At Propeller, 50% of the firm is female, a percentage that is rare to find in the consulting industry. To celebrate our female leaders in honor of Business Women’s Day, we’ve compiled business tips which answer the question, what is the best business advice you have ever received? 10 of our female consultants share their advice for what it takes to be successful. Nobody reaches the top without help and support from others. Regardless of gender, every successful leader will benefit from guidance or mentorship to help them overcome career challenges more easily.
1. Balance is a myth.
Balance is a worthy aspiration but don’t think you’re failing if you’re not “in balance” most of the time. I’ve found that balance is a whole lot more like a teeter totter than the scales of justice. You go too far in one direction and, just before bottoming out, you kick off in the other direction. You get to briefly pass through equilibrium before your momentum takes you too far in the other direction. With every back and forth, aim to lengthen your teeter totter, effectively reducing the variance. The trick is to remember that it’s supposed to be fun. Casandra Jensen, Propeller Alumna
2. Believe in yourself.
Negotiate, you are worth it. Women apologize so frequently when they don’t have to. Embrace your female intuition and take advantage of it. Don’t quit and never give up once you’ve started something. And finally, you are what you believe and if you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Caroline Lewis, Propeller Alumna
3. Your only limitation is yourself.
It really doesn’t matter what school you went to or what you have done in the past that dictates what you do today. Don’t be intimidated by what everyone else has done or achieved. Stefanie Galen, Consultant
4. Be yourself.
Be yourself 100% of the time. Never sacrifice who you are or what’s important to you. If you do, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Raquel Benito, Propeller Alumna
5. If you have questions, ask them.
If you don’t fully understand something, ask about it until you do. I’ve found that if I have questions or don’t understand something, most of the folks in the room don’t follow it either. I also find leaders sometimes worry they will be perceived as less competent if they start asking too many questions. But that’s how you are able to help fix problems – and to get to the root of the issues that need to be addressed. Kerri Evans, Consultant
6. Take the emotion out of it.
In the small ecosystem of a workplace, interpersonal relationships can feel strained and magnified. By doing your best to keep emotion out of your decisions and your interactions, you let the facts shine through and won’t feel emotionally drained at the end of the day. Caitlin Campbell, Propeller Alumna
7. Don't “no,” say “yes, but.”
This doesn’t mean that you mindlessly agree to do everything asked of you, but rather position yourself as part of the solution instead of a roadblock. In my career, I’ve known a number of very smart capable people (men and women) who consistently said “no” and ended up being cut out of the conversation altogether. Jess Brown, Director of People Strategy
8. Surround yourself with strong women who have similar values.
They will support you and strongly encourage your personal and professional development. Seek out a female mentor. Jen Birk, Propeller Alumna
9. Network, network, network.
Don’t just network when you need something. If someone approaches you, you build a lot of equity in giving them a helping hand and they will notice your generosity. Deirdre O'Donnell, Propeller Alumna
10. Don’t rely on work fairies.
“Work fairies” don’t work overtime, so it is best to come to a stopping point when you still have enough energy to know if it is a job well done versus just a job done. Beth Carter, Propeller Alumna