High-Heeled Success® News You Can Use - April, 2016

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April, 2016  

April Newsletter

Women Can Do It

Asking for What You Want
in the Workplace

Kay Fittes, April, 2016

Childhood experiences can affect us for a lifetime, whether for good or for bad.  I share one such memory with you as it relates to this month’s topic. I call it my Lemon Drop Story:

It’s a lazy July afternoon when my grandmother and I strolled into Neibur’s grocery store, in the tiny town of Cobden, Illinois, population 500.  Time has forgotten Cobden and Neibur's; the store could have easily been a set for a movie set in 1904.  It has wooden floors, baskets of fruit, burlap bags with potatoes and barrels of hard candy.  To my 8-year-old eye, the most important barrel is the lemon drop barrel, I LOVE lemon drops.  Tiny and shy, I stand close to my grandmother and eye the lemon drops.  I am just about ready to summon the courage to ask for some lemon drops, when Mrs. Neibur comments, “Helen you are so lucky to have such a quiet and well-behaved granddaughter, she isn’t like most of the children that come in here throwing a fit for candy!”  My grandmother replies, “Yes, Ethel, we are so fortunate, Kay never asks for anything.”  Those words were like a knife, a reminder that good little girls never ask for anything.  I swallowed my request, as usual, and left the store with only visions of lemon drops.

Click Here To See How This Plays Out In Adulthood

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Kay’s Consulting Corner

Kay Fittes

Each month in this section, Kay offers actionable career consulting tips.

3 Quick Tips for Effective “Asking”

You may know you have an issue asking for what you want, and in the lead article, I provided a strategy to move beyond it so you can formulate your ‘ask’.  Once you have your strategy down, the next important component in the process is the methodology.  Below are three steps for asking for what you want with unwavering confidence.

  1. Keep it simple.  You do not need to provide a huge backstory on why you want what you want.  Doing so muddies the waters of your request.  For example, sharing a woeful backstory of why you need more money (increased rent, debt or medical expenses), runs the risk of appearing like a victim.  Being succinct and to the point is a more professional and powerful method of communication.  Be concise in your delivery and you’ll set your request up for success.

  2. Develop one clear statement of the question.  You have a simple request, formulate it and practice it.  The basic elements of the request include what you want, what you’ll do in return for it, and how it will benefit either the person you’re asking, or your organization.  Role play and practice with someone who can counter with some potential objections.  This is a good way to practice and build confidence before making the actual request.

  3. Shut up, and don’t apologize for asking.  This may seem like harsh advice, but it will stick with you and serve you well.  Once you’ve asked, be silent.  Let the request float out there and simmer.  And don’t waver!  This is a key communication method that many top salespeople use.  State your case, and wait.  You’ve made your move, and now it’s the other person’s turn.  A bit of silence may feel like an eternity, or even a little uncomfortable, but it will also demonstrate your strength and sincerity.  If you backpedal and apologize for asking, you will not only negate what you set out to do, you’ll lose a lot of credibility in the process.

These three steps together create a strong framework and method to formulate your request and execute it.  If you prepare and do the first two well, the third step will go easier than you might imagine.  I cannot predict the answer, but it’s best to prepare a response for best and worst case scenarios.  Above all, be gracious to ensure you maintain professionalism, and a chance at a future opportunity to reengage and make another request.

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Client Case Study – Billien McCowan

Billien McCowan

My pivotal meeting with Kay Fittes occurred when she was the keynote speaker at a conference presenting the topic “Kick Your Success Roadblocks to the Curb”.  She discussed three tips for success that are on my wall as a daily reminder.  I keep my notes from that presentation right in front of me, it had an impact!  I was not aware that she provided coaching until, at the conference, I heard some of her individual clients discussing their positive experience with her and how much they had learned.  The words of her clients lead me to ask about coaching.

This experience has been priceless.  Kay has a very skilled approach to asking probing questions that has been totally eye opening for me.  Ms. Fittes has shared insights, career experiences, provided me with new tools and challenged me to explore new angles that I have never tried before.  It has been exponential growth for me.

As a result of our ongoing coaching:

  • The trust level between my team and me has increased.
  • Trust has grown within the team.
  • Use of my new tools and techniques has lead to invitations for opportunities.
  • Kay has guided me in a strategic view of those opportunities.  Opportunities do not come by accident, they must be created.  Our coaching is positioning me to produce and capitalize on those career building situations.

I didn’t know what to expect from coaching.  After discussing coaching with other women, I realized Kay’s approach is so flexible.  She has the ability to meet people where they are and target their specific needs — that’s a gift.  I am so glad I made the decision to go this route with coaching, and getting to know Kay well has been “the icing on the cake”!

Billien McCowan
Pharmacy Training and Communications Manager
The Kroger Company—Kroger Plaza 1
11300 Cornell Park Drive, Suite 102
Cincinnati, OH 45242

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