Finding Your Voice at Work

Mother’s Daughter was just released and the song — no, let’s give it the props it deserves — the anthem has been running through my head for the last week. Specifically the lines:

          “don't <bleep> with my freedom, I came back to get me some”

Granted — the official video is loaded with *ahem* “sexual” imagery (the link above is to audio) — and I wouldn’t blame anyone who reads this and arrives at a certain set of connotations. And yet, maybe because I spent the early part of this week binge watching Brene Brown talks, what I hear is “unapologetic ambition” in its rawest form. What I hear is: “I will no longer apologize for the vision of self that I hold, nor will I let you stand in my way as I build toward an experience of that vision”.

At Insightfully, our work developing talent is guided by the belief that ambition and transformative capacity bring about career success. While ambition may help you to find your voice, transformative capacity arms you with the flexibility to use that voice. Transformative capacity facilitates your ability to find and connect with the people, opportunities and resources you need to build at your best.

And, no — it is not easy.

I was reminded of just how hard building a career can be when a good friend broke down in tears over not being heard or seen at work. So much of our conversation centered around “the narrative” and how it was being used to reduce her. She was later let go and due to our ongoing conversations, she viewed the move as an opportunity and not a setback. She set a new ambition and this lead to a lateral move to an organization dedicated to her advancement into senior leadership. Now, 12 months later, she is in her second assignment and has advanced to the level of director.

The conversations we had stick out to me for a number of reasons — specifically, the questions our conversations led me to ask.

  • How do you manage the impact of negative narratives in the workplace?

  • How do you maneuver when the other party anchors the conversation in deficiency-based language?

  • How do you shift perceptions when loaded phrases are used and communicate that you are not good enough?

  • Are there ways to influence how others collaborate, give feedback, present opportunities and resource your growth/development?

  • How do you find, maintain and use your voice when you feel unheard, unseen, powerless?

These questions or rather, the answers to these questions, are how a small slide deck — the Business Case for Your Talent — turned into a robust coaching experience.

In the beginning, I simply wanted to create a quick resource that would put your strengths top of mind and facilitate the development of talking points you could use to help others benchmark your strengths.

Today, that quick resource is a robust coaching experience that describes how you create, co-create and drive value in the workplace. It captures your positive core: the positive potential of your behavior patterns and preferences. Applied to the workplace, it orients you toward the resources, people and opportunities that can support your ability to show up at your best.

Why is it robust? You can use it in so many different ways. You can use it to support your search, change how you tell your career story, brand your professional self, help others to benchmark your strengths, counter deficiency-based narratives in the workplace, etc. Additionally, you receive coaching notes tailored to a specific challenge or aspiration you hope to achieve in the next 12 months.

But to get a sense of the transformational impact of the Business Case for Your Talent, take a listen to Chi Offomah who transitioned from nonprofit fundraising to business development. The Business Case for Your Talent was a pivotal component of her journey with Insightfully, allowing us not only to settle on a new career direction but to craft compelling copy across her CV, cover letter and LinkedIn, prepare for interviews, and create a 30-60-90 plan for her new role at OpenIDEO (the nonprofit arm of IDEO). At each step in the process, we referred back to her Business Case for Your Talent to strategize how to ensure that she was seen, heard and appreciated for the many ways in which she creates, co-creates and drives value.

Unapologetic ambition doesn’t mean that you know what you want, but it can be a powerful force that propels you toward the career that is meant for you. The Business Case for Your Talent is designed to enhance your transformative capacity and orient you toward the spaces and people who can build with you at your best.

It’s time to unlock the power of your voice, the benefits are priceless.