The Challenge of Networking: Building Relationships

“Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes.” – Ronald Burt

Last week I attended a Women In Leadership Symposium, presented by the LA Diversity Council. The panel covered many different topics, ranging from leadership traits to ensuring diversity of the team. Interestingly enough, one common theme laced the presentations of all six panel members – relationship building.

“The Courage to Lead: Inner Dimensions of Leadership” by Emily Frager

You need courage to show emotion in the workplace. This vulnerability allows people to see you as human and, thus, makes it easier to make connections.

“Get a Sponsor & Get Ahead” by Erica Cruz

It takes a village to raise you up. You need a large network to help you succeed, the kind of connections who will be willing to point out your blind spots and who will be honest with you when giving feedback. The larger your strategic network, the more supported you will feel and the more successful you will be in your career.

“Finding & Owning Your Own Voice” by Andrea Stürmer

To effectively express and own your voice, you have to be prepared to speak your mind. To be adequately prepared, you need to seek feedback and a different perspective. In order for the feedback to be honest and constructive, you need to have the kind of established relationships that make it safe to offer it to you.

“Positioning Yourself for the Next Big Opportunity” by Yun Au

In business it is all about who knows you. Keeping your head down and working hard, even being good at what you do, is not enough any longer. You need to build a reputation of being adaptable and focus on developing one-on-one relationships. By creating value for that person you are making a long-term investment into the relationship and earning a sponsorship.

“The CIO Initiative” by Ron Guerrier

There many benefits that diversity and inclusion entail. The diversity of your network will allow you to see yourself from different perspectives. The diversity of thought will allow you to see many possibilities. The diversity of opinions and points of views will allow you to make better decisions.

“Developing Political Savvy: Hard Work & Talent Are Not Enough” by Karen A Clark

Building relationships will allow you to navigate your way through and around the organization. Find role models. Build your network by doing people favors. Insert yourself into the right circles. Political savvy is being able to influence people to give you what you want.

Bottom line, regardless of what you do, where you do it, how you do it, you will not succeed at it, unless you have people, who provide guidance, challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, speak for you when you are not in the room, introduce you to your next boss, or maybe even give you the next big break. To have these kinds of people in your life, you have to network, find connections, and diligently cultivate those relationships.

Do you have a networking wisdom to share?

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