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April 24, 2008

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I also read and enjoyed Caitlin Flanigan's piece on Katie. I musing on this post while I was in a meeting this afternoon. The meeting was filled with conflicting viewpoints and posturing until I "called the moment" and asked "what problem are we trying to solve". That's a powerful question when the direction seems unclear and the solution does not have a direct "owner".
I am not sure if Katie asked CBS what problem they were trying to solve in hiring her - becuase I am not sure that CBS accurate diagnosed the problem.
Katie may have been swept up in a "quick fix" and took a rare opportunity to join prime time as a woman without asking "what's the down side if this doesn't work out".
Then again, I am not sure how many women look at both the pros and the cons when they are handed the keys to a shiny treasure they have been working towards for several decades...

#1: Response to "When you or I are thinking about starting a new business...or a new job, what problem will we be helping people solve? Having a clear answer to this question is essential to success. Recently while judging an entrepreneurship competition at Harvard, I observed that the strongest idea pitches were those that clearly and substantially articulated the need that would be met or the problem that would be solved with their business. The answer to this question, as Staci P suggests, provides the foundation for relevant discussion and development of solutions/products/services.

#2: Response to "What do you do if there's a mismatch between the job you were hired to do and the job you want to do?" My instinctual response to this question is, "Be brave" because more likely than not, a change is needed, which requires you to really dig deep and muster courage. This change could come in the form of a job switch (or even a field/industry change) or a heart-to-heart with your supervisor about engaging projects and tasks that take advantage of your strengths.

I think this analysis is equally as helpful for stay-at-home mothers. I've had several discussions recently with women about playing to their strengths in the home. One woman felt energized when she played for hours with her children, and drained managing the household maintenance. Another woman experienced the opposite. I suggested that each of these women "be brave" and consider outsourcing that which drained them, and doing what energized them. I think this is particularly scary for mothers because of erroneous ideas about being perfect at and willing to execute every aspect of this choice.

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  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.

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