Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
In this faster, more hyper-connected competitive world of business, it is not enough to lead from the isolation of only what you know and what your organization knows. Today’s marketplace demands a much broader perspective grounded in a robust network of relationships, which are a vital commodity for women interested in being highly-touted contributors.
As Jessica Stillman wrote in her article “This Is the Biggest Predictor of Career Success,” being in an open network instead of a closed one (closed networks…people who already know each other) is the best predictor of career success.
Another article, “Do Talk to Strangers: Encouraging Performative Ties to Create Competitive Advantage,” highlights that the impromptu communications in the external world made with strangers gives firms a competitive advantage. In fact, the major indicator of a firm’s knowledge transferability is whether its employees routinely call upon distant colleagues—people unknown to them—for information, after a wide search. Think about how much more compelling this information transfer could be when the external colleagues and other industry leaders you contact are actually relationships you’ve nurtured throughout your career.
The larger your network of contacts—internally and externally—the more dynamic a contributor you are within the organization. A Hinge Research Institute study, “Understanding Employee Advocacy on Social Media,” reports 96 percent of respondents say their involvement in social media for professional purposes has helped their career. It also revealed that 76 percent of the respondents say that social media assists them to keep up with industry trends.
You become more valuable to your organization as you develop relationships as a method to access information and resources not available in your company to produce outstanding results. Such a far-reaching network mandates you consciously plugging yourself into relationships and expanding your knowledge base to remain not only relevant but cutting-edge in your industry. These Relationships will prepare you for the future and provide you with insights on broader strategic issues.
It’s hard to imagine anyone rising through the ranks without the ability to build powerful relationships as part of their leadership proficiencies. It’s just too tough navigating the corporate ladder today without strategic partners throughout the organization, and externally in your industry, supporting your ideas as well as your career progression. You get to choose.
How hard would it be for you to add one or two new relationships to your CRM (Contact Relationship Management) system each month? Consciously building relationships will change the influence you have in your organization—not to mention your career trajectory.
Begin right away. If you wait too long, you will start doubting your ability to target and then, cultivate strategic relationships with executives outside your comfort zone, so kick-off your commitment now.
If you found this blog valuable to you and your career, there are a lot more tips in my report How to Raise Your Influence and Become a Compelling Leader in Your Workplace. To receive the report, click this link http://www.nancyfredericks.com/for-women-only/