Adding mutual value in business relationships is a great way to build a network of people who can offer you information, resources and support to succeed over your career. In this article, we discuss networking and building business relationships, a topic our members ask about, whether as an ongoing process for career success, or specifically when they are joining a new organisation. We love that they, by asking, signal they are thinking of relationship-building in a strategic way while also appreciating that things get done through working with others.
Everything is attached to another human being. They write the checks. They have the funding. They know about the job opportunities... Research for years has shown that your network equals your net worth.”
Using ideas from Judy Robinett, we discuss the importance of building and sustaining your network. Judy grew up in a very small town in the US and “didn't know anyone of wealth, power or influence”, yet over her career she learnt lessons and built relationships such that today she has “such a broad and deep network that I’m connected to almost any resource you may need, so I’m having fun”. The term “networking” can have negative connotations, conjuring up images of schmoozing, manipulating others for self-serving ends, superficiality, or rigidly diarised followups. Read more to explore Judy’s tips to focus our relationship-building on adding value (including her "three golden questions"), learn more from a Harvard Business Review article on networking in a new job, and see Judy’s book about strategic networking and one of her TEDx talks.
It’s always a delight to watch Brene Brown speak. She has a magical ability to connect with her audience, using both empathy and humour, and her messages resonate strongly. Her words, spoken or written, move us, inspire us, and help us to make changes in our lives.
Brene told us in her Netflix show (The Call to Courage) that she is “super introverted”, which makes her another example (like fellow author Susan Cain) of an amazing speaker who is an introvert. She’s also highly structured, saying: “I'm more of the ‘life's messy, clean it up, organise it and put it into a bento box’ [type].” One of her superpowers is the unusual combination of her research and storytelling skills which bring her studies of human connection to life – as a researcher/storyteller, she’s a slasher. In her words: “I am a storyteller. I'm a qualitative researcher. I collect stories; that's what I do. And maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
This post explores the themes of courage, vulnerability, connection, creativity and critics, drawing on Brene’s ideas and sharing a recording of her keynote to creatives at the 99U conference. Exposing our ideas to the world takes courage, so we highlight some of her classic quotes which connect with us at Protagion, and offer reflections from one of our mentors on her book “Daring Greatly”*. Read more to be inspired by Brene’s ideas, advice and authenticity.
Earlier this month, we wrote about career breaks and various reasons professionals take them. We shared too advice from Bethany Mayer, including her perspective on career breaks and how she re-entered the workforce, ultimately becoming CEO of a technology company and then an Independent Board Member.
This post builds on that advice and focuses on those preparing to return after a break. As returning to work after a period away can be particularly difficult, we suggest resources which may help. Please do let us know in the comments about additional information sources, materials or programmes you’ve come across that may help our readers in different countries make the transition back into the corporate world.
Want you back for good
So, how practically can we make the transition back into our profession after a period away? This is a common question from Protagion’s members in that stage of their careers. A personal strategy is naturally dependent on the specific profession, the length of and reasons for the break, the breadth of the individual’s network, their new career aspirations, and other factors. Nevertheless, there are some general elements to consider when looking to get back into your profession and career:
Ultimately, you are aiming to return to a place where your skills and experience are recognised and valued, and you feel part of the team. Read more about how some employers are actively seeking returners below, including examples of programmes in different industries. We also link to some general resources for those looking to get back into the corporate world.