To recap: Power isn't complicated: Power is the capacity to get things done. To have impact. To make a difference. Power isn't a thing that you have or you don't have. Power is fluid. It is constantly circulating and being negotiated. You ignore it at your own peril, your own impotence.
The UT Center for Women in Law addressed the issue of women and power head on in its April Power Summit (with headline sponsorship from Andrews Kurth LLP). Its recent report (click here to download a copy) summarizes the incredible stories and strategies shared over the three-day convening.
Personally, I came away from the event practically levitating. It brought together the greatest density of powerful, talented, fabulous women that I've ever witnessed. I've combed back through my notebook to share with you my most memorable takeaways:
1. If you have a purpose, commit to power. "Without power, purpose has no possibility" (Robin Ely).
2. Be clear about what you want, and leverage that desire when times get tough. Ask yourself: What would victory look like?
3. Decide whose job you want next, or down the road, and declare your intention. Don't wait for someone to anoint you.
4. "Say so." If you want a promotion, say so. If you want an overseas assignment, say so. If you want job rotation, say so. Whatever you want, don't make them guess. And certainly don't wait until they ask.
5. Assemble a posse and talk each other up.
6. Take the crappy assignments, if they get you P&L experience.
7. Remember: it's good to win!
8. Whether it's fear of rejection or being disliked, get over it.
9. Say it with a smile. Women still face a penalty for being too agentic.
10. Another reason to become a sponsor: it's an important way to grow your tribe and expand your power base.
11. If you're not invited to the table with the boys, then hang around. Men will tell you what you want to know. Just ask.
12. Networking is not just one call. It's 20 calls.
13. "Stand as if you are six feet tall." (Barbara Jordan)
14. Get ruthlessly focused. If an opportunity doesn't align with your current goals, turn it down.
15. Think in terms of resources. What resources do you need? If you don't already have them, how will you get them? Always be asking: "Who can help me?"
16. Know when it's time to move on.
17. Get a coach.
Next time: how to mobilize your social capital.