What Mid-Career High-Performing Professional Women Are Thinking

Uncategorized Oct 26, 2022

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

What are high-performing high-potential women in mid-career thinking? I recently interviewed ambitious professional women to learn more about their experiences. Watch this video to learn what they are dealing with and how they are advancing their careers. 

©Sunday Tollefson

Speaking of high-performing women, be sure to take this quiz and share your result. What's your career stage? 


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How One Simple Practice Can Enhance Your Career Growth

By Sunday Tollefson MBA, PMP®

The act of celebrating, according to Merriam-Webster, means to perform a ceremony publicly and with appropriate rites, by refraining from ordinary business, marking with festivities or deviation from routine." We certainly celebrate in our lives, but do we celebrate enough? (No.) And can we use celebration to drive our career?  (Yes.) If the answer is yes, who should we celebrate and, specific to professional women, why is it so important?

In this article, you'll learn nine reasons why we should spend more time celebrating and 15 simple ways to celebrate others, along with several real-world examples of celebrations and their outcomes.  

Why should we celebrate achievements? 

  1. When it comes to leadership, role modeling both team and individual celebrations improves team morale and develops a positive culture. This is a great way to inspire your team and community. As a bonus, someone might choose to celebrate you...
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How Confidence in Difficult Decisions Signals Executive Potential

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP®

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where all the fruit is."
- Bob Ross

You know that time you took a really big risk at work?  How did you decide to make that decision? Why did you go out on that "limb?" And how did it impact your courage muscle for making bigger future decisions? How did it impact your career?  

When you really think about it, what sets your difficult decisions apart from regular decisions is the risk involved. Risk means that there is an unknown element to the results of the decision. It means there are potential negative consequences that someone will have to own. There are events, aspects, dependencies, that can change the desired course of the action and subvert your ideal result. That's what makes these decisions difficult. Difficult decisions are made because they must be made. Even choosing "no action" is a choice, although it is often the one that requires the least courage and the least...

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How to Leverage a Crisis to Position Your Career for a Promotion

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP®

"Being president doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are." - Michelle Obama, 2012 

Today we are going to dive into crisis leadership.  How does a crisis change leaders? Why does demonstrating leadership in a crisis set you apart from your peers?  This is important information you need to know to set yourself up for success in the future.  

As I write this, we are smack in the middle of a shelter-in-place order in many places including my own state. We have a pandemic on our hands. Almost every industry has been dramatically impacted thanks to the virus  

You may notice that there is a different style of leadership coming into play right now, in your business, in your company, in your residential community, your family, your government.  

You likely also see faces that are new to you, who are providing information and instructions to you and your peers, colleagues, or...

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How to Interrupt Bias in Teams


By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP®

This week we talk about the recent Harvard Business Review article, "How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams" - and why.

Today we are going to talk about

1. Why would they do that intentionally
2. How do they do it

But before we do that, I am delighted to announce that I have created a QUIZ for you to determine where you really are in your career based on your experience, influence, and impact. So be sure to check out the quiz and invest one minute to get your results right away. 

Let’s begin.

First, why should you interrupt bias on your team?

It’s simple, because “well managed diverse groups outperform homogenous ones and are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and are better at making decisions and solving problems.”

Second, how do they do it? This is divided into three sections - hiring, managing, and developing.

When hiring, they:

• insist on a diverse pool,
• reject...

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When Male Managers Won't Work with Women


By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

Sixty percent of male managers now say they are uncomfortable participating in work activities with women - activities including  socializing, mentoring, and working one-on-one (Source: CNBC Make It: Closing the Gap: 60% of male managers now say they're uncomfortable participating in work activities with women).  In other words, they don't participate in work activities with women. By process of elimination, it is quite likely that these same managers DO participate in those work activities with men.

What happens when managers invest time in talent? Workers get better projects, better exposure to high level leaders, they are more likely to have executive ambitions, and are more exited about staying with the company. This is equally true for both men and women. 

What happens when workers don't get this attention? They don't get assigned to the better projects, they don't get exposure to leaders, they hold back and back off....

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Why Women Make Better CFOs


By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

BREAKING: The number of women CEOs now exceeds the number of men CEOs.... named John. That's progress, you can't deny that. 

Women executives comprise less than a quarter of all corporate leaders in the US.

A recent article by Bloomberg highlights why that might be shifting.  

See: Female CEOs Brought in $1.8 Trillion More Than Male Peers

Why? Women spend their careers being promoted on past performance while men are promoted for "potential." It stands to reason that women have more experience and expertise at equal points in their careers, such as at the moment they are promoted to CFO. Women have to be better performers than their males peers, and that explains why their performance is stronger.

A research study by S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed 6000 companies over 17 years and found that, "within 24 months of appointing female CFOs, companies saw an average 6% increase in profits and an 8% better stock return...

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How to Complete Your Career Zones Worksheet


By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

TIP: Start by printing this simple Career Zones one-pager

Scores of mid-career, high-performing women in corporate roles in 2019 shared the three categories they considered the primary factors in advancing their careers: skillset, mindset, and guide-set. 

If you're interesting in advancing your career today or ten years away, determine where you are in terms of your current career by thinking through the questions in the Career Zones Worksheet.

Why is it important to complete this page? Because stepping back and planning your career can no longer be an annual or semi-annual activity. Your daily thoughts, choices, behaviors, and actions are what create your brand and your influence.  

The action you can take today to improve your career is to document your present position for the three career zones. Depending on how much you want to think about this, it should be a ten to twenty minute activity. Aim for ten minutes.

What sets...

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How to Audaciously Envision Yourself as CEO


By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

If you believe that you have CEO (or other high-influence) potential, but strive for lateral career progression, something's not matching up. Actually visualizing yourself in such an executive role may require more than just a passing nod. You may, you must, be able to conjure the vision of yourself in this role. 

Doing so requires courage.

Luckily, courage is free.

If what you need is to get permission to have such an audacious vision and personal goal, give it to yourself. Or if you need a mentor to evaluate your vision before you step into that "courage" part of the deal, here. I hereby give you permission. Now go do it!

©2019 Sunday Tollefson

Watch this video for a full pep talk on seeing your ultimate career achievement, and then achieving it. 

Challenge at 8:35: I challenge you to shift into a courageous mode and take action within five...

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How to Start Your Star Performance

new job Sep 24, 2019

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

In this series, we have gone through the nine strategies from How to Be a Star at Work: 9 Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed at Work by Robert Kelley.

Have you enjoyed the prior nine videos?

As a refresher, the nine strategies are: Initiative, Networking, Self-management, Perspective, Followership, Leadership, Teamwork, Organizational Savvy, Show-and-Tell

In the closing chapters, the author pointed out that it's never too late to become a star performer. In fact, every time you start a new role, you have to start all over.
Here are eight questions to be asking yourself at all times to maximize your productivity:
  • Do you add value to your colleagues, the critical path that leads to the organization's goals, and the company's bottom line?
  • Do you consistently spot issues and problems and make sure that something gets done about them?
  • Do you always get work done on time and with high quality?
  • Do you consistently delight...
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