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Her Place at the Table: A Woman's Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success Hardcover – Aug 24 2004

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“Does she have the right stuff? That question follows women whenever they are promoted to visible leadership positions. Her Place at the Table lays out the pragmatic moves that can help any woman in business show she has the right stuff. I encourage all women with leadership aspirations to use this book as a guide.”
—Patricia Fili-Krushel, executive vice president, Time Warner

“Women roar—they are the leaders we need in corporations today but there are still some barriers. This book will help individual women negotiate what they need to succeed as leaders and help their firms support them in their efforts. That way we all win!”
—Tom Peters, management consultant and author,Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age

“This is an important book for any woman who wants to do good—for herself and for her organization.”
—Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas

“Nothing is more vital for women than learning how to negotiate from our strengths. The authors know the hurdles women face--but, better still, they show how we can overcome them.”
—Margaret Heffernan, CEO and author, The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

"Women leaders will want this book in their briefcases. It's got all the nuts-and-bolts strategies they need to succeed. Actually, men should read this book if they hope to keep up!"
--Betty Spence, president, National Association of Female Executives

From the Inside Flap

"WOMEN ROAR," exclaims management guru Tom Peters. "Want a leader?" asks BusinessWeek. "Hire a woman." The list of women taking the reins at top companies and turning them around grows longer. There’s Anne Mulcahy at Xerox, Carly Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard, Ann Moore at Time, Inc., Andrea Jung at Avon, and Ann Fudge at Young & Rubicam.

Despite these visible success stories, the path to the executive suite remains torturous for women. The testing can be prolonged, the scrutiny intense. Will she really have the "right stuff" when the going gets rough? Even Carly Fiorina was unprepared for the attention paid to her gender.

Her Place at the Table is a practical guide for any woman dealing with a demanding role. Drawing on extensive interviews with women leaders, the authors isolate five key challenges.

  • Intelligence – to make informed decisions you need good information, but getting it can be a tricky proposition for women
  • Backing – no one wants to take on a tough job without the support of major players, but you can’t take those allies for granted
  • Resources – allocations don’t always square with the results expected
  • Buy-In – you can’t lead if no one wants to follow, but bringing a team on board can be problematic
  • Making a Difference – the value you create must be visible before it makes a difference

For each challenge, the authors offer tips on avoiding common traps and then lay out the strategic moves that position you for success. The guides concluding each chapter make it easy to put the principles to work.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The ideas for this book began germinating as we coached senior women to negotiate their places at the leadership table. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A "must read" for organizational leadership success Oct. 4 2004
By John D. Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Her Place at the Table: A Woman's Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success

By Deborah M. Kolb, Judith Williams, and Carol Frohlinger

Deborah M. Kolb is professor of management at Simmons Graduate School of Management and former director of the Program for Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Judith Williams is a former investment banker and co-author with Professor Kolb of Everyday Negotiation. Carol Frohlinger is an attorney and consultant to corporations on the retention and advancement of women.

The authors are principals in The Shadow Negotiation, LLC, an e-learning company that provides negotiation training for women. Readers of The Negotiator Magazine will know them for their works which have appeared many times in this publication (most recently in the September 2004 edition).

Her Place at the Table is an extraordinary work by three talented authors who understand their topic and know how to bring it to life for their readers. As the authors correctly note in their introduction, "the stories in this book carry substantial lessons for anyone - male or female - trying to puzzle through the challenging landscape of today's organizations" (p.15). They are right on target. This book is a "must-read" for every person at any level in an organization.

Having spent many years in a wide range of organizational settings, this is one of those unusual books that not only rings true on every page, but offers a realistic strategy for achieving success to leaders at every level of the hierarchy. If you are just starting out in an organization or poised on the ladder for the top job you will find solid practical and indispensable advice on leadership success.

The book draws upon Kolb, Willliams and Frohlinger's extensive experience in working with women in organizations. Using interviews and discussions with more than 100 women across a wide spectrum of leadership positions, the authors present and examine the key challenges, the probable traps along the way and the strategic moves that leaders must negotiate to achieve success. What emerges is an outstanding hands-on guide to the process that is precise and illustrated with well-told and aptly applied experiences from their interviewees.

This book arrives at a time, as the authors point out, when women in the United States hold over 50 percent of the middle rank positions in management and the professions, but occupy only one percent of top leadership positions. Obviously, this work will be a valuable contribution to the success of women and men seeking to fill these management positions.

The authors begin by exploring the reality that "a woman seeking to establish herself at the leadership table ... must negotiate her way through a number of tests that her male colleagues often bypass" (p.3). A brief discussion of these gender hurdles forms the important context for the larger work.

The focus of the book is on negotiating "five key challenges critical to ... [the] ... ability to lead" (p.14). Its "lessons," the authors correctly note, apply to "... anyone -male or female- trying to puzzle through the changing landscape of today's organizations" (p.15).

Research tells us, the authors state, that 64% of persons who take new leadership positions from outside an organization do not succeed. That is a staggering figure in light of the fact that both the organization that hired the candidate and the new employee did so in the hope of success for both parties. Experience also shows us that disappointing results occur far too often for individuals promoted from within organizations.

What, then, do these lost opportunities tell us? They make the central case that more than talent is required to achieve leadership success. This book addresses that other critical dimension.

One of the interviewees sums up this other dimension when she states the critical importance to success of a leader's "ability to read the political tea leaves" (p.18). This book shows the reader how to read those leaves and how to use what they reveal in their essence.

The authors identify five major areas of concern for the organizational leader. The first of these focuses on the gathering and use of information early in the process so that conditions and expectations that will enable the leader to succeed can be negotiated wisely at the outset of the engagement. The authors suggest how to obtain the crucial information, warn of potential traps that others have encountered along the way and then identify proven strategies and methods to turn the information to effective use to build a platform for success. It is solid stuff.

They then turn to four more critical areas, each centering on strategies to create an overall plan for negotiating the key conditions necessary to achieving leadership success. The areas that follow concern: positioning of the leader and the mission; identifying and acquiring necessary resources; achieving buy-in and blunting resistance from peers and reports; and, lastly, not only achieving results, but assuring that they are recognized as important organizational achievements.

In each area, traps and strategies and clearly described implementation methods are always central. The result is an extraordinary handbook for success.

The authors provide chapter and book summaries that should be useful to readers, an extensive bibliography for further reading on the topics and a careful index.

My highest recommendation. This book is a "must read."

John Baker, Ph.D.


The Negotiator Magazine

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
For the senior professional Jan. 21 2005
By Diane K. Danielson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is strictly for senior professionals, which is a plus for VP's, SVP's and C-level women looking for input on their level. It focuses on women already in leadership roles and is at both times inspirational and instructional. Real-life anecdotes keep it from being simply a textbook read and I really, really liked the roadmap in Appendix A which outlines "common traps" and "strategic moves."
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Taking a New Role Sept. 19 2004
By Career Woman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was very helpful to me as I transitioned into a new role. The five challenges were insightful and useful in guiding me through my first few months. The book motivated me to think about why I was hired for this position and how I would manage my resources. Once I Understood these critical factors, it was apparent what I needed to do to make an impact.

At times, I felt that the book was a bit above my level. The authors continually reference high level directors, but putting that aside, I was able to use the guiding principles to achieve success in my new role.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Read for Women in New Management Roles Jan. 21 2005
By Anne Healy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a young woman actively managing a corporate career, I found Her Place at the Table full of valuable advice and lessons. The authors candidly address some of the major challenges a woman will face as she navigates a competitive office environment. My favorite chapter focused on gathering essential information - a frustrating part of any big project. Better yet, the authors present their strategies with examples and reflections from real women in leadership roles - making it an interesting read even after a tough day at the office.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
From One Woman to Another Feb. 21 2006
By Kitty Leigh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a woman in corporate America, I found this book to be provide some extremely wonderful information. It was as if the authors had interviewed me directly to come up with those traps. Since completing the book, I have changed the way I approach projects, and have found the steps in the book to be extremely helpful! The format was so easy to follow, and I related to so much of the information-especially the common traps.