I recently had the honor of speaking on a panel for International Women’s Day at Accenture in Chicago. The topic was Access.
Because I am a fan of acronyms as a way of remembering things, I decided to create an acronym from the word ACCESS to pass along to the crowd.
The response was so positive that I felt the need to share with you all.
ACCESS–Align, Community, Clarity, Elevate, Speak Up, Self-Care
Align: You and the Business Outcomes.
Align your role to the company’s bottom line. When asked what you do for work, don’t simply give your title. Instead, describe what you do as it relates to business outcomes. Example: Instead of “I am a Talent Acquisition Manager” you “Drive top-line growth by filling positions that impact long-term growth, ensure movement into new markets and contribute to the overall success of mission-critical initiatives.
Align your data with the financial outcomes of the business. In your next presentation, you will bring your graphs and pictures. You will report on progress. And you can tell the story of how your activities align with business outcomes. Example: Through publishing 25 social media posts and 15 testimonials from our women in IT about why they love working at our company we have seen a 33% increase in the number of applications received from women. This means that if we stay on this pace, we will beat our goal of gender parity by 14 months.
Community Building: Inside and Out.
We all know about networking and the fact that who you know matters. Building your community should be a priority especially when you are in the midst of heads-down work. Set up a skip-level conversation with your bosses’ boss. Go to an after-hours event. Volunteer for Girls that Code. Sign up for a course that interests you. Be a mentor or sponsor. Being visible and a role model to younger girls and women inside and outside your organization not only expands your network but fills your soul.
Clarity: Know Your Battle Cry.
What is it that really matters to you? What is your why? When you know this all things are easier. Making decisions. Saying yes. Saying no.
The idea of having a battle cry was inspired by the work of Dr. Michelle Mazur (https://drmichellemazur.com/). Dr. Mazur is a communications coach for entrepreneurs. She asks them to create their 3 Word Rebellion.
Examples of a 3 Word Rebellion include Nike’s Just Do It-a Call-to-action battle cry. Another example might be a Call-to-Consciousness battle cry like Black Lives Matter. InspiHER Tech’s battle cry is actually a hashtag- #HireMoreWomenInTech. Personally, I have two- Champion of Others and Follow the Fun. Both inspiHER and motivate me. When you are clear on what your battle cry is and connect that to what you are doing at work Access follows. Your passion and purpose will take you where you can serve yourself and your organization the most.
Elevate: Yourself and Others.
Use business presence and power language to lead with confidence. Connect with the power centers in your world and elevate your exposure. Offer a hand. Clear the way. Be the best version of yourself-actively listen, be count-on-able, be on time, be prepared. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Speak Up: For Yourself. For Others.
For yourself-Know your worth and get compensated for what you are doing. Raise your hand in meetings. Write with confidence-remove “cushion” words like just, might or could be. These words diminish the power of your message.
For others-Identify bias and microinequities. Don’t let someone’s ideas be co-opted. Don’t interrupt or allow someone to be interrupted. Make sure everyone is included in the conversation and at company gatherings.
- If you see something say something.
- If you feel something say something.
- If you want something say something.
Self-care: The #1 Career Strategy
Last but not least. Self-care really is the cornerstone of Access. One of my favorite self-care strategies is having a routine. Routines take out the tension of having to decide once again what to eat, what to wear, what time to go to bed. Set up some great morning, workday and evening rituals. Take time to take care of you! Add fun time into your workday. When you care for yourself you exude a level of positive energy that is attractive to others. People want to work with you. People want to recommend you. Watch your access increase as you make your self-care a priority.