FYI Solutions Blog

Apr 15, 2014

Not for Women Only: Top 10 Traits of Successful Female Executives

Author:  Marianela Peraza

As I prepare to go to the Women’s Presidents Organization (http://www.wpo.org/) conference in New Orleans next week, I began to wonder what characteristics make women in business successful.  Although women have come a long way in business they still only account for a small percentage of C level roles. 

The image below from Catalyst.org is a good representation of where women in business stack up.

 Women in business pyramid

In an article written in Forbes, Elissa Sangster, Executive Director for the Forté Foundation, describes 10 traits of female executives. http://www.forbes.com/sites/mattsymonds/2012/08/08/10-traits-of-women-business-leaders-its-not-what-you-think/.

1.    Know thyself. Trite? Maybe. True? Always. From finding the right initial career opportunity to identifying ways to continuously improve your performance, women leaders tell us that insight and self-knowledge are key. Not sure how to cultivate self-awareness? A Cosmo quiz or today’s horoscope won’t get you where you want to go; find a mentor, and learn to ask for and accept honest feedback.

 2.    Don’t be afraid to take a career off-ramp, but know where the on-ramp is, too. Successful women business leaders have often figured out how to make the puzzle pieces of life fit together. Childbearing and child rearing affect women more than men and the reality is that becoming a parent can interrupt a career. But today, when we have the first pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company to look up to (Marissa Mayer at Yahoo!), working moms (and dads!) no longer have to pretend that work is their only priority in life.  Find out in advance what your employer is willing to do to make it work for you, and know how to get off, and back on, the career superhighway.

 3.    Get help. It’s not fashionable to admit it, but getting the help you need, whether that’s a full-time nanny or just someone to clean your apartment can save your sanity (“We don’t judge; we just clean” advertises one firm on thumbtack.com, a local service provider site that can be a career girl’s best friend). One senior executive in the financial sector recently admitted to us that for years, she didn’t net a penny from her full-time job because all her earnings went to childcare—but she estimated that, over the course of a 30-year career, those zero-sum years have paid off exponentially by keeping her career on track.

 4.    Culture trumps strategy. Again and again, we hear from top executives that building a successful career depends on finding the right fit, and that means finding a culture that works for you. The job title, job description, and even the salary can take a back seat to the kind of opportunity that unfolds when you join an organization that matches your values and your passions. Go with your gut.

 5.    Don’t wait to be tapped on the shoulder. This is your career we’re talking about, not a junior high school dance. Research shows over and over again that, too often, women wait to be recognized rather than being proactive in seeking out recognition for their accomplishments. Successful women in business find appropriate ways to summarize their achievements and take credit for their performance.

6.    Build a network, just don’t call it that. All of the senior leaders we talk to emphasize this point: your network is everything, in terms of long-term career development. The term “networking” smacks of good ol’ boys and smoky backrooms, but as diversity in business improves, “networking” is no longer a dirty word. It just means building relationships with colleagues with whom you have something in common—giving, as well as asking for, input and advice from a community of colleagues you cultivate over time.

7.    Learn to negotiate. Susan Fleming Cabrera, a friend of Forté and researcher at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell, has found that women simply do not negotiate as often or as effectively as men, due to a complex mix of socialization, stereotypes, and bias. Top women business leaders know better than to leave something on the table. They also know that negotiation skills show up in your paycheck: Cabrera cites research demonstrating that only 7% of MBA women asked for more money during salary negotiations, while 57% of men asked the same. The result of that disparity? Starting salaries of the male MBA grads were 7.6% higher.

8.    Don’t plan ahead. Successful executives advise over and over that the best career moves they ever made were the ones they could never have foreseen. What does that mean? Stay nimble, have flexible expectations, and don’t try to map your life decades in advance only to find that you’ve foreclosed opportunity.

9.    Get an MBA.  Many successful executives say that the MBA was a game changer for them.  They gained skills and a network that put them on an entirely different track.  As one recent MBA put it “In just 2 years, I got the credentials, confidence and respect that I might have never received just staying in my job. Now, with my MBA, I’m off to the races.”

10. Here’s a bonus: Men might take note, not one single tip gleaned from top women in business above applies exclusively to women. What’s good for the bottle is good for the can. In other words, when the workplace is truly free of the gender stereotypes that negatively impact career satisfaction, then we will truly have evolved in the direction of equality.

This was one of the many articles written on the subject all with similar key attributes for success. The common thread, however, is that what makes women successful are the same attributes that make men in business successful. It is not a gender factor but more so a YOU factor.  Sheryl Sandberg said it best in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to lead.  “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

FYI Solutions is a certified WBENC company, founded in 1984. We specialize in staffing, solutions, and business analytics software.  For more information about FYI Solutions and the services provided, contact us.  www.fyisolutions.com 973-331-9050.  

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Apr 11, 2014

Predictive Analytics: Are you asking the right questions?

In our blog of October 22, 2013, we discussed Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics – the trilogy of business analytics.  The blog can be found at http://www.fyisolutions.com/blog/advanced-analytics-seminar/

A key consideration is moving from the descriptive – what did happen – to the predictive – what could happen. We recently came across an article written by Nicole Laskowski, Senior News Writer at The Data Mill, entitled “Want better analytics? Start asking ‘crunchy’ questions”.  We think this article provides a good idea of the things to think about as you proceed from descriptive to predictive analytics along your analytics journey.  The following is an excerpt of this article; to see the full article, go to

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Apr 04, 2014

Five Essential Leadership Skills for the Project Manager

As a Project Manager, your project team and client rely on your leadership skills to guide them towards project success. When provided with quality leadership, team members will respond more positively and rise to meet the challenges that occur in all IT projects. Providing IT Solutions to our clients for almost 30 years, FYI Solutions understands the importance of good Project Management.

We read a nice article about Project Management Leadership skills written by Claudia Vandermilt of  Villanova University.  In the article, Ms. Vandermilt highlighted essential leadership skills that Project Managers should have.  While there are numerous skills a good Project Manager should possess, let’s start with the five that were outlined in the article.

1. Provide Structure
From the very beginning of an IT project, a Project Manager must have a structured outline of (more…)

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Mar 25, 2014

Isn’t it all about the data?

In case you missed the “Big data” seminar in NYC recently, here are some excerpts and the location to the complete article written by Krish Krishnan, president and chief executive officer (CEO), Sixth Sense Advisors, Inc. and a faculty member at The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI), who was a keynote speaker at the seminar.

Big data and big data analytics are ubiquitous in the industry today.  Organizations of every stripe are looking to understand and deploy a big data program to improve business outcomes.

While accomplishing this goal seems realistic given the progression of technology and the commoditization of infrastructure, there are 10 common pitfalls that enterprises, in particular, need to avoid when planning and implementing a big data program.

1- Lacking a business case (more…)

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Mar 18, 2014

Strategy roadmap… where do I begin?

Author: Joe Rodriguez

A recent IBM Big Data, Integration & Governance Forum in NYC drew a significant audience from various industries, all with a common interest to hear about the promoted topic of “Advancing your information strategy for big data and analytics”. There were several prestigious and very knowledgeable presenters ranging from IBM experts on big data, to customer case studies, and a Forrester Research Inc. Analyst… all combined, providing a broad and comprehensive perspective on the subject. The event attendees were handed a voting device that, when prompted for a response to a particular question pertaining to the presentations, one could choose their response from a list of multiple choices. The responses were mostly as expected in terms of the most popular selection. One exception that caught my attention was when the question was asked about having a big data strategy. Possible responses ranged from “yes a formal strategy exists”, “… being planned/developed”, “not yet but kicking the tires”, and “no strategy being planned/developed as of yet”. When the percent responses to each were posted after the voting, there was a subtle chuckle from the audience when they saw that the vast majority, nearly 70% of the responses, chose the least committed option.

At the end of presentations, the speakers huddled on stage to field questions from the attendees. My question was to the Forrester Analyst, asking about the big data strategy question and voting response, and what Forrester is seeing industry wide. His response…  (more…)

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Mar 11, 2014

Five Reasons Why Business Analytics Projects Fail

Author: Joan Frick

Business Analytics has become the hottest ‘buzz’ around most organizations these days. Given that, you would be surprised at how many people do not understand how to ask the right questions in order to scope the efforts properly, effectively leverage information, and ultimately drive better business decisions.  FYI Solutions has been working with our clients in successfully implementing Business Intelligence Solutions for about 20 of our 30 years in business. As much as there is great enthusiasm around Business Analytics, we find that these projects often fail.  Based on our experience, we have identified the top five reasons why:

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Mar 06, 2014

Dashboards – Keeping the Mud off Your Pants

Author: Jeff Busch

A Brief History

Recently, I was curious about where the term dashboard came from. I know we get the business intelligence (BI) term from vehicle dashboards, but I could not remember ever learning why we call them dashboards instead of instrument panels or vehicle performance information readouts or something like that. Webster’s Dictionary to the rescue. Well, technically, it was Google, then Wikipedia, and then Webster’s Dictionary to make sure Wikipedia was being honest with me. Anyway, Webster’s Dictionary says that the term dashboard came from the wooden panel used to protect carriage drivers from mud splashed (or dashed) up from the hooves of the horses. Hence, a dashboard. Later, the board did double duty as something to mount gauges on for early cars. I have to admit I chuckled a bit when I read this because I realized that Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards do the same thing, or at least they should. A dashboard report will have the greatest benefit when it provides (more…)

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Feb 25, 2014

Cognos TM1: Process to Validate Dimension Structures

Author: Jason Apwah

The process to create a proper multi-dimensional OLAP database includes the structural design of cube dimensions during the early stages. However, OLAP dimensions should be normalized. Although this prerequisite may sound rigid for a company’s existing data structure, proper OLAP dimension hierarchies enable drill-down reporting and fulfill other business reporting requirements. A common challenge that IT departments face is creating these classifications that from highest to lowest level, each describe decreasingly smaller set of related data, while minimizing the duplication of those elements.

A solution to easily and reliably test for dimension elements with multiple parents in Cognos TM1 will be described. The concept is very simple, and the script only performs two tasks: (more…)

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Feb 18, 2014

Challenges and Benefits of Business Analytics in Midsized Companies

IBM recently published an article regarding midsize business and their growing interest in – and need for — business intelligence.  A recent survey of IT managers in midsize companies, conducted by Slashdot, identified the key challenges and incentives midsize businesses face around business analytics and intelligence.  Some of the key findings are identified here.  For complete survey results, visit the following website by clicking here.

Business Analytics has given large companies an edge for years. It helps them be more competitive, make information-based decisions faster and better, improves operational efficiencies, and boosts the bottom line.  Until now, the use of sophisticated analytics by smaller businesses has been limited:  many lack the staff to deploy, customize, or use analytics; for others, the entry price of business intelligence tools and necessary infrastructure was too costly.   Now, a convergence of several important long-term trends has made business analytics (BA) and Business intelligence (BI) critical to the success and survival of midsize organizations.  These include: (more…)

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Feb 11, 2014

Revamp your resume and get that job!!

Author: Dan Scovill  |  Staffing Specialist – TechServe Alliance Certified Professional Services Recruiter

Today’s job market can seem more frustrating than ever when it comes to actually getting in front of a manager that is hiring.  Have you felt like no matter how many times you submit your résumé to a job posting, you don’t hear from anybody even though you feel you are well qualified?  If you answered, “Yes” chances are your résumé is what is holding you back.

As a Recruiter, I see which résumés are most effective at “getting your foot in the door” on a daily basis.  Hiring Managers are busier than ever and if they are not interested in your résumé within 30 seconds, you are likely to end up in the rejected pile.  Hundreds of résumés are submitted to job postings.  You need to make sure YOUR résumé is the one that stands out!

Writing your résumé is not an exact science, but here are some tips that have helped my candidates succeed over the years: (more…)

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