Published Date: 11/10/2014
By Reneé Watkins
If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. Developing a strong network of successful connections, who are experienced and experts in skills that complement yours, is critical to your own ability to become and stay successful in your profession.
Connecting with the right people, both inside and outside your workplace, can make all the difference in your level of success. No one individual can be an expert on everything. When working on a new idea or project, it is important to reach out and collaborate with people who can help you meet your objectives. During the collaboration process you will learn more and gain experience that can further your value to the company and to the team.
As with any relationship, you will not be able to ignore these connections for months on end, only to call on them when you really need them and expect them to come to your aid. Routine and personal contact is very important to broadening and maintaining a strong network. Personal contact, in today’s world, does not necessarily imply “face-to-face” or even a phone call. Emails or texting on an occasional basis can be considered “personal” when reaching out to a colleague or network connection. For example, taking notice of a “connection’s” interest in a particular hobby or user group and then sending an email or message regarding a similar interest is one way to connect on a more personal level.
In building out your network, there will always be connections that, while important, are not likely to assist in furthering your knowledge or career. Still, as with any network, you never know who is connected to whom. So, every connection has the potential of being important in some way. The larger your network, the more likely there will be someone with the expertise you need at the exact moment you need it.
Take some time each day to work on your professional connections. Seek out fellow team members and managers to stay aware of what projects they are working on and to demonstrate your interest. Offer your help should they need it and ask to stay in touch with their progress. The only thing preventing you from expanding your network is the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to it.
Although technology has drastically changed the way in which we form and maintain relationships today, they are still relationships. It may all be digital in some cases but such relationships and connections are just as real and just as important as ever.