Who do you know?
Why do I ask? Because it’s infinitely more important than what you know.
The right people can unblock problems, reduce the asking chain, help you get shit done. They will fight your corner and back you up when you are in a tight spot. They can even get you promoted.
What senior stakeholders have you had a pint with down the pub, or bought a coffee for?
Who are you work buddies with who has some authority and that you can ask for help to get things moving?
What decision makers would say hello to you when you see them in the lift (and vice versa)?
Knowing one guy or gal that can help is not enough. Sure, it’s better than nothing but there a huge risk of putting all your eggs in one basket, because if that person is not around when you need them then you are right back to where you started. Stuck. This is why you need to network like your (corporate) life depends on it.
Nine times out of ten the blockers we experience at work are down to people. We need to escalate but don’t know who to escalate to. We need someone to prioritise our request, but don’t who, and when we do find the right person, they don’t know you from Adam, so it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Think about it – if you get 2 requests to do something of equal priority, one from someone you know, the other from a stranger, which would you pick up first? The one from your pal – right?
So how to go about it?
Go for after work drinks
Organise team lunches and invite people you want to network with
Be open and talk honestly with people, regardless of their seniority
Chat to people at the gym during lunch break
Show curiosity and ask questions during presentations. Stick around afterwards and approach the speaker (not in a creepy way, just be interested in what they have to say, and let them know who you are and what you do)
Email influencers after you’ve had dealings with them, re-introduce yourself and leave an impression
Bottom line: GET NOTICED.
If you’re silent you’ll be bypassed. If you’re a passenger you’ll get usurped. If you don’t have an opinion or something to add, you’ll be forgotten.
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Conference calls. Team meetings. All day workshops. These are all opportunities to get noticed or hide. To have a voice or remain unheard. To be ‘that guy’ or to be ‘what guy?’.
How do you want this to play out? Which path do you choose for yourself? Who do you want to form links with? Who has authority and influence in your area? Find out today and reach out.
The power is in your hands. If you want to form a relationship. Go. Get. It.
Powerful people are humans just like you and me. Don’t wait till next week. You’ve got nothing to loose. Crack on, you never know where it might lead…