Book Notes – Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel

The book | Read in April 2016 | Rating 4.00


  • Treat everyone as if they are wearing a sign that reads ‘Make me feel important.’
  • “Outta sight, outta mind, outta business”.
  • Regardless of what you do, be proud of it and describe it in a way that allows others to see that pride and, in turn, builds your personal brand.
  • Consider and brand yourself an “internal consultant.” Your experience and expertise, combined with strong relationships, let you do this.
  • The combination of your first and last names moves you to adulthood.

Action plan:

Increase your value

  • Continually ask yourself, What are we not doing currently that if we started doing would fundamentally change how we did business? Then find ways to introduce changes that will enhance your company’s bottom line.
  • Create new systems or processes. You have expertise and a perspective that others may not. Consider bringing together technical experts from all age-groups to work on a task force that will add value to the company’s bottom line by developing new systems or processes.

Show your value

  • List ways in which you’ve helped the company to make money, save money, or improve efficiencies. And whenever possible, use numbers. For example, “Since I took over this role, we’ve increased sales by 23 percent and reduced customer complaints by 39 percent.”

Know what you need or want by routinely asking yourself what it is.

Think about the work you’re taking on

  • Don’t volunteer for low-impact, low-profile assignments.
  • Know when your experience is better utilized for strategy and know when to jump in and execute.
  • As a manager don’t solve people’s problems for them, but nudge them in the right direction to figure it out themselves.
  • Avoid the inclination to “mother” people, solve their problems for them and waste your time. If it’s their project, it’s their responsibility to own it and figure it out.

Take a break

  • If you seem like you’re flustered you’ll be passed up for important projects and opportunities.

Address what’s getting in the way of your work

  • If something (e.g. an unanswered question or misunderstanding) is preventing you from doing the absolute best job you can do, you have a responsibility to speak up and fix it.
  • Being a nurturing and kind leader is not mutually exclusive from having ownership of your time.

Be conscious of how you behave

  • When given a choice of seats, sit next to the most powerful person in the room.
  • Dress just a little better than most of the people around you.
  • Be aware of when you wring your hands because you’re anxious—and stop.
  • Think: every time I touch my hair, I reduce my credibility by one year.
  • Never sit with your foot tucked beneath you.
  • Before assuming someone knows more than you, ask a few probing questions to determine his or her expertise. “Why do you recommend that?” or “How do you know that?” will at least convey the message that you’re not a pushover.

Present yourself confidently

  • Completely, totally, and permanently erase the statement “Oh—it was nothing” from your vocabulary.
  • There’s a time and a place for modesty. When people fail to notice your major accomplishments, it’s your job to illuminate them.
  • Making things look easy or seamless when in fact they required herculean efforts isn’t a great marketing technique.
  • Perfect your elevator pitch. Let others know who you are, what you love doing, and how you impact your company’s bottom line. If you don’t believe you make a difference, why should anyone else

Think before you speak

  • Avoid thinking out loud as a routine way of communicating.
  • Practice counting to three before replying to a question—even when the answer is on the tip of your tongue. Ask yourself what the main point is that you want the listener to take away. Let that point be your lead sentence.
  • Speak at a moderate pace. Tell yourself you’re entitled to take all the time you need to convey your message
  • Make statements. Save the questions for when you legitimately need information.
  • Before asking someone else’s opinion, be certain you really need it.
  • Put ideas out in the affirmative. Inform others of your intentions; don’t ask for permission.
  • Apologise for mistakes once, then go into problem-solving mode.
  • Give your opinion in clear, certain terms. Directly and without qualifiers.
  • Avoid non-words “like”, “umm”, or “See what I mean?” Don’t feel a need to fill silence when you are speaking.
  • Practice beginning your sentences with declarative statements: “I think…,” “I believe…,” I propose…,” “I intend…,” “I would like…”. Take more risks around stating your thoughts with conviction.
  • Directly answer the question you’re asked.
  • It’s better to err on the side of starting a debate than it is to sound wishy-washy.

Keep on your toes

  • Look for a new assignment every three – five years maximum.
  • Stay up on developments in your field by taking classes or reading books. If you haven’t learned anything new lately, you’re not growing.
  • Volunteer for assignments that stretch your skill set or enable you to learn entirely new ones that will flesh out your portfolio.
  • Always be looking for possibilities for your next job.

Create a personal brand

  • “In this market, your product is you.” Identify what distinguishes you from other people in the workplace and then market those distinctions as a brand.
  • Develop a marketing plan. Envision your future and write down the specific steps you’ll take to get there. 
  • Consider what you want your legacy to be. Then you can behave in a way that makes a difference.
  • Continually showcase your achievements in subtle ways.

Stretch yourself

  • Spend time engaged in learning, asking for feedback, or getting coaching. Do something other than what you’re already good at. Prepare yourself for unexpected challenges and opportunities.
  • Develop a more businesslike vocabulary. Do this through the books and articles you read.
  • Read David Maister’s The Trusted Advisor to gain a better understanding of the consultative process inherent to the roles most of us play.
  • Read Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life by Deborah A Bailey.
  • Be a mentor. This you can do at any age or career stage. If you’re not a mentor to people inside your company, then mentor young women in the community. Find resources for this on