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Women hold just 17 percent of the most senior-level leadership positions in U.S. corporations — a number that hasn’t changed in more than 30 years.

Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Paths to Power

Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt

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Women hold just 17 percent of the most senior-level leadership positions in U.S. corporations — a number that hasn’t changed in more than 30 years. How can women break through? Break Your Own Rules is a New York Times bestseller that distills the six faulty assumptions most women follow that get in the way, then delivers the correlating new rules that promise to clear that path.

  • Features results of over 1,700 interviews with executives in Fortune 1000 companies, as well as the authors’ latest research and ongoing work with over 5,000 professional women.
  • Showcases previously-untold stories from high-profile women including Ann Moore (CEO, Time Inc.), Susan Ivey (CEO, Reynolds American), Cathy Bessant (Global Executive for Technology and Operations, Bank of America), Lynn Ford (CEO, ING Solutions), and more.
  • Reveals what it really takes for any woman to succeed at the highest levels.
  • Foreword by Sharon Allen, Chairman of Deloitte.

This hands-on guide is for women who are ready to transform their assumptions and join the senior ranks of American business.

Endorsements

Leadership experts Flynn, Heath, and Holt have delivered a gem. Break Your Own Rules explains exactly why so few women run organizations today, and what every woman can do Monday morning to change that. The book is an eye-opener and a life-changer.

Kathleen Parker

Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and author of Save the Males: Why Men Matter Why Women Should Care

Hard work isn’t always enough to get you to your next level of achievement; you must eliminate the behavior that just does not work in an executive position. Women are still under-represented in the executive ranks. Through research and extensive work with the Fortune 1000, authors Flynn, Heath, and Holt have identified the six behaviors that keep even the most achievement-oriented women from reaching their highest potential. They’ve also recommended six new do-able practices that can move you where you want to go. Get it all in their new book, Break Your Own Rules.

Marshall Goldsmith

Executive Coach and bestselling author including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and MoJo

Break Your Own Rules is a myth-busting, truth-telling, tradition-defying powerhouse of a book. The six new rules revealed by the authors proclaim a modern Magna Carta for women that could revolutionize our workplaces, our homes, and our communities. But this is not just a book for women. The more female leaders organizations have, the more successful they are. Men must also read this book if they want to create a workplace that welcomes and sustains more and more women in their top managerial ranks. Stop wasting half of the most valuable talent we have in today’s organizations. Buy this book and put it to use immediately.

Jim Kouzes

Co-author, The Leadership Challenge, and Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Senior leadership has been especially elusive for women. The authors dismiss conventional corporate ladder wisdom, providing a clear and actionable strategy in a corporate lattice world where hierarchies are flatter and the rate of change is exponential. Their book helps women-and men-realize their leadership potential.

Cathleen Benko

Bestselling author and Vice Chairman
Deloitte

Vast numbers of women move business forward every day – yet astonishingly few hold top leadership positions. Break your Own Rules addresses this age-old problem in a powerful new way through six specific practices. This book is for every woman, in any industry, who is ready to start engineering their own ‘path to power.’

Douglas R. Conant

CEO of Campbell Soup Company and co-author of the bestselling TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments

Great leadership is by definition uncommon and unconventional. If it were not, most every leader would be great. Break Your Own Rules is a provocative yet pragmatic blueprint for ways to reconstruct the models, myths, and molds that restrict leader greatness. It will open your eyes, renovate your mind, and unleash your talent.

Chip R. Bell

Author, Wired and Dangerous

Upheavals abound that challenge organizations deeply every day. The interplay of shifting demographics, new technologies, and economic forces is non-stop — and powerful. What does this mean to women who want to change the face of leadership and share power at the top? You need smart, fast help from trusted leadership experts who understand the path from the inside out. You’ll get just that in Break Your Own Rules by authors Flynn, Heath, and Holt. Its fresh stories, in-depth research, and resonant advice to help you navigate today’s real hurdles and drive your career to the highest levels. I look forward to the day when the senior ranks reflect a full 50% of the talent pool, thanks in part to this immensely practical new book.

Tammy Erickson

Award-winning advisor on engaged organizations and bestselling author including Workforce Crisis and What’s Next, Gen X?

Now is the time for women to claim their seat at the table. Whether in the board room or at the executive level, when women are represented they consistently demonstrate their power to increase the bottom line and drive innovation. What I have seen in my work with women leaders around the world is that when passion, talent, and commitment are matched with a strategy to succeed, there’s no limit in our ability to transform companies, communities, and even our world. That’s exactly what you’ll get from leadership experts Flynn, Heath, and Holt in Break Your Own Rules. The book delivers the very best of their experiences as executives and coaches, plus the latest research and untold stories from a number of women who have made it to the top and are making a significant impact. I urge you to pick up your copy today.

Alyse Nelson

President/CEO
Vital Voices Global Partnership, and Social Entrepreneur

In our world of unprecedented change, how do organizations become more effective, decisive, and profitable? By having the very best leaders at the top. It’s time for women everywhere to break their own rules and start joining the senior ranks in greater numbers. Here’s how: Buy a copy of this breakthrough book for yourself, and one for a colleague.

Charlene Li

Founder of Altimeter Group and author of the bestselling Open Leadership

Leadership is about winning and reaping big rewards. But getting to and staying at the top isn’t easy. In fact the hard truth is that for women, it remains highly improbable-unless you have a concrete strategy and learn how to lead in ways you can’t imagine when you start. As one of the very few women who advises Fortune 500 CEOs and their teams every day, I know what it takes. So do Break Your Own Rules authors Flynn, Heath, and Holt. Break Your Own Rules is a hands-on guide that gets it right. Every woman who cares about her impact and leadership needs to get a copy of this game-changing book today.

Saj-nicole Joni

Confidential CEO advisor and bestselling author including The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value

In the game of business, you’ve got to know the rules to get ahead. But if you’re a woman, there’s more: You need to recognize the patterns that continue to hold us back, then you must start practicing “the new rules of leadership.” Flynn, Heath, and Holt deliver it all in Break Your Own Rules. The book is packed with untold stories from the authors’ own lives as senior executives, from their current work as leadership coaches to women in Fortune 1000 companies, and from women CEOs across industries. It includes the six road-tested “new rules” that get women to the top. If your goal is to achieve your highest potential, you’ll need this book. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Gail Evans

Executive VP at CNN (retired) and bestselling author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman

Break Your Own Rules reflects the experience of many women-nearly 2,000 Fortune 1000 executives and 5,000 professional women. But mostly, it addresses the pivotal question, “What does it really take for women to lead today?” Authors Flynn, Heath, and Holt, having held executive positions themselves in addition to their time spent advising women and organizations on how to advance women’s careers, provide some new and helpful insights and answers to this unfortunately persistent question. Get their help to move yourself forward, faster. Their advice can make a difference.

Crandall Close Bowles

Chairman & CEO, Springs Global (Retired)

I confess that I’m not sympathetic when I hear women say things like: “I don’t have a real shot at the top because relationships are formed on the golf course and I’m not a golfer.” Or “So and so is plotting and scheming for the position I want and I just won’t play those games.” or “People don’t listen to me because I’m a woman.” I hear this last one from women a lot and I think the reason nobody listens to them is because they say things like that! I’m not suggesting that barriers don’t exist. The glass ceiling is still very real in many industries and sadly, gender discrimination in the workplace still exists. But it’s time for women to stop denying any accountability for the struggles they face and, instead, adopt the powerful, road-tested practices outlined in Break Your Own Rules, guaranteed to help women everywhere achieve their greatest potential. I love this book. It is fierce, a must read!

Susan Scott

Founder of the global training company, Fierce Inc., and bestselling author of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life-One Conversation at a Time and Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst “Best” Practices of Business Today

After four decades of women entering every segment of the American workforce, the percentage of women in senior leadership positions is barely a low double digit. When it comes to reaching the elite top ranks, solutions have been elusive — until now. In Break Your Own Rules, authors Flynn, Heath, and Holt build on their deep experience to offer real-life advice that really works. Women and men must read this compelling book. Now.

Ruth Shaw

CEO and President, Duke Power (Retired)

Break Your Own Rules is an unusually fresh, engaging, and tactical book for women who want to fulfill their leadership potential. It’s also perfect for men who want the very best people in power. Get your copy today.

Mary Matalin

Political consultant, commentator, and author

Over the years and across a few generations, I have had the privilege of participating in American public life in so many ways-as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, as well as a government servant at the highest levels, a business executive with a seat on high-profile corporate boards, and as a bestselling author and arbiter of manners. I was often the only woman in the room; this didn’t change much as my achievements grew, as our education levels increased, and the years passed. Even now, women aren’t well-represented in top positions. Thank goodness for Break Your Own Rules. This is the first book that lets us re-imagine leadership-and I mean really re-imagine leadership-by showing exactly how smart, skilled, and ambitious women can navigate the hurdles and reach their full potential. Don’t wait to read this important book. You’ll see leadership, and yourself, in a new and limitless way.

Letitia Baldrige

Business leader, philanthropist, Former Chief of Staff for Jacqueline Kennedy, and proud octogenarian