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.
Another reason networking while employed and performance appraisals are becoming increasingly ineffective is the explosive growth in professional transparency. As recently as seven years ago, unless the subject of your search was your favorite movie star, rock star, or politician, your ability to find details about another individual was challenging. This was not due to your faulty research skills – information about an average individual simply did not exist publicly.
Networking may be the most effective way for individuals looking to land a new job and for self-employed business owners to create revenue. However, networking is significantly less effective for employed business professionals seeking ways to grow in their current organization.
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.
There is little doubt that human beings have a need for social interaction and networking. In his landmark paper A Theory of Human Motivation (1943), Abraham Maslow concluded that, after fulfilling our psychological and safety needs, we must fulfill our interpersonal and “belongingness” needs. To paraphrase Maslow, individuals hunger for affectionate relationships with people and they will strive with great intensity to achieve this goal.
The Talent Development Hot Seat features interviews and insights from leading talent development professionals and company executives who are passionate about developing their people. The host, Andy Storch, asks each of them to share some of their successes, failures, challenges and advice for others as well as what trends they are seeing in the industry. The main goal of the podcast is to help listeners become more successful in their own jobs and accelerate their careers as Talent Development professionals.
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.
Are you not feeling that you have the support of your boss when it comes to joining an association? In a previous post we discussed the importance of balancing work and industry events and being open with your boss. Here are a few more tips for getting your boss’s support and for getting her behind your decision to join an association.
Do you have the time or the desire to make more of a commitment to membership in an association? If so, then the Board of Directors is the place for you. Being a board member in an association requires the highest degree of commitment, and represents the highest degree of complexity. Board roles typically include President, President-Elect, and Vice-President. Being on a board can be very rewarding, as it provides you the greatest opportunity to impact member experience.
You’ve decided you need to get more involved in associations in your industry, but you don’t have tons of time to commit. There are many different ways to get involved without being committed on a regular basis. Presenting at an association meeting or participating on a panel may be a good way to go. Your local groups always need speakers, and they love speakers from within the industry.