What’s a savvy woman to do? Just when you’re on a roll, your company acquires another business. Or it is purchased by a larger corporation. Or the notice of a massive reorganization hits you out of the blue. Those you’ve built relationships with through the years are no longer employed or are reassigned. Managers are so overwhelmed with their volume of work they give short shrift to developing an employee’s career future—even someone as stellar as you.
Today’s disruptive environment has you feeling as though your professional center of gravity has disappeared making it difficult to move your career forward with intention and purpose.
Perhaps you can relate to this one real-life account.
Cynthia survived yet another realignment of upper management and the restructuring of her division. In the eyes of the organization, she is a vital producer, which is why she’s still employed while many others aren’t.
The question she asked was: “How do I get promoted out of the muck of mid-management? My approach certainly isn’t working because they brought in an external hire to assume a role that I’ve been working toward for years. It doesn’t seem as though the door will ever open for a bigger, brighter career future for me.”
I asked who she knows up her divisional ladder. It turns out nobody—not even the head of her division remains! She no longer has relationships with the movers-and-shakers instrumental in promotions rather her connections are with other productive work-a-bees who aren’t big influencers for advancement!
For Cynthia to receive a promotion anytime soon, she has to start from scratch—a gloomy yet essential proposition. You see it’s next to impossible to garner the juicy assignments when not one of the senior level decision-makers is aware of your contributions.
Cynthia shared: “But my boss is protective of his position and isn’t keen on anyone connecting above his head.”
My response: “Create chance encounters by bumping into high-level executives in the hallway, or the elevator, or the cafeteria, or the parking lot, or at non-profit events they support. You’ve got to generate interactions because strategic relationships are the difference between being stuck or advancing, and no one has the time or often the inclination to open doors for you.
Her comeback: “But I’ll be seen as a “b r _ _w n-n _ _s e r!”
I requested she closed her eyes for a moment to imagine she is the manager, and one of her staff jumped the chain of command to speak to her boss directly—and even water-dropped an idea. Would you like it better if your employee:
(a) Doesn’t notify you, but you hear about the incident directly from your boss,
(b) Merely communicated your boss is interested in moving forward with a concept they’d proposed, or
(c) Shared they had bragged (be specific) about you then mentioned a new concept your boss is interested in pursuing?
Cynthia got it. Her relationship building definition is a barrier to her prospects. Does this have you rethinking the disparaging synonyms you may use to describe networking with senior levels of your organization? This lack of political awareness may just be the reason your business card isn’t reading, “Senior Leader.” Are you ready to start opening doors for your career future?
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