Strategic relationships – what does this term mean to you?
It is about what it says but then the big question is, do you take time to think about these? Who they should be with and how you will go about building them? Do you know you should be connecting with people more but struggle to find the time and motivation to get going and keep going?
Strategic relationships are often related to networking (do read on!) but if you are not a networker (I haven’t persuaded you of the benefits yet!), we all need to build strategic relationships for professional success. Whilst networking should be strategic, essentially strategic relationships are all about focusing on people on-going who can specifically support you in your role and career ambitions (you may have met them networking internally or externally). It’s about a very specific set of people who you can list out.
So to get started think about the who:
Internal people – easy to forget but essential for everyone – those who can influence your career. Think about the obvious ones such as your line manager, HR partner for your area (if there is one) but beyond that to senior people that make promotion and project decisions. Also, think about your peers, maybe they will provide input to the seniors. If you are thinking you want to work in a different area of your organisation then you will need to think more broadly, about people in other parts of the organisation.
Client/prospect contacts – this is most relevant if you have a BD role or will in the coming years. Focusing on these will help make that role easier in the future. Where are the big opportunities?
Business associates who perhaps might connect you to prospects (so are well connected themselves) or who help you build on what your organisation offers. For example, a software company whose product would help you make client delivery more impactful and/or efficient. This might also be about people who work in organisations you’d like to work for.
The how
We are all busy so start small, maybe one person from each of the groups that are important to you. If they are people you know already then that is easier. Make it part of your day job to diarise contacting them on a regular basis – whether that be just an email, meeting for a coffee or using one of the many tools on LinkedIn. How can you support and help them to build the relationship between you?
Relationships take time but even small actions can have a lot of impact, activity doesn’t have to be something that takes ages.
If you want to talk more about who you need to build strategic relationships with and how to get started by making a plan, contact me by email [email protected] to discuss how I can help – to support achieving your career goals, with minimal effort, as we are all busy!
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