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Nourish Your Network To Boost Your Career

by Joan Lloyd

Whether you like it or not, you're part and parcel of the "political" system in your workplace. There's nothing manipulative or hypocritical about building trust and rapport with your colleagues.

"I don't play politics."
"I don't have to network in my company."
"I do my job 9 to 5."
"Don't expect me to win personality contests."

These are the symptoms of an unhealthy career. Like the patient who ignores chest pains until the big one hits, these employees ignore the symptoms until they're on the street.

They don't understand that they're a part of the "political" system whether they try or not.

"Politics" is nothing more than getting to know people on an informal basis. There's nothing manipulative or hypocritical about building trust and rapport with your colleagues.

Answer These Revealing Questions!

To take the temperature of your personal political network, ask yourself these questions:

1) Has a peer in another department in the last week invited me to lunch?

2) Do I have at least one acquaintance or friend in each department?

3) Have my peers trusted me with confidential information?

4) Have I been asked to join a committee, task force or project team in the last year?

5) Have I heard about major events in my department or in the company before they happen?

6) Do I know who my boss confides in?

7) Do I know how my boss feels about others in his or her team?

8) Do I know my boss' goals and ambitions?

9) Do I know who to approach when I want to change a procedure or when I want to try a new idea? Do I make an effort to speak to these people on a regular basis?

10) The last time I needed a quick answer in the middle of a rush job, did I know the right in-house contact to call?

11) When I run short of resources or I'm given a big project with a short deadline, do I have well-placed friends who can help?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably have your finger on the pulse of the organization.

Need Preventative Medicine? Try These...

If you answered "No, I don't have to know that in my job," you may want to take some preventive medicine:

1) Stop to talk to people you want to know better. Discover their interests and pet-projects.

2) Never talk about something shared in confidence. If you have a reputation for discretion, your network will grow.

3) Share the credit with other individuals who helped you earn it. When others congratulate you, mention your colleague's contribution. Write letters of appreciation to his or her boss.

4) Offer assistance to help someone solve a problem.

5) When you run across information a colleague may be interested in, send a copy or call.

6) Call people you'd like to know or ask a plugged-in friend to connect you.

7) Join company clubs and volunteer activities. Without the stress of job performance, relationships can flourish.

8) Take care to keep people informed by sending them copies of memos that affect them.

If you nourish your network and keep it healthy, it will carry you through a long, successful career.

© Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.

Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.

Joan Lloyd has earned her C.S.P. (certified speaking professional) designation from the National Speakers Association and speaks to corporate audiences, as well as trade & professional associations across the country. Reach her at (800) 348-1944,, or

Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates to submit your question, for consideration for publication, request permission to reprint an article for distribution, or for information about carrying Joan Lloyd's weekly column in your publication, or on your Internet or Intranet site.


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