How to Navigate Your Career Inside Your Company
I heard Reid Hoffman on his podcast, Masters of Scale, state how today’s career navigation is no longer an escalator where you step on it and your managers help promote you up the career ladder inside the organization. Now it is a jungle gym – meaning you have to strategize and connect with key stakeholders that can help educate, mentor and support you in growing your career on the inside. Today’s professionals need to be aware of building their brand inside an organization as much as outside an organization in order to create career opportunity. Networking inside your company is as important as networking outside your company. It is all about cultivating relationships and building your brand by the value you bring and how you communicate your value.
How does one go about building the strategy for this kind of navigation?
1. Make a list of the people inside the organization that you want in your camp.
Who do you need to meet, get introduced to and cultivate a relationship with?
2. Be clear on your value proposition, the value you bring, and how you have impacted your current and past roles . . . think about the biggest challenges you had, what action you took, and what result you got.
3. Put a schedule around how often and when you will reach out and cultivate these relationships.
Are there specific company functions where you will be exposed to certain key executives?
Map out the timeline on key events the company may be hosting for you to leverage.
Protect yourself and your career and be proactive in building relationships inside and outside your company. The cultivation of relationships is what sustains a career and a life for the long haul. I help many executives and professionals that have not spent the time cultivating professional relationships in their network and often they end up being a part of a reduction in force not realizing how long it takes to rebuild those relationships. There are 5 generations in the market; your competitors are often younger and more technology savvy. If you have built trusting relationships that know the value you bring, this carries weight. Learn how to build your thought leadership and brand online by sharing what you know and resources that have helped you. Give to your professional community, and they will give back to you.
You will reap the rewards long term and have fun doing it because we are humans who thrive on connections with others. It is key in this time of change that you be aware of the importance of building a community. Time to cultivate, seed and tend to the people in our lives for this is what leads to more fulfilling and sustaining work.