The single most underutilised tool for career evolution, transformation, promotion, and excellence is networking.
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha said that people feel about networking the same way they feel about flossing: it’s good for you but no fun to do.
Networks are valuable for professionals because they are powerful relationships inside and outside the organisation.
In my work, I observe this common thread in the Designing Your Life & Work sessions, one-on-one conversations, and advisory. People who are stuck in their roles, and their companies lack a strong network inside and outside the organisation.
They have tunnel vision that may give them day-to-day performance, but it does not lead to the evolution they want.
Because I do many things unconsciously, I was curious about how this played out in my career and how the dots connect looking back.
The confidence to pursue new opportunities came from engaging with my network, leading to insights about my value and competence as a professional.
All promotions or career advancements correlate to a peak moment in my networking and relationships.
The opportunities for new projects and ideas for visible assignments came from network contacts.
The success of my transition to a new role was also because of strong support from my network and relationships.
My network maximised my strategic thinking, exposing me to different perspectives and trends.
Over time, the relationships I built are genuine and stand the test of time and career changes.
My definition of networking = learning + connections.
I always say that if you start to build relationships the moment you need them, it’s already too late. Plus, it’s very hard to build mutual and genuine relationships under the pressure of an outcome. That’s why networking has such a bad reputation for promoting self-interest.
What’s your definition of networking?