I was speaking to a friend recently who is a Director of a major property company, she was referring to a colleague who was feeling anxious that she felt she needed to ‘schmooze’ more senior people to progress in her career.
This is a common complaint that I hear and something that many people find challenging, both in terms of time and the principle of having to do it. However, each time I hear this, I have the same thought. Whilst in some environments, there may be an unfortunate culture of needing to ‘schmooze’ others i.e. please them, adhere to their wants (I certainly would not support anything that borders on controlling and inappropriate). Most of the time, it is just about getting yourself known. This to me seems highly rationale, in large companies, senior people cannot be aware of everybody – it just isn’t practically possible.
You may have heard me talk of PIE theory before which is about what positively affects career progression. So in this article, I am talking about the 60% which is Exposure and 30% which is Image.
For me, the ‘schmoozing’ needs repositioning in our minds (in most environments), just getting to know others, so that we build positive professional relationships. Hopefully this benefits us career wise i.e. when promotion/project selections are being made these people know who they are considering and, it also creates greater fulfilment day-to-day, as this is what positive relationships lead to.
Additionally, a client of mine who has done this well in the first decade of her career explained to me recently how on a practical level, knowing these people leads to answers to questions by email being answered and more quickly, so it helps get the day job done too.
So my question today, is who do you need to know in your organisation and what is holding you back? Is it the positioning in your mind? What small step can you make this week to build on or start a new professional relationship with a more senior person?
If you want help to build a strategic relationships plan looking at your career objectives, who you need to get to know and how to get started in a way that works for you, I can help you as part of my Career Impact Programme. We’ll work on the big picture, as well as the detail of relationships with different people with different personalities and in different situations. Contact me to find out more.