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One executive's winning negotiation: Learn how to Secure the pay raise you deserve

Monica was overwhelmed by the thought of salary negotiations. She came to me to learn how to secure the pay raise she deserved.


She knew she had done a lot for her organization. She also knew since she had climbed up the ranks from an intern, she had been leaving money on the table. While she was fierce in crafting bold and innovative marketing campaigns, she had massive anxiety when it came to her own negotiations.


I was not surprised. Her fears mirror the challenges of countless executive women in the workplace.


Despite her substantial achievements and contributions, the thought of initiating a raise discussion with her boss filled her with panic and doubt.


She was concerned about being perceived as overly ambitious. She also worried about being labeled as a ‘bad apple,’ unfit for high-visibility projects.


Was this a rational fear? Or was it irrational? I can't say for certain.


What I do know is that many of our fears reflect our lived experiences—so perhaps someone had given her feedback early in her corporate life, telling her she was too aggressive, too emotional, and that she should just learn and wait for good things to come... it's possible. As know, much has been published about the double binds that women constantly face in the workplace.


The more pressing question at hand was how to help Monica overcome her doubts and deploy a strategy to secure the pay that equaled the value she was bringing.



BIPOC in leadership position
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How to secure the pay raise you deserve: Navigating Through Doubts


The coaching began with tackling Monica's deep-seated self-doubt, a question that haunted her: "Do I truly deserve a higher salary?" This doubt constantly echoed in her thoughts, challenging her self-worth at every turn.


Our first step was to methodically document her accomplishments and the significant impact she had made within the organization. When Monica saw the tangible evidence of her contributions—laid out plainly on paper—her response was a mixture of surprise and realization. "Wow, that's a substantial amount of progress for the organization in just one year," she acknowledged, seeing her efforts and their outcomes in black and white for the first time.


But recognizing her value was only part of the battle.


Next, we scoured key salary data sources for triangulating salary benchmarks relevant to her role and expertise. This served two purposes – first was to get the salary range that Monica should command. Second, was about equipping Monica with the confidence that her expectations for a higher salary were aligned with the market standards for someone of her caliber.


How to secure the pay raise you deserve: Owning your worth


The thought of talking to her boss about a raise evoked fear in Monica, particularly about possible negative reactions. "What if they reject my request?" she worried, concerned about the impact on her professional relationships. This anxiety is not uncommon and stems from broader worries about workplace dynamics and self-assessment. We reframed rejection not as a defeat but as a continuation of the negotiation dialogue.


Throughout this part, Monica has several aha-moments. This journey of self-discovery was critical. To negate self-doubt. And to own her worth.


Making a Case for a Salary Increase:


Through practice, role-play and some more practice, Monica refined her ability to articulate her value clearly, emphasizing how her work exceeded her basic duties.

We also determined that the best time to ask for the raise was at her upcoming mid-year evaluation.


The Negotiation: Handling Salary Negotiations with Confidence

Armed with a solid strategy, Monica timed her pay raise discussion during her mid-year evaluation. She gave her manager a heads-up 2 weeks ahead of time.


On the day of the pay raise discussion:

She showed a one-pager we had prepared highlighting her accomplishments and impact to top line for the company. She stayed cool and collected.


She calmly chatted with her manager inviting him to discuss the work they had accomplished in the last year and a half.


She used moments of silence brilliantly, letting him speak more. She listened. And then she mirrored some of this words. This allowed the communication to be truly impactful.


When Facing Resistance: Handling Objections and Exploring Alternative Compensation Options


Because of the work we did together, Monica was prepared for resistance.


Her manager mentioned that no one is getting raises at mid-year. She knew that when she heard a no, she was going to ask curiosity based questions. Below is an imaginary sampling of the conversation, based on what Monica reported back.


Q: What is the reason behind this policy?

A: Well, the budgets this year are extremely tight and since you had not mentioned it last year, we had not planned any increases for our team. (Note for budget season - absolutely necessary to bring this topic up for next year's raise!)


Q: Do you believe that the work I have contributed is worthy of recognition?

A: Yes, I agree – now that I see it on paper, your contribution has been above par especially with the customer retention project. Our revenue is going to be in the double digit growth category because of this work!


Q: Thank you. I am delighted to hear that you and I are on the same page. What other ways does the company have to reward this type of above par impact?

A: Let me review with HR and come back to you.



The Outcome and What to Do If Your Request for a Raise Is Denied


Her manager came back and offered her a $10k one-time bonus. She pushed back, arguing that this was a one-time offer and the revenue generated by the customer retention program was ongoing, year after year. In addition to the $10k bonus, she negotiated for an extra week of vacation annually. She also secured the option to cash out any unused vacation time at the end of the year.


Monica was thrilled with the outcome. Her decision to engage in the salary negotiation led to a significant raise and enhanced benefits, confirming her value to the company. Most importantly, she overcame her apprehensions about negotiating, firmly acknowledging her true value.


Key Lessons from Monica's Salary Negotiation


Monica's experience offers invaluable lessons in:


  • Acknowledge Your Value: Grasping the full extent of your contributions is crucial.

  • Get data: Adequate preparation and understanding of the market are essential for a successful negotiation.

  • Approach Negotiation as a Conversation: Framing the negotiation as a collaborative dialogue about your value.

  • Explore Beyond the Salary: Total compensation encompasses more than your paycheck. Benefits and work flexibility contribute significantly to job satisfaction.

  • Creativity in the Face of Rejection: Using a denial as an opportunity to refine your strategy or consider alternative compensations.


Monica's journey from doubt to confidence in negotiating for her worth underscores the crucial roles of thorough preparation, building self-belief, and the ability to undertake problem solving dialogues.


"Negotiating for yourself is fear inducing, but it's a chance to claim your value and earn the respect of your peers and leaders.” Monica L.

Her transformation is an inspiration for anyone navigating similar hurdles, proving that a strategic and knowledgeable approach can create financial benefits as well as unlimited confidence.


 

If you are struggling with career acceleration or asking for the pay you deserve, I can help. Book a complimentary call to learn more about my framework.



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