of the most common criticisms men have of women is that they don’t understand what we want. You have to get clear about what’s important to you, what you need and what you want. Then communicate this clearly and concisely and in terms that will make sense to your audience. Keep it to the point, using as little conversation or padding as possible.

2. Ask calmly and casually for what it is you want. Don’t bother scheduling formal meetings and preparing lengthy proposals for your boss to approve. Ask, ask and ask again at any opportunity you get. I’m not suggesting here that you don’t do your homework; just don’t spend hours on fancy presos and papers when the back of the envelope will do; and don’t book formal meetings with your boss when a quick chat at the water cooler or in the elevator will work just as well.

3. Be persistent. Don’t expect to get what you want the first time you ask – in fact if you do, consider yourself lucky! My advice is to expect at least two knock-backs before you get a yes (though my friend Candy Tymson told us in her Negotiation tips at the last Ascend development day that it takes on average four cracks before you’ll get the nod). If you want to learn from the experts simply watch how kids do this with their parents. They know the more they ask the more likely they’ll get it and they’re not afraid to keep going. It works!

4. Give others permission to give. So often we say we want our team at work or partner at home to do more… but we just don’t give them the chance! We take on extra work because “It’s quicker to do it myself than to show them how to do it”. And we take on more at home because we’re expected to… or we do it better… or if we don’t do it then nobody else will. Now I agree there are times when this is true, but generally things will still get done if it’s not you doing them. It takes some training and conditioning to let go. But let go you must.

5. Be careful what you wish for. Only you will know what’s right for you, what your priorities are and what will make a difference to your overall happiness and wellbeing. So be true to yourself, believe in yourself and take on only what you truly want to live up to.

Jen Dalitz is a business consultant, farmer, mother and author and founder/SheEO of, a community dedicated to advancing women in leadership and author of “Little Wins for Working Women”, $19.95.

For more great career tips click here!

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