Recently I had the amazing opportunity to interview Gail Evans, the best-selling author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success that Women Need to Learn.
Gail’s career is vast, beginning in government and culminating in her role as the Executive Vice President of CNN.
Gail began working with CNN since its inception in 1980 and was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1996. In September 2000, she was named to Executive Vice President of Domestic Networks for the CNN Newsgroup, where she was responsible for program and talent development of all domestic networks overseeing national and international talk shows and the Network Guest Bookings Department, which schedules about 25,000 guests each year. She served as an appointed member of the CNN Executive Committee and is past chairperson of the CNN programming task force.
Women make up almost half of today’s labor force, but in corporate America, they don’t share half of the power. Females only held 14% of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies in 2012. A major reason for this?
Most women were never taught how to play the game of business, and that is exactly what Gail Evans, one of the country’s most powerful executives, is going to teach us today.
Here are some highlights from the Gail Evans interview:
What do women need to know about playing the game of business to our advantage?
The business rules (the boy’s game) are not so complicated. We just have to make sure we tell each other what those rules are so we know them. Think of business as a game just like any other board, individual or sports game.
One of the rules is you have to toot your own horn. You have to be a person who is always selling yourself. Women are more concerned with building a friendship than winning games. Women are great PR people so you need to do PR all the time for yourself. You need to take yourself on as your own public relations client. You need to become your own PR person. You need to look into ways in which you promote yourself, but you do it in a PR kind of way, not a boasting and bragging kind of way.
The object of the game is to simply feel great about what you do. If you can love your business life, you are playing the game the way that men do. Loving what you do is self-empowering. You can’t play any game if you don’t enjoy playing it.
How can we use our female qualities as an advantage at work?
You have to enhance what you’re positive and good at. You have to be authentic. You have to be yourself. You have to be comfortable with yourself. People follow people who are comfortable with themselves. Figure out who you are, be comfortable with that and then enhance that. Do not try to change yourself into what you think other people want you to be but be comfortable in who you are. Then see what changes and adjustments you need to make in your strategies that will make you more successful.
Women are more concerned with building a friendship than winning games. You can’t make friends with everyone, and you can’t make everyone happy. Everybody is not going to love you. Regrettably, there will be people who don’t like you, but as long as they respect you and think you’re fair, that’s fine.
Your greatest dream is that the conversation of inequality between men and women will be eliminated. How do you think we are doing?
We are making good progress on the lower ends and in the middle. But, the numbers for almost a decade are static when it comes to getting the higher echelon, and into leadership, it’s just not happening. A lot of that is, the boys play like a team. They learned from the day they’re born that it’s all about the team.
Men play a sort of “we can do it game” while women play much more of an “I can do it game.”
What is something that men can do at work but women can’t?
Relationships at work – Men can end up in a relationship and not necessarily get in trouble where as a woman tends to get the short end of the stick. You need to be careful because more often women end up losing.
Thanks so much, Gail!