Relationships Matter: Creating Career-Boosting Alliances

Published Monday, November 07, 2011 8:39 PM


To land a plum assignment is it more important to a) have a proven track record, b) have a strong work ethic, or c) have a good network? 


Trick question: the answer is all of the above. Many people might assume that a proven track record and a robust work ethic is enough but what truly distinguishes two proven performers is their network. Strong alliances can be career differentiators for strong performers.


Given the choice between two first-rate performers, smart employers choose the person who is a proven relationship builder. After all, relationships are the pipelines through which information flows and projects are moved forward. If your pipeline is weak or broken in spots, your ability to effect change and drive momentum is compromised.


How to build strong alliances:


Network: Build (and maintain) relationships at your current and past jobs. Schedule time for networking just as you would any other task; send e-mails, have lunch with colleagues and try to attend conferences and seminars in your field every few months. Join industry associations but don't overlook your personal life: be active in alumnae associations and in civic and community groups.


Mentor: Take time to mentor up-and-coming colleagues. A mentoring relationship can be incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally. Successful mentoring is a two-way street: mentors pass along their knowledge and perspective and mentees share fresh outlooks and a younger generation's knowledge of hot trends and technologies. Plus young mentees will grow and move on, expanding a mentor's network.


Partner: Seek out opportunities to collaborate with peers both within your company and more broadly, within your industry. Look to work across departments within a company or join a steering committee of a trade association that will allow you to meet industry peers. Consider partnering with another business on a joint venture. Opening a door to a new group of people grows your network and expands your perspective.


Ally: The bedrock of any relationship is built on trust. Look to have the back of the people you work and interact with every day. By acting as an ally to your colleagues and clients, in matters both large and small, you forge a strong bond. Cultivate a reputation as a trustworthy, loyal, people person. When you extend yourselves to others, that trust is generally repaid in kind.


How do you cultivate valuable career alliances? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.


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