Sara Laschever shares practical tools and inspires in 'Ask'

Oct 12, 2015


Tracy Willits

An Iowa native and Iowa State graduate, Tracy Willits is a corporate communications veteran, having held positions in healthcare, publishing and agriculture. She passionately pursues clarity in the written and spoken word, is in awe of the power of social media, and appreciates the opportunities her life has presented.

While women have made many advances over the decades, the wage gap between the genders continues to exist. Is it possible to reduce or even close this gap and improve our lives by negotiating better and more often? Sara Laschever, author and cited expert on the persistence of the wage gap and multiple factors influencing women’s long-term career success, will address this critical topic at Transforming Journeys on October 28 in Des Moines. As part of her session, Ms. Laschever will share wisdom from the new book, Ask for It, which she co-authors with Linda Babcock.

Ask for It combines sound research with anecdotal stories to illustrate how you can ask for more than you think and provides the reader with the tools and techniques to be more skilled negotiators. It breaks down the negotiation process into four practical and, more importantly, achievable steps. The authors have proven this approach works. And, it’s not just theory. You’ll see evidence of success in the relatable stories shared by Ms. Babcock when she implemented the program into her teaching and brought about significant change for women at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. In addition to providing us with new techniques to negotiate, the book also inspires. If you are open to change and feel like you can improve any part of your life, this book can provide you an opportunity to pause and reflect on what is really important to you, what brings you joy or what may be missing in your life.

While the book sites overwhelming evidence that women are paid less and continue to carry the burden at home more often than not, it does not portray women as victims. Instead it teaches us how to determine our value – and it’s greater than we think, challenge cultural norms and raise awareness about important behaviors. I was especially intrigued to read about the locus-of-control scale, a measure psychologists use to determine whether people feel forces controlling their lives are either external (it happens to you) or internal (you make it happen). Studies show women more often than men feel as if life happens to us. I found that piece of research alone somewhat infuriating and surprisingly motivational. I immediately disagreed and thought “I’m in control of my fate.” Then, I stepped back and analyzed a few recent events. I realized I had allowed external forces control the outcome. That needs to change.

Ask For It is an easy read that’s full of thought-provoking stories, relevant research, and many tips to help each of us improve our negotiating skills to ask for more and get it. When you are finished reading this book, you too will ask yourself, “What have I been missing because it didn’t occur to me to ask?” And, you’ll be better prepared to ask for it.