Book Review: Expect to Win

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Book Review: Expect to Win
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Guest post by Lahesha Williams of Career Help for Christians.

Expect to Win – 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace

Carla A. Harris, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, delivers a very practical, yet strategic, framework on how to succeed in your career with this book – “Expect to Win”.  It is definitely a bookshelf staple for those life-long learners of career development. Carla Harris is an extremely successful force on Wall Street, and has been for over 20 years, so the wisdom she shares in this writing, or Pearls, as she calls them, is based on proven results and lessons that she’s had in her career. Written with a very up-front and realistic perspective on how to chart your course and make a plan to succeed in your career, this book should definitely be on the top of your reading list.

As a dynamic speaker and inspirational person, Harris opens by discussing one of the most important truths in success, authenticity – owning the person you really are. The first paragraph motivates you right away to recognize that the “original” you is your competitive advantage in any organization. If you could only see me walking into my office the next day after reading Harris state, “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” (1). Wouldn’t you be more inspired to succeed in your role after reading that!

Harris continues to inspire and inform readers with chapters such as how to Be the Architect of Your Own Agenda, the vital need of having a Mentor, a Sponsor, and an Adviser as you move through your career, and how to Leverage Your Voice in your organization. She shares “pearls” and key points such as:

  • Give yourself ninety days to master the basics of your job, and on day ninety-one or soon after, seek 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 (79).
  • Create a board of directors to help manage your career with the following positions: An adviser is someone who can answer your discreet career questions and provide advice on an isolated question about a challenge dealing with your career progression. A mentor is someone you can trust and rely upon to give you good, tailored developmental career advice – someone you can tell the good, the bad, and the ugly facts about your career and they will give you honest feedback about your performance, strategies and your behaviors. A sponsor is someone within your organization that will use their internal political and social capital to move your career forward within the organization (126-127).
  • Using your voice does three things: It creates your self perception, it creates a level of expectation about your contributions to the organization, and it creates a mechanism by which you can define your expectations to the organization. She encourages you to not be distracted by tactics people use to intimidate you into remaining quiet (149).

I think that the most powerful and a useful chapter in this book was, Power in the Network – A Competitive Advantage. In this chapter, Harris shares something that I’ve always believed and use to govern my career. You will not be able to be successful in your career on your own. The relationships we cultivate are the most important keys to success in our careers. The relationships we create gives us power to make strides in business. She doesn’t really go into detail about any Tips on How to Network, more so about how to manage your network. Harris also cautions us to realize that everyone we meet is entitled to respect, from the front desk clerk to the CEO of a company. She states that, “Everyone has power, and you should respect that power in each person regardless of their title or level of seniority” (174).

After finishing this book, I’m reminded of Jack Welch’s book, “Winning” – which was also a great read!

“Expect to Win” by Carla Harris is a great read for everyone who desires to fulfill their true potential in life and in their career. It is a fast read, and definitely worth the time and investment. On a five star rating scale, this book is definitely a 5. Get it today!


Lahesha Williams assists individuals with defining their passion, role and strengths in order to maximize their God-given potential. She writes at Career Help for Christians and manages the Career Tips Blog Carnival.


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