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Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power [Hardcover]

Jill Flynn , Kathryn Heath , Mary Davis Holt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 13 2011
New York Times Bestseller

How women can make it to the top by adopting the new rules of leadership

Women hold just 11 percent of the most senior-level leadership positions in U.S. Corporations—a number that hasn't changed in over 30 years. How can women break through? Break Your Own Rules distills the six faulty assumptions (or "rules") most women follow that get in the way—then delivers the correlating new rules that promise to clear that path. For example, the old rule of "Focus on Others" must be replaced by "Take Center Stage," "Hard Work Will Get You There" must yield to "Be Politically Savvy." "Play It Safe" must give way to "Play to Win." "Ask Permission" must be replaced by "Proceed Until Apprehended."

  • Features the results of over 1,700 interviews with executives in Fortune 1000 companies, as well as the authors' new research and ongoing work with over 5,000 professional women
  • Showcases previously-untold stories from high profile women including Ann Moore (CEO, Time Inc.), Susan Ivey (CEO, Reynolds American), Cathy Bessant (Global Executive for Technology and Operations for Bank of America), Lynn Ford (CEO, ING Solutions), and more
  • Reveals what it really takes for any woman to succeed at the highest levels
  • Foreword by Sharon Allen, Chairman of Deloitte

This hands-on guide is for women who are ready to transform their assumptions and join the senior ranks of American business.



Product Details


Product Description

Review

'A useful read and no doubt a good book club discussion for an action learning set of women focusing on their development' (People Management, 29 November 2011)

From the Inside Flap

"We have a dream. It is a big vision . . . it is a leap . . . and it is audacious: we want to see women make up at least 30 percent of the top leadership positions in corporate America within the next ten years. . . . . America's corporations will be better led, and everyone will benefit."—From Chapter One

It's time for women everywhere to reimagine leadership—and put themselves at the top. The good news is that we know exactly how to make this happen: Break Your Own Rules distills the six faulty assumptions (or "rules") most women follow that get in the way of achieving their full potential—then delivers the correlating new rules that promise to clear that path all the way to the executive boardroom.

  • Old: Focus on Others vs. New: Take Center Stage

  • Old: Seek Approval vs. New: Proceed Until Apprehended

  • Old: Be Modest vs. New: Project Personal Power

  • Old: Work Harder vs. New: Be Politically Savvy

  • Old: Play It Safe vs. New: Play to Win

  • Old: It's All or Nothing vs. New: It's Both-And

Authors Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt have coached and trained over 5,000 women and helped them earn high-powered corporate positions. Based on their latest research, years of coaching successful business women, and over 1,700 interviews with executives in Fortune 500 companies, Break Your Own Rules reveals how women everywhere can start to change the thinking that drives their actions—and start winning in greater numbers.

Break Your Own Rules showcases previously untold stories from such high-profile executives as Ann Moore (recently retired CEO, Time Inc.), Susan Ivey (recently retired CEO, Reynolds American), Cathy Bessant (global technology and operations executive at Bank of America), and Lynne Ford (CEO, ING Individual Retirement).

This hands-on guide is for any woman who is ready to transform her assumptions and join the senior ranks of American business.

Break Your Own Rules showcases previously untold stories from such high-profile executives as Ann Moore (recently retired CEO, Time Inc.), Susan Ivey (recently retired CEO, Reynolds American), Cathy Bessant (global technology and operations executive at Bank of America), and Lynne Ford (CEO, ING Individual Retirement).

This hands-on guide is for any woman who is ready to transform her assumptions and join the senior ranks of American business.

For more on moving your career forward, faster, go to www.FlynnHeathHolt.com.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I commend the co-authors for providing a brilliant explanation of "how to change the patterns of thinking that block women's paths to power." With regard to the title, Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt urge their reader to realize that most of these patterns are self-imposed...but not all. If you (the reader) allow them to be blocks, if you have accepted them as your own, then you can also reject them and, better yet, help others to do so.

Throughout their lively and eloquent narrative, Flynn, Heath, and Holt juxtapose Old Rules with New Rules, carefully explaining why the latter must replace the former. For example, in Chapter Three, "Take Center Stage."

Old Rules:

1. I just take care of everyone else.
2. My needs come last.
3. It's not okay to ask for help.
4. I'm a great number two.
5. I don't belong on center stage.

If not initially but certainly over time, those who accept these Old Rules condone them and by implication affirm them. These rules are worse than self-limiting; they are self-defeating. Those who adopt them are passive, reactive, and can easily be manipulated and intimidated.

New Rules:

1. Take your goals and dreams seriously.
2. Think bigger. Aim higher.
3. Just say no.
4. Be ruthless with your calendar.
5. Take time to refuel.
6. Get famous for something.
7. Practice taking center stage.

Those who adopt these New Rules deny the "death" that Ernest Becker identified: that which occurs when a person becomes wholly preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations and wishes. Many people play a zero sum game. The New Rules do not apply to that game.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are We Ruled by Rules? Sept. 8 2011
By Jim Estill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Are We Ruled by Rules?

I feel relatively self-conscience posting a book review on a book that's clearly targeted to women. My problem is that I'm a veracious reader and read almost any book that someone sends me.

I've also become an advocate of women executives and entrepreneurs, and actively invest in them through Golden Seeds.

The book is short (about 150 pages) and divided into nine chapters.

The first chapter talks about vision. Having a clear vision allows that vision to become reality. Clarity of vision helps.

The second chapter talks about breaking your own rules and how we are all limited by the rules we set in our lives. We have to look at these rules and actively challenge them.

The third chapter talks about taking center stage or being willing to accept compliments and accolades for what's being accomplished. Essentially saying that women tend to be too modest.

Chapter four talks about proceeding until apprehended, which means we become what we say we are or fake it until you make it.

Chapter five discusses projecting personal power. The theory is that women don't project power, therefore, the do not get power.

Chapter six talks about being politically savvy. The gist of it is, not being politically savvy can hurt any success. It makes sense to pay attention to politics.

The seventh chapter is " play to win". This talks about the competitive differences between men and women and the idea that perhaps women need to play harder.

Chapter eight talks about its both-and. This points out the classic dilemma of wanting to have a successful career and at the same time balancing successful relationships and family.

Chapter nine talks about standing together and closing ranks. This is about how women can help other women in business and the corporate world.

This is a well-written book and I would recommend it to any women looking to get ahead in business.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why and how "old rules that limit women were made to be broken" by men as well as by women Nov. 2 2011
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I commend the co-authors for providing a brilliant explanation of "how to change the patterns of thinking that block women's paths to power." With regard to the title, Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt urge their reader to realize that most of these patterns are self-imposed...but not all. If you (the reader) allow them to be blocks, if you have accepted them as your own, then you can also reject them and, better yet, help others to do so.

Throughout their lively and eloquent narrative, Flynn, Heath, and Holt juxtapose Old Rules with New Rules, carefully explaining why the latter must replace the former. For example, in Chapter Three, "Take Center Stage."

Old Rules:

1. I just take care of everyone else.
2. My needs come last.
3. It's not okay to ask for help.
4. I'm a great number two.
5. I don't belong on center stage.

If not initially but certainly over time, those who accept these Old Rules condone them and by implication affirm them. These rules are worse than self-limiting; they are self-defeating. Those who adopt them are passive, reactive, and can easily be manipulated and intimidated.

New Rules:

1. Take your goals and dreams seriously.
2. Think bigger. Aim higher.
3. Just say no.
4. Be ruthless with your calendar.
5. Take time to refuel.
6. Get famous for something.
7. Practice taking center stage.

Those who adopt these New Rules deny the "death" that Ernest Becker identified: that which occurs when a person becomes wholly preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations and wishes. Many people play a zero sum game. The New Rules do not apply to that game. They assert that you can respect yourself and others as well as your goals and theirs, your resources and theirs, and your achievements and theirs. Everyone who plays by the New Rules will "win."

Flynn, Heath, and Holt immediately establish and then sustain a direct and personal rapport with their reader throughout the book. They provide an "Executive Summary" is provided at the conclusion of Chapters 3-8, each of which is devoted to one of the six major initiatives they urge each reader to take. They identify six "stumbling blocks" (Pages 14-16) and explain how to avoid or overcome them. They also focus on five conditions now in place that "make it much more likely for women to achieve notable success in their careers." And they share their vision, one they fervently hope this book will help to become a reality: "women in at least 30 percent of the top leadership positions in corporate America."

"At its heart, this is a book about driving change: making individual, group, and systemic change." I agree with Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt that the first great challenge is to redefine one's self in terms of what the New Rules not only offer but require. That is never easy but unless and until it occurs, other changes (in a group or throughout a system) will either not occur or prove woefully insufficient. Decades ago, Mohandas Gandhi advised, "Be the change you seek to achieve." So each of us must ask, "If not now, when? If not me, who?"
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Rules You Can Use Today & Lots of Inspiring Examples Sept. 8 2011
By Pat Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The authors have nailed it: Despite a generation of women in the workforce, very few of us have made it to the top of the org chart. Why? The reasons are complex of course and you hear about it frequently but rarely do you see concrete ways to reverse this situation. But the good and simple news is that Break Your Own Rules promotes 6 particular do-able, field-tested practices that women everywhere can adopt now to start succeeding in greater numbers. (Today I'm practicing "Take Center Stage" vs "Focus on Others.") The endorsements showcase why this book is so powerful and fresh. But as a reader, I'll vouch for the fact that the authors have laid out a smart blueprint that's highly-engaging and (thankfully) not at all polarizing. (The authors remind us that men and women both want/need the very best minds at the top, regardless of gender.) I give this book my highest recommendation.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read book for women in the workforce. March 20 2013
By Nathalie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love this book; I have to admit that I am reading it slowly in an effort to capture and implement all the lessons taught in this book. I believe the lessons are applicable at any stage in your career, the earlier the better.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read... Sept. 12 2012
By RcLou86 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book from beginning to end. It was well written and very clear in terms of what challenges women face, why and what we can do to change it.
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