Lisa Strutt is an executive leadership coach, guide and international speaker. In today’s blog she speaks about the value of building strong networks whether you are in business, an entrepreneur or in the corporate sector.
People often say to me ‘Lisa, I have no time for networking,’ but I say to them networking is part of your work. It is essentially part of every human interaction. It’s a set of relationships that enables you to get ahead, achieve your goals and thrive in work, in your community, in whatever you are trying to achieve.
We live in networks; your family is a network. The people we interact with may be part of our personal network but the one area we need to focus on, particularly women is our strategic network and that’s where we need to put in the work.
I have some key phrases around this.
You need to nurture your network before you need it. That’s the key to essential relationship building. It’s about being really genuine with people and connecting with them; seeing how you can help by having a giving mentality. That doesn’t mean your have to be a doormat or a people pleaser or give to everybody. It’s about having a giving mindset in your approach to relationships. It’s as simple as saying, if I could just help you with one thing, what might that be or what’s your biggest challenge and who might be able to help with that?
Your network can’t help you, if your network doesn’t know, or doesn’t know what you are working on, what your goal is so be clear and intentional around that. Know what it is that you really need help with and don’t be afraid to ask. What I’ve found is that people love to help. They love to give advice and guidance wherever possible. If you share with people what it is you are working on, you will find people do want to help you.
Another challenge people have is when they work in corporate and they think, well, I don’t really need to build a network.
Have I got news for you? You do.
I’ve two challenges for you relating to that. In the corporate world you need to develop your internal network because it can be a bit safe. If you just stick with people you know, like and trust within your own area of expertise, if you want to get that next promotion or you want to move beyond that organisation, if you haven’t made enough connections or know what else is happening outside, that can be a challenge.
Networking outside your organisation, can help amplify you within your own place of work especially if you become a thought leader or trail blazer with other people in your industry sector.
I’ve seen that time and again, when people start getting noticed internally because they build a name for themselves in an area of expertise outside the organisation. If you want to be part of a network of like-minded individuals around something you are particularly interested in and you look around and say, I don’t really like the vibe, what I would encourage you to do is set up your own network.
You invite the people, you engage and start to build up your own community of interest around an area that matters to you be that ESG, menopause, philanthropy, whatever it is that matters to you.