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AWESOME Advisors hear inspiring words from Sally Helgesen


AWESOME Advisors concluded their meeting in on March 6 by joining founder Ann Drake at the International Women’s Forum annual event in Chicago. Ann, who in 2014 was honored by IWF with the global Women Who Make a Difference Award, introduced the speaker, author Sally Helgesen.

Helgesen is the co-author – with Marshall Goldsmith — of How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, Or Job. The co-authors are both considered leadership experts.

According to an article in Forbes, the book is “anything but a woe-is-me-I’m-not-getting-a-fair-shake-because-I’m-a-woman tome. It’s a smart and well-researched handbook for women trying to make the next step in their careers—as corporate ladder-climbers or risk-taking entrepreneurs. A key takeaway is that, for women in particular, the very skills and habits that may propel them early in their careers can actually jeopardize their advancement in subsequent stages of their work lives.”

The 12 behaviors described in the book don’t apply only to women; they are human behaviors, but, says Helgesen, they are most likely to get in a woman’s way.

In the Forbes article, Goldsmith and Helgesen describe the different ways men and women act when they resist change. Men, says Goldsmith, are likely to decide that whoever is suggesting that he change must be confused. Second, he decides that, while the general suggestion for change might be valid, it doesn’t necessarily apply to him for the simple reason that he’s been so successful. Third, he is likely to simply attack the person who suggested that he change.

A woman who resists change, says Helgesen, will usually follow a different template. First, she’ll react to the suggestion she change by feeling hurt, undervalued, even betrayed…Next, she will ask herself what might have motivated the assessment. What were the circumstances? What perceptions might have been involved? Third, she will begin to examine her own actions and ask how she could have contributed to the assessment.

Helgesen is also the author of The Web of Inclusion – Architecture for Building Great Organizations, Triving 24/7 — Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work; and The Female Vision – Women’s Real Power at Work.

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