Who are you spending your time with?

Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

Faye had lost some of her natural exuberance. She usually turned challenges into fun, but lately life for her had become a drudge. Her colleagues around her were no help. They were all downcast because the company was focused on cost reduction, as growth in the business had flattened out. Senior management were in survival mode and were not interested in her game-changing ideas. Her external support base had withered because of her busy lifestyle.

Faye took the bold step of leaving her job to search for her dream role. She started with rebuilding her network. But she was determined not to just schedule coffee catch-ups with no focus. She took her ideas about greater integration between business and IT to people who were interested in that problem. They understood the value she offered and passed the word on to others. Before long she was offered a big new role that met all her criteria. 

Faye’s natural effervescence is back and her career continues to advance. But she is now more vigilant about maintaining and expanding her network. The people she spends time with provide her with support, inspiration and a level of accountability that keeps her playing a bigger game. They relate to her as a powerful and accomplished woman and they do not accept anything less from her. Faye makes sure that it is a two-way street by providing them with connections, insights and advice to help solve their business problems. 

Her approach could be the antidote for the reluctance that most of us experience with the traditional view of networking. Research by Francesca Gino found that people avoid professional networking, even though it’s good for their careers, because it makes them feel physically dirty. This is particularly the case if the person making the approach perceives that they are in a junior position to the person they are approaching. Gino offers some advice to counter this challenge. She says, “If you focus on what you can offer to the relationship, it might be an important mindset to have, and remove some of those feelings of inauthenticity.” That has been the key to Faye’s approach to building a powerful network of supporters.

Who are you spending your time with?

Best regards, Brian

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