The frequency and pace of change in your organization, the exponential growth of your professional transparency, your lack of energy to connect with others while employed (visibility), and your lack of energy regarding your performance assessment (value), all create professional risks for you. With increased turbulence in your organization resulting in roles, responsibilities, and relationships changing with great frequency, your ability to benefit from the development of organic relationships (ones that grow naturally over time) or purposeful relationships (ones that you proactively create with a goal in mind) is being seriously eroded.
Frequency of change refers to how often it occurs. There was a time when organizations were proud of their stability and consistency. Acquisitions were infrequent, and words like “right-sizing” and “down-sizing” were not in the dictionary. Your job description had not changed for years.
Growing organizations require value to be more tangible, and the contribution of business value by employees to be broader. While individual value is critically important to an organization’s performance, it is not the type of value that will sustain an organization. Business value tied to internal financial drivers reflects a more strategic perspective that can have a positive impact. Today, your organization needs as many employees as possible focused on creating value through internal financial drivers.
Deep within the heart of your organization’s cubicle farm, you and your heads-down colleagues are working hard to stay employed. Our metric-based culture has created generations of individuals who believe that good performance alone ensures job security. They still haven’t figured out the dirty little secret behind value creation.
In today’s “get-it-done-yesterday” business environments, tenure is shortening and relationships are becoming shallower. It’s no longer enough when an employee exceeds expectations. Herminia Ibarra, the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD), reflected on this topic in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “With competition fierce and the business climate changing rapidly, companies are telling their leaders that it’s no longer enough to deliver results in their individual departments, or over the short-term.”
Every once in a while, you will hear CEOs of organizations declare “At Acme Products, we are like a family!” I am not exactly sure what a CEO means when she describes her company as a family.
Perhaps there was a time when organizations were familial. Your grandparents may reminisce about the “good old days” when employees were treated like family. In the not-too-distant past, family-like environments naturally flourished since tenures were longer and relationships were deeper. Doing your job well nearly guaranteed of lifetime employment. However, organizations today are not like a family, regardless of what your well-intentioned CEO tells you.
Balancing work and industry events
Balancing work and industry events in your busy organization is not easy. Engaging with industry associations can become harder if your boss doesn’t support the concept. Your boss may feel that industry association meetings are just social or networking events “dressed-up” to look like a work-related event. Your boss may believe that engaging with your industry is not a productive use of time, or she may think that any industry-related activities should be done “off-the-clock.”
What story are you telling yourself?
As we’ve discussed, you are being asked to do more, faster, and with too few resources. You feel as though you are doing the jobs of three people. Your Outlook calendar is triple-booked. Recurring acquisitions add new responsibilities with no additional resources. Consolidations and downsizing shift the jobs, previously handled by your colleagues, to you. You wish a magic wand existed to take away all of the urgent email, last minute requests, and unexpected phone calls that are created by your colleagues.
One other characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are either naturally comfortable introducing themselves to others or they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they introduce themselves to others.
While I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself, I think it would be presumptuous to tell you to be comfortable when introducing yourself. Whether you are an Avoider, Fumbler or just plain unconsciously competent, some of you will not be comfortable introducing yourself, no matter how many books you read.