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.
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.
So after all the discussion about belonging to an association and the benefits involved, are you still not convinced that it’s a good idea? Before you click away and go back to your busy work or home life, try a few of these suggestions to make absolutely sure joining an association isn’t right for you.
As you’ve seen, there are so many reasons to get involved with an organization in your industry. Once you convince your boss of the importance, and get her buy in, the benefits are many for both you and the company. Often times your boss will even see the benefit, so much so that she is willing to pay the membership fee, if there is one. Once a member, you need to decide what role you’d like to play – some requiring more of a commitment than others.
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: