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Moving On...Getting to the Answers

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a business luncheon where the guest speaker was Suzy Welch, co-author of Winning: The Answers - Confronting 74 of the Toughest Business Questions Today, and wife of Jack Welch. I also had the honor of sitting beside Jack and watching and listening to his comments as Suzy spoke. This couple who appeared to me to be very 'down to earth people' are obviously devoted to each other and he is obviously extremely proud of her. This pride comes as much or more for her brilliance as her beauty.

They write 'The Welch Way' a column for Business Week and her comments were often in response to some of the many emails they receive on a weekly basis. One of the things that so spoke to me was when she recalled getting a note from a college friend with the statement, "John and I have managed to keep the fun-quotient alive for over 20 years now." It occurred to Suzy, as it would have to me,"what fun-quotient?". The first 20 years out of college for most of us was devoted to work, getting ahead, having family, raising family, paying a mortgage, keeping the weight off, etc. It's only after those priorities are taken care of that many of us, especially women, even begin to think about fun again...sad but true.

So what else are we not thinking about? According to Suzy Welch, there are 5 questions we could ask ourselves.

  1. Do I like the people I am working with?

  2. Does my job make me smarter?

  3. Does my job open or close doors for me?

  4. How do my compromises affect me and my future?

  5. Does my work give meaning to my life?

I believe that in answering the above questions, you will find yourself perhaps making some changes. If not, you will at least be more conscious of your work and your choices affect your life.

Some of the other points she made during a Q & A and upon which I have added my 'two cents' might interest you:

  • The reason there are so many entrepreneurs today is that we want to design lives that are flexible.

  • What about the glass ceiling for women? Her opinion is that men don't have it out to 'get women' or hold them back. However, they are often held back by the # 4 from above...the compromises they have made during their career. Taking time off for family, children, refusal to travel, etc. The truth is in order to rise equally with men in the corporate world, a woman needs availability and face time. We have often made other choices, because those other choices were more important to us at the time. The comment has been "Well if men would just spend 50% of their time with the children, we wouldn't have this problem".....maybe so, but the truth is, they don't.

  • "I'm tired of being treated like a girl in the business world". For example, if a male offers to pay you less for a contract job than you requested: Do you automatically assume, its because you're a woman or could it be you don't have enough experience to command that fee; or is this the beginning of the negotiation which most men are accustomed to doing? Bottom line, if you automatically jump to the conclusion that it's the male-female thing...this may be a personal problem.

  • Use candor, be direct, it can unclutter a lot of life for you. However, watch your pace and your tone. if candor sounds too blunt, you may get called a "B----".

  • Use gut instincts in strategy, not in hiring. Hiring should always be based on qualifications and references. Don't ignore what matters just because you like the person.

As I listened to her answer these questions, I was delighted to hear how many times Jack would mutter, "She's right on with that one." I just love it when a husband is so reminds of my own sweet husband. Unfortunately he passed on some time ago. Perhaps you'd like to pass this on to your husband.

Wishing you 'fun', Judy

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