Having the right people in your work posse can equal career success. Janine Garner reckons most of us make the mistake of not updating our network throughout their careers. She should know. Just take a look at her credentials: founder of LBDGroup, director of Curious Minds Pty Ltd and author of It’s Who You Know.
“A lot of people network with the same people as they progress through their career,” she says adding, “It’s great to a point but it limits your thinking.” The challenge particularly for women is that we don’t ask for help, we’re really great at supporting everyone else but this is about getting strategic about yourself.”
Garner urges you to think about what you want to to achieve over the next 12 months – are you surrounding yourself with people who can help? Read on for more inspiration.
These people will help push you towards your future career, inspire you to do more, and work out how you’re going to achieve your goals all while alerting you to potential possibilities.
The cheerleader: “They are cheering you on every step of the way, they are like the CEO of your personal cheer club promoting you whenever they can.”
The explorer: “The person that will absolutely question the why, the who, the what, the when and the how of your plans and your thinking. They’ll disrupt your current situation and introduce to you different ways to get to your future dreams.”
The inspirer: “That person that relights your fire, that person that you sit down with and they fire up the spirit and really help you believe that the impossible is possible.”
Your pit crew are all about keeping you on track while nurturing you but also making sure your emotions don’t get in the way and mess things up.
The lover: “A person that puts you and your needs first to help you become the best you can be and they really don’t care about what you have materialistically, how much money you’re earning, they actually care about you fundamentally and this is the person that says ‘how are you really feeling today?’.”
The connector: “The person that opens doors for you, whether it’s through people or information. They are joining the dots that you can’t see and they seem to have this uncanny habit of knowing that connecting you to someone or something will create that opportunity for you to fast track your dream.”
The balancer: “The key role of the balancer is self care. They understand that any form of success relies on a healthy balance between personal and professional goals and they play a critical role in terms of our network.”
Think knowledge, wisdom and foresight and these people have it.
The influencer: “This is a person that has almost been there and done that, they have the job that you’re aspiring to have, they have the lifestyle that you’re searching for, they have the work-life balance that you’re dreaming of. And the influencer really ups the ante for you, giving you focus and helping you in decision making, they’re sharing everything that they know, their life or their experience so you can become better.”
The professor: “That person that constantly pushes you to think better, to think deeper and to think differently.”
The architect: “That person that’s very methodical, very astute, they’re financially savvy, they’re great at identifying potential gains and challenges. Like an architect in real life this person for you is all about laying the stepping stones to guide you along the path to your future success”.
Meet the people that drive us crazy but that we would be lost without. They push us to do more, don’t let us get away with sh*% and accelerate our journey.
The truth sayer: “These are the people that we almost love to hate because they’re very honest, they’re loyal and they force you to connect to your goals with integrity, they challenge your integrity and your truth even if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. They really check that you’re being true to yourself and not just following what everybody else is doing. They’re just telling it like it is and really challenging conventions.”
The accelerator: “They are your master butt kicker. They make things happen, they accept no excuses, they grab any procrastination by its ankles and help you chuck it out the window. They are just pushing you and prodding you to make decisions, to stick to your plans and do what you say you’re going to do.”
The mentor: “It doesn’t matter at what level you are in an organisation, whether you’re starting out or you’re at the top of your game or you’re the founder of an organisation, every single one of us needs a mentor because they’re empowering and they enable you to achieve more so they are crucial to your success. They guide and inspire and they provide wisdom.”
Right so how do you go about getting all of these people to join your network? Start cold calling? Nope, it’s easier than that.
How to build your network
1. Reach out amongst people you already know, ask questions, ask for introductions, it could be organising a coffee or a chat. “These people are closer than you think,” Garner says.
2. Networking events are great but you need to pick the right one. If you’re an extrovert then going to a big one will be a walk in the park but if your an introvert look for smaller, more exclusive ones.
3. Use LinkedIn but use it properly, don’t just connect and forget and don’t just add your friends. “Think about why you want to connect with that person, what you want to learn from them and send them an email saying ‘I’d love to connect with you because I’m impressed, I’m inspired by what you have achieved in X and I’d love to know how you did Y’ start the conversation.”
4. Start with four. Look for one person from each group and then expand it.
Garner’s book is in stores now and she’s soon to launch a diagnostic tool on her website which will help identify how your current network is and what you are missing.