Dear member,

To say these have been a sad few weeks is an understatement. Our hearts ache for all of our colleagues and families who have faced discrimination. As an organization that welcomes all races, ethnicities, and orientations, we believe an inclusive industry is a better industry.

WWLF is committed to equality and diversity and we will continue to champion that for our members.

As difficult as this time is, I'm inspired by excerpts from the book Leadership in Turbulent Times. It highlights leadership styles of four American Presidents during times like these.

The book includes the words of FDR which we all know, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” What you may not remember is later in the speech, FDR explains that our fear can convert retreat into advance. He had an ability to see opportunities for advancement during challenging circumstances.

With this in mind….how many of us have that mindset?  Do we stand petrified or waiting for someone else to push us to the next decision?  Do we take initiative to pivot towards opportunity and a renewed vision?

Whether you are leading a team or self-directing as you work-from-home, I hope that you will use these moments to grow personally and professionally.  Allow WWLF to be a catalyst for your career as you make the positive pivot.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Hardwick

President, WWLF

Leading your remote team during times of crises

Leading a remote team is one thing. Leading a remote team that wasn’t designed to be remote during health and social crises is quite another. How can you make sure your team is performing, without driving them—or yourself—nuts?

“There are two key areas that need to be turbo-charged right now: connection and compassion,” says Kim Gladis, CEO of CorePerformX Advisory Group, an executive leadership coaching firm.

Don’t just participate, connect

A lot of things happen informally in an office. And you have context about people, about situations, and about business problems.

In this new remote environment, you're not getting any of that. Leaders need to spend extra time to make that happen. “It's all about intentionality, because this isn’t just going to happen,” says Gladis. “It has to be the leader, purposefully doing it.”

“You can’t just keep getting onto Zoom calls every day. That's not leading, that’s participating. Leadership is stepping up and stepping in.”

Gladis suggests connecting one-on-one with your team members for a 30-minute personal check-in every other week. Spend the time really listening to how someone is doing, not just getting status updates. The best questions to ask are “How are you doing, really?” and "How can I help?"

Compassion with flexibility, creativity, and innovation

Gladis explains research shows leaders who care about their employees and show compassion are more trusted. With the added layer of complexity because of this year's upheaval, there needs to be another layer of leadership intentionality focused on caring and compassion.

“Remember that you don't know their struggles,” says Gladis. A spouse could be out of work. There might be small children making working from home more challenging. Loved ones could be facing risks. "If there was ever a time to step up on caring and compassion, it’s now.”

Gladis suggests focusing less on particular hours and more on deliverables if your work allows it.

“It might be hard for a customer service team, for example, which needs to cover phones for set hours,” says Gladis. “But for other types of teams, setting core hours for availability—say for phone calls or emails—and letting other work happen at employee determined hours shows compassion for everyone’s new obligations."

To lead your team, launch your team

“A lot of leaders I’ve worked with have been skeptical of remote work. They don't trust their employees will put in the hours and do the work,” Gladis shares.

“They often fall into a pattern of micro-management," she said. "It’s better to spend more time coaching employees and helping them if they get stuck. Focus on the deliverables, not the step-by-step process of how the work is being done and at what time of day.”

In her upcoming book, Leading TeamsUnderstanding the Team Leadership Pyramid, Gladis discusses the four critical elements for successful teams. In the book she shares the importance of a team launch.

“The most successful teams have a launch,” she says. “You set up team goals, team values, team working agreements, and how you will operate.”

If your team hasn’t had a launch, it is especially important to have one now. And, given the new environment, a relaunch is a good idea…especially if your team’s purpose has changed.

“A good leader says, ‘Okay, this is our new world. Let’s talk about who we are in this world,’” explains Gladis.

A team launch establishes:

  • What's our mission right now?
  • What do we value?
  • How do we agree to communicate with each other?
  • How do we agree to operate to get the work done?
  • What are the behavioral norms we expect from each other?

“Then the team sets up short-term goals and objectives,” Gladis explains. “During follow up calls, you’re holding each other accountable and making sure you’re progressing towards those goals.”

This ties back to flexibility and creativity…what are the expectations on response times for phone calls and emails? Are there times we must be online? How are we measuring progress?

“This experience is teaching leaders how to think about problems differently,” says Gladis. “And the competencies you’ve always needed to lead and manage teams are still there…connection, compassion, creativity…but you just need to be a lot more intentional about them now. That’s the key. Intentionality.”

For more reading on this topic, check out How to lead your team through the COVID-19 crisis.

Business development and selling during difficult times

Right now, at least in telecom, not all business has stopped. But it has changed.

How do you keep developing the sales and connections your company needs to survive, without being insensitive?

Business as (un)usual

“If you haven't had a relationship-based approach with your clients, you need to pivot on that now,” says Somer Hamrick, business development expert and the CEO & Founder of Channel Clinical. Her company connects clinical trial sponsors with vendors—a market that has transformed overnight. Hamrick also hosts the podcast, When She Founded, which offers an insider view on what it takes for female founders to start and scale a company in STEM.

“Relationships will sustain you and help you rise above,” says Hamrick. “So if you've been transactional until now, you need to find a new approach. If your company has a formulaic conversion pipeline, you need to change that. If you don’t have that relationship-based approach, you will suffer.”

Hamrick offers the following four strategies for developing business and sales relationships until business returns to normal, or at least more predictable.

1. Pick up the phone

“I’ve told my sales teams since the dawn of time to pick up the phone,” Hamrick says. “And handwritten notes…something that acknowledges tough times, but we're here for you. Share how you've been impacted. Be transparent. Explain what you’re doing for your short-term pivot.”

She advises prefacing any communication (even email) with that you're just checking in. Ask how they're doing. And if you've thought through something that might be painful for them, and you have a solution or connection that can be a value to them, share it.

Which leads to the next tip.

2. Reassess your clients pain points

These may have changed overnight. So you need to understand what their new motivators are. Ask what they are if you aren’t sure.

If you already have a solution to the new pain point, explain that you know others in similar situations have had the same problem, and how you’ve helped.

If their conditions aren’t right for your solution yet, you’ll still be able to set your own triggers for when those might start to queue up, and then you can come back to them.

3. Offer your network

When you’re on the phone, ask “What or who do you need to get connected with to help you through this?”

And get creative. “I know people are getting tired of Zoom happy hours and coffees,” Hamrick said. “But if you can convene the right people, it’s really powerful and valuable.”

Consider hosting a small group—four or five clients—who have complimentary needs or could be strategic partners. It builds credibility and you’re strengthening everyone’s network. You aren't making a hard sell but it makes the next conversations easier.

4. Leverage LinkedIn to warm up cold calls

LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting. Start following the companies and people you want to reach. Offer thoughtful comments on what they share. Reach out with a note to make a connection. And make sure you have a robust profile so people can get to know you.

And for truly cold calls, “if you don’t believe that you have a solution that is going to relieve pain for your client, that’s your first problem.” Hamrick explains. “If you don’t understand that you have a service or a product that prospect needs, then either you haven't done enough homework on what you're selling, or you haven't done enough homework on the client. That goes back to Sales 101.”

In the end, it comes down to being a person your vendor wants to work with. It’s always been true that people want to purchase from people they Know, Like, and Trust. If that KLT factor isn’t there, if you haven’t gotten to know your clients, you won’t earn their loyalty. So invest the time to know your prospects and clients and let them know you.

“I know it sounds clich√©,” said Hamrick. “But there is an opportunity here, an opportunity to build relationships and edge out your competition.”

Career Tip: Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn has over 660 million users. Many are senior level influencers and decision makers. The platform is much more accessible than your resume. And recruiters and other professionals often check out your LinkedIn profile, so you want to make it count.

Your profile can (and should) show your personality and tell a much fuller story about yourself than you can fit on a 2-page resume. So if you’ve simply pasted your resume into your profile, you’ll want to liven that up a bit.

Tip 1: First things first: Adjust your notification settings

You may not want everyone you're connected with to be alerted about every change you make to your profile.

Under Account Settings and Privacy, scroll to “How others see your LinkedIn activity,” then down to “Share job changes, education changes and work anniversaries” and turn it off. You can turn it back on later.

Tip 2: Headline and Summary

Your headline and summary are the most frequently read, so spend some time on these. 

It’s okay to put your job title in your headline, but you don’t need to. And, if you’re out of work, you may not want to.

The headline is a good place to identify what you do. Hint: No one actually starts explaining what they do with "I'm a results-oriented professional."  

A benefit driven headline is eye-catching and informative:

“I help remote teams stay productive, even across global time zones”

“I’m a CRM expert who helps busy salespeople focus on the right clients at the right times”

Your summary can be an overview of your career. Try to tell it like the story it is. Not only does everyone like stories, but research shows our brains are more receptive to them.

That means people will remember a story about how you saved a project much longer than they’ll remember your list of project management skills.

Tip 3: Profile Picture

Profiles with photos get 21 times more views and 36 time more messages. So, if you don’t have a photo, grab a camera.

You don't need a professional head shot. But the photo should be of just you, it shouldn’t be too casual, andideallyit should not be a selfie. (If you can’t get someone else to take your photo, set up your phone on a tripod or a stable surface and use the timer feature.)

If you’re cropping a photo from one with other people, watch out for disembodied arms or shoulders from the people standing next to you. And, if you happen to be wearing something strapless, make sure the crop doesn't look like you might be naked.

Tip 4: Making Connections

LinkedIn will ask you to do this all the time, but try not to bulk invite your email contacts. It sends a very generic “I’d like to join your LinkedIn network” message to everyone you've ever emailed.

It is better to make connection requests with a short, personalized note. (Do this from their profile page, not the "people you may know" page on your phone, which automatically sends the generic message.)

For new professional connections, it’s nice to refresh memories. “We met at <insert event>. I really enjoyed our conversation about <insert topic>. I’d like to connect with you here.”

If you are new to your career and haven’t met many people, you can ask for a connection with "I'm new to this industry and would love to connect so I can learn more from what you share." 

When someone accepts your invitation to connect, respond with a short thank you...Most people do not send out personal connection requests or follow up thank you messages. If you do, you'll set yourself apart.

Tip 5: Building a Network

Follow companies you’re interested in. You can also follow people you’re interested in, if you can't yet connect with them. When they post, read the article and make a thoughtful comment about it or share it and tag them.

Again, most people don't do this, or they comment something generic like "great article!"

If anyone from the company responds to your comment or share, make a connection request.

Tip 6: Put Your LinkedIn Profile URL on your resume...but do this first!

The URL you're automatically assigned can be improved.

On the right-hand side of your profile look for "Edit Public Profile and URL." Then click on “Edit your custom URL.” Then change it to your first and last name.

If someone with your name has done this already, be creative! Maybe add a professional tag…FirstName-LastName-BDProfessional. Choose something short that adds a bit of branding.

After you create your custom URL, remember to update any places you might have a link to the old URL, like your email signature.

Tip 7: Ask your friends and colleagues for feedback

Feeling stuck? Writing about yourself can be hard! And if you are looking for a job, it can be extra stressful.

It's almost always easier to point out the skills of someone else, so ask a friend or trusted colleague. (And offer to return the favor!)

Or post in the WWLF LinkedIn Group here and ask for some feedback. You should get some good advice from people in your industry…and make some new connections!

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 23, 2020: Virtual Coffee Break with Jennifer Fritzsche (Zoom, 10:00-11:00 am EDT)

WWLF Charlotte is hosting guest speaker and industry expert Jennifer Fritzsche for a virtual coffee hour!

Jennifer is a Managing Director and Senior Equity Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities where she has focused on the Telecommunication Services, Cable, Data Center and Tower sectors since 1999.

We'll have time at the end of the conversation for Q&A.

Spaces are limited so reserve your seat today!

For questions about the event, email WWLF Charlotte City Rep Megan Reed at megan@insidetowers.com.

Thank you to our exclusive newsletter sponsor


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WWLF is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are welcome in all aspects of our organization. WWLF values the knowledge and perspectives that our members bring to our organization from their diverse backgrounds. While all members are welcome to participate in both regional and national events, WWLF remains committed to the design and delivery of content to support the development of women in the wireless communications industry.


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