Networking is, and will continue to be, an important professional activity for business professionals. I previously stated that 60 – 70% of employed individuals located their most recent job opportunity through networking. These numbers were corroborated in a poll I conducted on LinkedIn. I found that 59% of 1,339 respondents chose the category “by networking with friends and colleagues” as the strategy that led them to their most recent job. Therefore, networking seems to be three times more effective than using an on-line job board and almost three times more effective than using a recruiter.
When you’re ready to have a value meeting with your boss, you can follow certain steps to ensure that you have a productive conversation. Most organizations across the globe are not having this type of discussion, so it really helps to have a plan in place and all your ducks in a row.
So what is it that will make you stand out to your boss or organization as a valuable employee? When I say that you must achieve more than just doing your job well, I am not suggesting that doing your job well is not important. Conversely, in today’s excruciating work environments, good performance is expected. Your organization is finding less time and spending less money to train you to be a good performer. In her recent Wall Street Journal article, Herminia Ibarra of INSEAD continued to reflect that “Businesses are putting managers in a tough spot. They’re forcing bosses to take on many new responsibilities – but they’re not training them to get those jobs done.”
The proliferation of professional transparency is creating new ways for individuals to develop an opinion about you. Information sharing and your reputation are now inextricably combined. You can share information about yourself in endless ways (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging). Most of these do not even require you to be physically present. Individuals that you have never met and may never meet can find information about you faster than ever.
Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization AND your industry.
You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you’re only visible in your organization, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues.
Your desire to attend meetings and events with industry associations probably feels like a dream. The ability to attend during your workday, after your workday ends, or on the weekend is likely compromised in the following ways:
Your ego and inner critic play a big role in how you participate at work.
You may not realize it, but you tell yourself hundreds of stories every day. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I’m referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself every day to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These stories come from your ego and inner critic.