Archives For Networking

The ability to engage successfully in organizational politics is an essential component to your success in today’s global business environment.  We see it everywhere: from the Administrative Assistant’s ability to act as the gate-keeper to the bosses calendar, all the way up the organizational chart… to the CEO lobbying the Board to support his/her pet projects. At every level within every company, how you communicate equates to how well you are politically perceived.

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To become a polished politician, learn to communicate intentionally. In order to focus attention on your ideas and proposals, develop a persuasive style, and always back your position with solid facts and examples. Good leaders adjust their messaging for different audiences, but do not align themselves too strongly with any one group. Continue Reading…

 

“If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing…”

~ Art Blakey, Legendary Jazz Musician

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 Networking is all about strategic communications. To increase your chance of success in everything you do, you need to communicate to expand your span of influence. Those that may be able to help you (now or in the future) need to know you and what you have to offer. They need to see you, meet you… hear from you. Although the natural tendency is to remain within your immediate environment, you need to move out of your comfort zone to ensure your own long-term success. If this is not enough to get you moving, think about these fundamental truths: Continue Reading…

 This week, I would like to take the opportunity to ask for your help. I always love the lively discussions and insightful questions that emerge from the different leadership challenges we cover, but this week I would especially appreciate your insights and opinions.

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Of all the amazing experiences I have been so fortunate to have, across many different boundaries and borders, one of my very favorites is the unique opportunity I had to walk with lions in Zimbabwe.  While canoeing down the river Sabi (avoiding the hippos) was exciting, going on an elephant safari proved adventurous, visiting Victoria Falls was amazing and staying in the historic, luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel was, well… historic and luxurious, nothing compares to walking with lions. Many of you probably think I must be crazy – who wants to walk with wild lions? But this was a fascinating opportunity that offered many insights – and besides, how many chances do you get to walk with lions?

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We all know that a keen comprehension of organizational politics is absolutely essential for leadership to maneuver the company towards its’ goals. Leaders use political leverage to promote their organizational interests, as well as personal interests occasionally. As an Extreme Global Leader you know that in order to realize a game-changing future, you will need more than just a great gameplan – you must master the political chessboard. A critical component to organizational success is sponsorship and stakeholder engagement. If a leader engages support from above, laterally, and below, s/he is likely to succeed. This equates to political influence – and to influence others requires building relationships of trust and persuading others to follow. That is what politics is about.

Leaders need to quickly identify those likely to support them and build strong coalitions aligning individual needs with organizational goals, in such a way that fulfillment of collective goals results in automatic fulfillment of individual needs at the same time. Leaders must realize that organizational politics is a function of culture, as well as an indication of trust levels in the organization, and will always serve both individual and organizational agendas.

In order to master the political chessboard, Extreme Global Leaders need to take a strategic approach to politics and should employ the following, as appropriate:

  1. Spend time with opponents: Most of us spend time with our allies, who we trust and who agree with us… when the people we have the most to learn from are our opponents.
  2. Never take anything personally: If it is not personal it is far easier to maintain focus on what we are trying to achieve. It is our choice whether or not we will personalize things that happen.
  3. Constantly reframe: It is natural to assume that it is “all about us” – the alternative is to recognize that much of politics is about people working to get things done within a diverse community of interests.
  4. Leverage the power dynamic: Recognize that power can come in several forms: legitimate, referent, reward, expert, and coercive power. Much of politics is based on power – who’s got it and how you can use it to your advantage.
  5. Build on mutually beneficial interlocking relationships: The better you are at networking, the better you will be at organizational politics.
  6. Focus on interests, not positions: In the interest of finding common ground, care about people’s interests and ask more questions. Why is this person interested in …? What is s/he trying to achieve? How can you help?How do interests align?

Leaders need to inspire people to act by creating clarity and unity of purpose and build synergies through organizational values. We can leverage political skills to manipulate others… or to influence them to achieve more than they ever thought possible – which one will accomplish more and move the organization forward faster?

Have you mastered the political chessboard?

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.

The past couple of weeks I have been doing a considerable amount of thinking around the value of networking. Last week I was in Boston with Robert Hargrove and we spoke extensively about the value of networking to the Extreme Global Leader and how life in the global economy has changed us. This week I am at the SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) conference, and guess what? Still thinking about networking and how it has changed as we now commonly work across boundaries and borders.

Here are some fundamental insights and observations:

  1. The “new” economy was yesterday. You have to keep your playbook flexible because no one knows the audible that will be called next. Business cycles do exactly that – cycle, unpredictably. Your current teammates may or may not be on your team moving forward. If you need a job, money, advice, help, hope, or the means to make an important deal, there is only one definite way to succeed – through your extended network of friends and colleagues across boundaries and borders.
  2. Job security is also a relic of the past (similar to your throwback jersey) and your superior talent and experience will not save you in hard times. The day may come when the Head Coach tells you that you have been traded, or worse, released as a free agent!  Tough day…guaranteed.  However, if that day should come, having a strong network to fall back on can make your life a whole lot easier – a few phone calls and you could be walking onto the playing field with a whole new Extreme Team.
  3. There is no need to even the scoreboard when contemplating your network. Networking is not about what someone else can do for you, but really about how you can serve your extended team. The bottom line: It is far better to give than to receive – NEVER keep score and NEVER deny a potentially game altering assist. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, the rewards will follow.
  4. Global business is a fluid, competitive playing field. Yesterday’s team-mate is tomorrow’s competitor; tomorrow’s competitor may well be your team’s owner next season. Building a strong network outside of the impermeable walls of your organization is vital. Take the time, expand your horizons, and build your network from every conceivable direction – it is a critical part of that flexible play book.
  5. You are brand “YOU” – if you are not networking, you can bet no one knows you. No more are you the sum of your organizations brand, where your value as a member of the team was linked to your loyalty and seniority. Professional sports teams use branding to grow strong, enduring relationships with fans, not to mention to generate revenue. In today’s fluid, global playing field, you must do the same with your network. Your relationships and your reputation are the most explicit illustrations of who you are and what you have to offer as an extreme player on the field. If no one knows what you bring to the game, you can not be mobilized as a game-changing contributor.
  6. Contribute continually – it is like (legal) steroids for networks. The more you give your time, money, and expertise (with no stipulations or reservations) to your network, the more opportunity you have to be recognized as the MVP you are.

The greatest way you can repay your mentors, coaches, and other valuable teammates in your network is to continue the tradition of giving to your extended network and to continue to expand your network – it is a legacy that will continue to give and grow, and may eventually provide you with a place in the elusive Extreme Leader Hall of Fame.

Challenge: What are YOU doing to initiate an Extreme Network this week?

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation in the ongoing discussions of Extreme Leaders Across Boundaries & Borders.