The adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has significantly more weight in this 21st century world of busy-ness where job vacancies are filled before they are advertised and previously unthought-of collaborations appear out of nowhere to create new and competitive markets. Add to this the constant pressure of coming up with new ideas to help us remain relevant and influential in a saturated business landscape and it’s no wonder that when it comes to finding the right people to supercharge our career most of us hide behind our computers and feel paralyzed with fear.
However, who is in your network and how much input or influence they have on what you are doing or trying to achieve is critical to your growth and success.
In ‘Managing Yourself: A Smarter Way to Network’, (Harvard Business Review July 2011), Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas found “the executives who consistently rank in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and well-being have diverse but select networks … made up of high-quality relationships with people who come from several different spheres and from up and down the corporate hierarchy.”
Become the master of your network, surrounding yourself with the right people. Choosing your network wisely starts with these four key people:
Your own personal cheerleading squad is key to your success. They are with you through thick or thin, never giving up on you, always dreaming big with you. Promoters pull you toward your future dreams, make noise about potential possibilities, spend time with you to explore how you’re going to achieve your goals and inspire you to become more. They put fire in your belly and belief in your mind. According to research from the Centre For Talent Innovation, people with promoters (aka sponsors) are 23% more likely to move up in their career than those without sponsors.
Climbing the ladder of success can be a lonely task, requiring grit, determination and perseverance. We all experience days of frustration and disappointment, days when we have to face our fears, make tough decisions or calls, push past failures, recalibrate our reality and keep focused on opportunities that lie outside our comfort zone. Having the right crew to help you overcome these difficulties, keeping you mentally tough and balanced, is crucial. Like a Formula One pit stop, your pit crew can make or break a race. They add stamina to run the marathon of your dreams; to navigate complexities and recover from setbacks. They help you learn from mistakes and keep pushing you on anyway.
Seek out teachers who will continue to help develop your mastery and knowledge, pushing you to know more. They may have already achieved what you want to achieve and will willingly open doors, make introductions and pave the way to your success.
Harvard professor Linda Hill says, “You can’t think of something new unless you are being pushed to think in new directions, and you can’t do that unless you are engaging with people who have a different viewpoint.”
The right teachers teach you mastery, guide and stretch your thinking and encourage you to push, because they know that this constant curiosity creates real opportunity for growth, achievement and success.
Love them or hate them, we all need butt-kickers. Butt-kickers are the masters of delivery. They listen to your dreams and accelerate your goals, pushing you to do more and holding you accountable for all your actions—and then some.
Choose your tribe carefully. Take control because strategically aligning yourself with the right people will fast track your goals and ambitions and influence the person you eventually become.
Sydney-based Janine Garner is an internationally-acclaimed entrepreneur and Fortune 500 mentor, keynote speaker and author. She is a partner at Thought Leaders Global, and the founder and CEO of the LBDGroup. Janine is also the author of It’s Who You Know: How a Network of 12 Key People Can Fast-track Your Success (Wiley) and From Me To We: Why Commercial Collaboration Will Future Proof Business, Leaders and Personal Success (Wiley). Visit http://www.janinegarner.com.au