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Wynne Tyree, CEO of Smarty Pants, tells working women to "Put on Your Big Girl Pants."

Wynne Tyree, CEO of Smarty Pants, tells working women to “Put on Your Big Girl Pants.”

Wynne Tyree is CEO of an internationally known children’s market research firm. Her clients are some of the largest companies in the world (Think: Lego and McDonald’s.) She’s also a wife and a mom (which is how I know her; our kids are in Tae Kwan Do together.) When it comes to inspiration for other business women she’s full of practical advice.

Here are twelve success building tips she presented to the “Women Empowered” gathering sponsored by the Bank of Tennessee. 

1. Know your WHY. Wynne actually had us take a few minutes to write down our personal “whys.” After thinking her son was developmentally late at crawling, she placed a red toy just out of his reach in front of him. Guess what? He crawled! What moves you forward?

2. Specialize. Be an expert at something. Take a cue from the medical world and specialize. “Tell me why you’re awesome in 60 seconds.”

3. Take Calculated Risks. This was my favorite visual as one fish jumped from one gold fish filled bowl into a bowl of water with no fish in it. Be willing to do what others won’t. “99% of Americans swim in the same bowl,” she said. “You don’t regret the things you do. You regret the things you don’t do.”

4. Be Passionated and Contagious. Tell yourself you’re great and you will be!

5. Get Uncomfortable. Sometimes we have to move outside of our comfort zone in order to really grow, learn and succeed.

6. Surround Yourself with Amazing People. Nobody succeeds alone. Move with the people you want to be, not the people who you used to be. Move toward the people who are where you want to grow. Along with that, be slow to hire and quick to fire.

MarketingMel

Wynne Tyree (an amazing woman!) and CEO of Smarty Pants and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel.

7. Demand Excellence. Wynne said if you’re concerned with an employee who’s turning in less than excellent work, role play with a trusted companion/spouse. If they’re not performing up to par they may not want to be in your company.

8. Know your value and ask for it. Wynne said women often won’t ask for their real value whereas men will ask for “another $10,000 and then go out and play golf together two hours later.” She asked each of us to actually put a pencil to paper and calculate own net worth as we considered the many facets of our work and home careers. Add up the value of each job and then divide by two to get our real hourly rate. When she looked at life like this, cleaning the living room wasn’t quite so important. What is the best use of our time?

9. Stop Multi-Tasking. Learn to Compartmentalize. Multi-tasking is a lie. We actually need to create walls, structure and time frames. Set boundaries with e-mail (and with our kids if we work from a home office.)

10. Be “Selfish.” While that may sound strange, Wynne said we have to first put on our own air masks before we can start saving others when a plane is going down. What “fills our bucket?”she asked. Do more of that to save our own sanity, first.

11. Say “No.” “Remember the trampy girl in high school?” Wynne asked, as chuckles filled the room. “When you’re not so accessible, you have more value. It ups your ante,” she said.

12. Reassess and Course Correct. Check where you are and be willing to make a detour. For example, if after three years your original business plan didn’t work out, let it go and move on.

Which of these tips resonates with you? How will apply them in your business or every day life?

For more information about Wynne’s fascinating market research business visit www.smartypants.com.

 

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Amanda Boone from Summit Leadership Foundation joined me for the Communications seminar.

Amanda Boone from Summit Leadership Foundation joined me for the Communications seminar.

Last week I attended a day-long workshop titled “Communications Skills for Women.” Put on by Fred Pryor it was a great brush-up on tips we all know but need to be reminded of from time to time. Although the workshop was billed “for women” these tips will also resonate with my male blog readers. Some of these tips I actually gleaned from my classmates over lunch that day (the great part of workshops and seminars is often the people you meet there!) Which do you agree with and what would you add to this list?

  1. Phone Interview Tip: When on the phone with an employee ask them to repeat back what you have said. Do not just ask “Do you have any questions” because of course their answer will be know. Asking them to repeat bak what you have said engages them.
  2. Ask for what you want/Be specific: Assertiveness is about gaining a sense of self control.  It is a choice that you and you alone can make. We need to ask for what we want and to be specific in our requests.
  3. Put a time limit on interrupters: In my case this would be social media. If I don’t limit myself when I’m working on social media the next thing I know a half hour has gone by. What are your interrupters? Are they people in the office or habits that you have?
  4. Let go: Wow! I had my own personal nirvana with this just recently. I found out that a person whom I had given business to had said some negative things about me. I stewed about that for far too long. Finally at the suggestion of a friend I “let it go.” Boy, did I feel better! I will know not to do business with that person again but I can certainly be cordial to him.
  5. We need to respect ourselves and others: We teach people how to treat us. Do you allow people to interrupt you? We actually practiced this as a class exercise. Best to challenge interruptions by setting boundaries. “I know you have so much to contrite. When I’m through in five minutes I will give you the floor.”   And finally:
  6. Saying “no” is saying yes to myself! How many of us have gritted our teeth and said “yes” to something only to regret it later. I really like the concept of all of us having to make some “me” time. “No” can be a difficult word  to use but it can be learned!
  7. Bonus tip – Check your “BRA” : Whenever you get angry, check your “BRA.” B – Breathing; breathe through your diaphragm and count to three. R- Relax, and A – Attitude. Just thinking about checking my bra is bound to diffuse the tension!

Which of these tips resonates with you and why?

 

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