Book Excerpt: Expect to Win by Carla Harris

Capturing the power of being uniquely you

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Expect-to-Win1EXCExpect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies For Thriving In the Workplace By Carla Harris

AUTHENTICITY: The Power is You

There is only one you!

The day your company hired you, someone else did not get the job because you were the best candidate. They hired you because you had the best combination of skills, personality, and potential and a unique blend of values and abilities. Over any other person they interviewed, the company felt that you could best execute the job, fulfill their need for talent, and satisfy their specific need for a discrete skill set. You got the job because you had a competitive advantage over all of the other candidates. That important competitive advantage? You. No one else can be you the way you can; that is your source of power within the organization.

One of the keys to your long-term success in any organization is to own the person who you really are. If you bring that original, best you to work every day, the one that interviewed for and got the job, then you can maintain your competitive advantage in the organization now and, more importantly, over time.

Bringing the real you to work allows you to be free! Free to learn new concepts, free to be creative and responsive, free to take risks–all of which helps to enhance the professional that you are and makes you valuable to the organization. In today’s competitive environment, the person who learns new concepts quickly, who can adapt commercially, or, in other words, can apply those lessons in a way that can make money for the firm, and who is also client-oriented, is the person who moves most quickly in a company and is most handsomely rewarded.

If you are preoccupied with trying to play a role or trying to behave, speak, or act the way you think others want you to, your mind won’t be free to perform at your highest level, be flexible, and be able to adapt to changes. Putting on an act eventually becomes exhausting and uses up valuable mental capacity that could instead be directed toward making important contributions at work.

The reason that I am such a strong advocate for being who you really are at work is that doing so gives you confidence. When you are comfortable with who you are, you exude confidence, and that’s attractive to clients and to colleagues. Others want to listen to confident people; they want to hear your ideas, they trust your judgment, and they will buy what you are selling, whether it is a product, a financing pitch, or a decision.

When you are not being who you really are, at some point you will begin to appear uncomfortable to others. Especially in client-facing businesses, such as investment banking or sales, trust in relationships is an important element of success. When you act and speak with confidence, it contributes to your performance. If you appear to be tentative or apprehensive (which usually happens when you are lacking confidence), then you open the door for your clients to doubt what you are saying, you potentially lose the opportunity to win business, and you open the door for a competitor to get the upper hand in a relationship.

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS! Join us for the landmark 10th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm, March 2—4, 2015, at Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This exciting, one-of-a-kind executive leadership summit is designed to train, equip and encourage women to become industry leaders, learn career strategies, and discover proven work—life balance techniques. Register Now!

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  • Terri

    I can’t wait to read Carla’s book. She interviewed me for a Finance Internship position on Wall Street while in College. She definitely is one of the most memorable interviewers that I can genuinely say that I had in my undergraduate experience. As many interviews that I have had in my life – the conversation with her was definitely one of the most impactful. I am confident that her book will be a “must have” and one of those tools that you will want to pass on to someone else. Can’t wait to buy it for myself and my nieces who are just starting the interview process in College!

  • I remember this excerpt from the book – I remember reading that part during my lunch break and thinking, do I bring my best self EVERYDAY? I bought this book last summer before beginning a new job that I wanted so badly. I would read the book on my lunch break and take it home everyday. Now, I have a hanging basket at my desk with Expect to Win, the January issue of BE, my college alumni magazine and some employer training materials. I consider these items to be key to my career success as well as in life. Thank you so much for writing this book Ms. Harris.

  • Barbara Osborne

    Carla Harris will be our speaker in Omaha NE for our Black Employee Network Black History Month Celebration at Union Pacific RR. I just read the excerpts from the book can’t wait to read the entire book. I plan on getting my copy on Feb 25.