Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace – Carla A. Harris Book Summary

Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace – Carla A. Harris | Free Book Summary

Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace – Carla A. Harris

Expect to Win is a 2010 book written by Carla A. Harris. It is a guide to achieving success in the business world, featuring Harris’ personal advice for success.

 The book is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a different aspect of business success. It covers topics such as networking, goal setting, developing personal brand, the power of relationships, and navigating the corporate world.

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In each section, Harris provides real-world advice and tips from her experience as a top executive in the financial industry. 

The book is designed to help readers develop the skills and strategies necessary to be successful in their business and professional lives.Free book, podcast summaries


One of the keys to your long-term success in any organization is to own the person you really are. Bring the real you to work every day.

Never forget—someone else didn’t get the job that day because you were the best candidate with the most unique combination of skills and talent.

In order to stay focused on remaining authentic and being the best original self you can be, you must first understand what your competitive strengths are and concentrate on improving your weaknesses.

You personal life does have a place in the office—your interests and hobbies and the things that make you unique can be a bridge to building important relationships with clients and colleagues.

Be the architect of your own agenda

Create your own agenda. Know who you are and what you want from your career, and don’t spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others.

Don’t get caught up in the “they” syndrome. If you find yourself blaming others for your situation, step back, reflect, and honestly consider how you may have played a part in where you find yourself, then work to correct your errors.

Be flexible. Don’t be so attached to your plan that you miss opportunities to gain exposure or experience that could help you in the future.

Don’t let mistakes become distractions. We all make mistakes; it’s part of life. Stop, learn from what you did, put your learnings in your professional toolbox, and move on.

You are the captain of your career

It is very easy to get busy and distracted when we start a job, but make sure you take the time to write down your goals and schedule the time frames within which you want to complete them.

  • Ask your manager, supervisor, or HR rep, or go to the company Web site to find out what is expected of you at your level and the level that you aspire to.
  • Start to perform the functions of the level that you aspire to six to twelve months ahead of when you desire to get the position.
  • Give yourself ninety days to master the basics of your job.
  • On day ninety-one or thereabout, seek to have a meeting with your manager to informally discuss your progress and find out what things you need to work on prior to your six-month evaluation.

Perception is the copilot to reality

You can change the way people think about you simply by changing the way you behave, the things you say, and the words you use when you are speaking to them.

Create a perception about yourself—build your own personal brand—by choosing three adjectives to describe yourself. Make sure you walk, talk, and behave consistently with those adjectives.

When choosing your adjectives, make sure they are consistent with what the company values, but also make sure your adjectives are consistent with who you are and who you want to be.

If you find you aren’t in the right job or industry, spend some time thinking about what you are good at and what you would like to do. Then spend the next twelve to twenty-four months learning what you can obtain from the company that you are working for and what you can leverage to use as a stepping stone to your next position or industry.

Leverage your Voice

Speak up. Don’t sit quietly in meetings and say nothing. Your colleagues and clients won’t know if you are really smart, or, worse, they might assume you don’t have a clue. Even if you just rephrase what someone else has already said initially, it is important for people to hear your voice.

Using your voice does three things:

  1. It creates a perception about who you are,
  2. it creates a level of expectation about your contributions to the organization, and
  3. it creates a mechanism by which you can define your expectations to the organization.

Don’t be distracted by tactics people use to intimidate you into remaining quiet. They are just games people play.

Sometimes silence can be just as valuable a tool as speaking up. Use both.

Use your voice to be an active participant in your evaluation. Ask for what you want. “Ask for the order.”

Taking Risks

  • Success in a corporate environment involves stellar performance, integration into the politics, and risk taking. In today’s highly competitive marketplace the “same ole, same ole” just won’t do. If you’re doing your job the way your predecessor was doing it, you, too, likely will soon find yourself a predecessor.
  • The reason most people hesitate to take a risk is fear. But there is no downside to taking a risk. The worst that can happen is you’ll fail. So what? Failure gives us the gift of experience. In the end more people regret not taking risks than taking them.
  • No matter what your level of seniority or your position, you are an important part of the organization. Regardless of what level you are at, you shouldn’t let your title dictate the risks you take.
  • Just like saying yes to a new chance can be a risk, so can saying no. Have a solid rationale for turning down a new job or other opportunity and be willing to accept any potential repercussions and you’ll likely be successful.

Power in the network

Relationships are one of the keys to success in any industry. Your network gives you power and is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have in business.

Think of your network as a series of connected relationships. These relationships do not have to be literally connected to each other, but, rather, they are all somehow connected to you.

Your network should be diverse and include all kinds of people, all ages, seniorities, and ethnicities, both genders, with varying interests. Everyone has power, and you should respect that power in each person regardless of their title or level of seniority.

Be willing to offer your assistance and also to receive it from others. Networking is a two-way street.

A balance is required

In order to be truly successful at your job and in your life, you must have balance: Integrate giving back with your passions in your professional life. It is critical to have passions that contribute to your happiness, well-being, and who you are as a person.

While our jobs are very important to us, your job cannot be all you have in your life. When your job is all you have, your life becomes a function of somebody else’s day.

If it brings you joy, it should be a part of your daily life.

Whether it’s your family, your significant other, working out at the gym, mountain climbing, going to church, running marathons, or taking cooking classes, you have to have something that you are passionate about that gives you an opportunity to interact with others, feed yourself emotionally and spiritually, or lift someone else up.

The secret is that in giving back, you also multiply your own blessing and your own success. Being yourself and honoring your passions will not only give you personal satisfaction; it will also expand your career. It’s a win-win proposition.

Expect to win

  • Approach each day believing that you will be triumphant and successful.
  • Your thoughts influence your success—mediocre thoughts produce mediocre results—so know that you will win.
  • Spend time in self-reflection. Decide who you want to be, and assess your successes and failures. Have goals to accomplish in the year ahead. Allow your lists to guide your life and refer to them when you need to in order to stay on track.
  • To stay motivated, bring all of yourself to the table every day. Stay ahead of the competition by keeping abreast of what’s happening, coming up with fresh ideas; use this with your experience to set yourself apart.
  • No matter what stage you are at in your career, you must look at your job, at your life, through the lens of a winner. Challenge yourself every day to be creative and masterful. Expect to win and you will!

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