(StatePoint) Forget the old stereotypes that women need to be cutthroat and competitive to succeed. A new networking trend shows that cooperation is a great way to combat the challenges women face in business.
“Formidable ladies across industries are collaborating with each other to achieve clout and success. They are forming salons, dinner groups and networking circles at unprecedented rates,” says Pamela Ryckman, author of the new book, “The Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business” (AMACOM), which examines the emerging culture of women’s networking groups.
“Groups have the power to make us big, bold and brave,” she stresses.
By mining a group’s collective intelligence, big dreams can be realized, says Ryckman, who is offering advice for women looking to collaborate or form their own collectives for inspiration and action:
• Start now: When women unite early in their careers, they’re more likely to steer each other toward promotions and opportunities, counsel each other through difficulties, and ultimately become powerful together.
• Think diversity: Expand your horizons. Don’t network exclusively with best buddies. The most effective groups draw women with diverse skills from a variety of industries, introducing women who might not otherwise meet.
• Filter for shared experience: To gel as a group and quickly build bonds of trust and loyalty, look for shared common touch points, be they age, level of expertise or values and ethics.
• Believe in the magic: You don’t need a specific goal or agenda at the onset. “If you get dynamic ladies talking or walking or drinking, exciting things will happen,” Ryckman assures.
• Strike a balance between personal and professional: Address the career-building needs of the members of your group, but remember to retain the fun. To achieve the right mix, consider appointing a different woman to lead each meeting or bring in guest speakers.
• Have courage, give courage: Push members to pursue their passions. Help each other script difficult conversations, encourage each other to take risks, and don’t be afraid to disagree.
• Be a mentor: Have you already achieved great things? Consider mentoring a promising younger woman. You may find that you can learn a thing or two from the partnership.
• Be a cheerleader: It’s okay to be critical. Everyone needs to hear the hard truths sometimes. But remember to always be lifting your friends and pushing them forward. Ensure each woman gets what she needs -- be it information, an introduction or a partnership.
To learn how to find or build your own power network, visit www.PamelaRyckman.com.
To be successful, you don’t need to be a one woman band. By teaming with friends and business contacts, you can launch your career and be a part of a growing movement that is changing the face of business.