The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute projects that women small business owners will create 5 to 5.5 million new jobs across the U.S. by 2018, transforming the workplace of tomorrow into a far more inclusive, horizontally managed environment.*
What's more, women-owned small businesses are expected to generate more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs projected to be created, and roughly one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018. If these predictions come to pass, it will be increasingly important for women entrepreneurs to excel in the executive chair. I recently interviewed Linda Henman, PhD, author of Landing In The Executive Chair, about how women can prepare themselves for these exciting challenges.
To listen to my 30-minute interview with Linda, and to put her insights to work in your business now, scroll to the bottom of this page and click the play arrow. If you don't feel like listening right now, here is a high level summary of what Linda and I discussed, with time stamps in case you want to scroll forward.
- Practice “F-squared” leadership (4:00). “Great leadership is about balancing concern for task with concern for people,” says Dr. Henman. Doing so requires “F-squared” leadership, meaning you must have “firm but fair” approaches to communication and leadership.
You are in business to achieve specific results. This requires not only firmness and fairness, but it also requires a strong sense of self and self-worth, both of which are driven by excellence. Don't do like many small and “boutique” business owners and sacrifice firmness (which leads to results), thus compromising their ability to achieve business goals. (If you have issues with self-esteem, be sure to listen to this section.)
- Appropriately value your products and services (6:57). Dr. Henman says that her mantra is, “You're not charging enough.” You should be fairly compensated for what you're good at, especially if no one in the world is offering the same thing you are. She shares the story here of how she tells one of her female clients, who consistently undervalues her services, to add a zero after each pricing proposal before she sends it to the prospective client.
Dr. Henman says she never has to tell her male clients to charge what they are worth. In fact, she says, her male clients often overvalue what they have to offer! (Take a tip, ladies!)
- MasterMind and hire a business coach (13:30). Dr. Henman highly recommends working with an external coach and a MasterMind group. A coach provides more formal “big picture” feedback while your MasterMind partners are like-minded people who can support in the day-to-day trenches of business.
Your MasterMind partners will help you do things like pull back when you're getting too far away from your core business, or maybe telling you when you are not charting a high enough price for your product or service. They will even tell you when your feelings may be getting in the way of doing business, ie., when you are being fair but not firm.
Linda's business coach, whom she highly recommends, is Alan Weiss of Summit Consulting Group.
I have worked with a business coach and MasterMind groups for many years. I fully agree with Dr. Henman when she says that both will help keep you from “breathing in your own exhaust.” Love that!
About Dr. Linda Henman
Linda Henman, PhD, is a coach, consultant, speaker, and author. For more than 30 years, she has helped Fortune 500 Companies, military organizations, and small businesses define their direction and select the best people to put their strategies in motion. Linda holds a PhD in organizational systems, two MAS degrees in both interpersonal communication and organization development, and a BS in communication. A member of the National Speakers' Association, The National Association of Corporate Directors, and Air Force Association, Linda works with executives and boards of directors to help them set strategies, plan succession, and develop talent. Visit her website at Henman Performance Group.
How to Listen to the Show
This post contains my paraphrases of the information Linda shared. To hear it from the horse's mouth yourself, listen to the entire 30-minute show using one of these options:
- Download it on iTunes. (It usually takes a day or two for iTunes to feed the show there.)
- Click on the arrow at the bottom of this post to listen now!
- Because I have not had a chance to load all of my shows to this blog, you can listen to hundreds of interviews from 2005 to 2010, each one as relevant today as it was when I recorded it, at my Indie Business Radio site.
Question: What do you think of Linda's advice to women?
* Source: Guardian Special Report: Women Small Business Owners Will Create 5+ Million New Jobs By 2018, Transforming The Workplace For Millions Of Americans (PDF).