Pearls of Wisdom from Becky Blalock
by Martha Forlines
August 30, 2011
Becky Blalock will soon be leaving her post as Chief Information Officer at Southern Company, after thirty-three years of successful service to her organization. Becky contributed to the book, Inspiring Women…Becoming Courageous, Wise Leaders authored by Martha Forlines and Thad Green and graciously agreed to an interview with Martha as part of the Inspiring Women monthly teleconferences. The following are some of Becky’s gems from our call on August 22, 2011. She has a way of “telling it like it is” to become a strong female leader in today’s business.
1. Always seek feedback from those you work with and embrace criticism. Consider these gifts, and don’t take the information personally. If you disagree with what is being said to you, it may be a perception and one that you may want to change.
2. A lack of self confidence is one of the single biggest factors keeping women from achieving their fullest potential. Our success depends on what we believe we can do...our confidence.
3. Have the courage to take a stand to do the right thing. Becky demonstrated great courage at age eleven. The Iowa elementary school she attended would not allow girls to wear pants to school…even in the cold of winter. Becky lead 9 other female classmates in staging a “let’s wear pants to work” day one bitter cold day. After being counseled and sent home for the day, they all wore pants the next day. Her courageous persistence finally changed the “no pants rule” for girls.
4. Watch out for your negative self talk, as it gets in the way of self confidence and courage.
5. Don’t lose your voice…use your voice. Early in Becky’s career she attended an executive development program at Harvard. All the men in her assigned group kept asking her why she openly shared her opinions in the small group but shut down in the larger group. She had an epiphany. She realized she had to reclaim her voice, which she did upon returning home to her post at Southern Company.
6. We have the opportunity to grow the most personally and professionally when we feel we are at risk. The example Becky shared was when she was asked to lead the IT department nine years ago after many years leading in other operational areas within Southern Company.
7. Knowing who we are is paramount to who we are as a leader and how we lead. We need to know our strengths and our development opportunities, in order to play to our strengths and shore up our weaknesses.
8. It’s heartbreaking to see women not supporting other women at work by being jealous and negative about others’ successes. We need to be each other’s biggest advocates.
Becky is writing a book about leadership and hopes to have it finished by November, 2011…so stay tuned for information about that. She plans to take the rest of this year to write and decompress. Rest assured we will be hearing more from this inspiring role model for women and men! You can also listen to the call
with Becky from our website, www.inspiringwomenbook.com