This article was originally published on 1/24/13 in the Orange County Register. See the original posting at http://www.ocregister.com/news/women-409139-make-success.html
Victoria Mouroulis is a Managing Director of the Leadership Vistas program:
I often hear statistics about women being more than 50 percent of management ranks today, but less than 20 percent of the executive ranks in corporate America.
Yes, the numbers are discouraging, and yet I have come to understand that the staggering discrepancy is due in part to the fact that many women do not desire to be part of the executive suite.
That doesn't mean gender discrimination doesn't exist. It simply means that we cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged by statistics.
We must not allow others to define our success; we must define success for ourselves. What does success look like, and feel like for you? What will it take to be successful, and are you willing do whatever it takes?
For women who do want to move into the executive suite, here are a few simple tips:
• Stop making assumptions: Women often wait for managers and colleagues to recognize our contributions. The reality is that everyone is busy pursuing their own goals, and they may not even be aware of your specific accomplishments. It's up to you to make your colleagues and managers aware of your achievements and your value to the organization. It's imperative that you know and are able to articulate your value. I suggest you keep a portfolio of your accomplishments and share them often.
• Ask, listen, confirm and act: Simply ask your senior management, "What do I specifically need to accomplish or demonstrate to be promoted to my desiredposition?" We often make incorrect assumptions about what we need to do to be promoted. If you ask, listen, confirm and act, then you are more likely to achieve success.
• Be accountable; honor your word: People enjoy working with those whom they can count on and trust to do what they commit to doing. When you make commitments, honor them. It's critical to building trust. It's never out of style to be the person others can count on. Typically trusted colleagues will have access to more information and opportunities than their peers who simply make ex-cuses or lay blame in lieu of achieving results.
Having a plan, accepting responsibility for achievement, being a trusted colleague and recognizing others will make you a "high potential" candidate for advancement.
-Victoria Mouroulis is chairwoman of the Placentia Chamber of Commerce and a managing director for Business Women Rising, a leadership coaching organization that hosts local group meetings where women executives and managers help resolve each other's business issues. See businesswomenrising.com for more information. Mouroulis also owns Placentia's People's Choice CafÃ©.