Perhaps you’re one of those people who loves meeting new people, sharing your own story, and hearing about what makes them tick? More likely not. Networking has a slightly grubby image, bringing to mind suave but slippery souls pretending to want to build a relationship and get to know you, all so they can sell you something…
So, given that we’re meeting more and more in person again, including at business and professional events, this article shares some tips for those to whom networking doesn’t come naturally. Across many industries, business relationships are very important to career progression, but initiating and nurturing them can be a challenge for some of us.
Aree Bly is an alignment coach for analytical minds, having spent much of her career as a health insurance consulting actuary in the United States. She has a great love for the outdoors – spending time in nature, and she lived for a few years in Brazil! These days, Aree is a regular podcast guest and speaker (including a TEDx talk in New York City, where she spoke about resetting in a new direction). She helps individuals and teams to identify and navigate their values, strengths and skills to create the success they really desire. In this article, ‘alignment ally’ Aree describes her ‘alignment landscape’ model, drawing on her own analytical experiences:
"I have both said and heard 'I am too analytical to fully follow the voice within'. Sometimes it comes out as 'I am too analytical to clearly hear the voice within'. In either case, there is another way to navigate into and through a successful career. One in which the success you create is also sustainable.
Navigating your own career and the challenges that you meet along the way implies that there is a map that you can follow. That map is called your alignment landscape.
Alignment, Learning, Proficiency & more
You operate best and contribute most effectively when your work is aligned with both your current skills and your values. In your alignment zone, with everything falling into place, you can perform every time.
When you know that you have the skills and talents at hand to tackle an upcoming project or solve the problem that a client is facing, you can approach the job confidently. All you need to do is reach into your toolbox and - voila - a hammer in hand ready for the nail. You don’t even need to think about it. The skills are there, honed and ready to be used. Read more to continue exploring the features of the alignment landscape with me, including this map’s particular orientation and contours.
To say I was surprised by the general sentiment in a poll I ran on LinkedIn and Twitter about company-allocated mentors is putting it mildly. Especially given the incredibly positive perspective I get from talking with HR departments, including Learning & Development managers, in companies themselves. A strong reminder to me that different stakeholders can have very different perspectives on the same topic!
So, given I’ve written about other company initiatives like rotation programmes and career returner programmes before, why not write an article on mentorship programmes too?
Read more to learn what the poll results were, plus some suggestions on how to enhance company mentorship initiatives, ending with thoughts on other programmes such as those run by non-profit organisations or professional bodies.