How To Stand Out In Your Company
If you’ve heard me talk or read my other blogs, you probably already know that I think being liked at work is the most important thing when it comes to getting a seat at the table. If you're going to have a career, people have to know you and like you in your organization or you’ll have a hard time advancing.
When I was early in my career, I used to say that I didn’t come to work to make friends. I was head down and focused on my work. But I lost opportunities by not being someone whose name people knew, someone who my colleagues trusted and felt comfortable with. That “liking” is crucial for getting pulled in on bigger picture projects.
So here are three ways you can build relationships and set up your career.
UNDERSTAND THE CULTURE
First and foremost, understand your culture. Pick up on the vibe. How do things get done? There's usually key people that move things through an organization, so make sure to pay attention to who's who and how things get done.
If you understand the corporate layout, you can move within it. Get into the right rooms where decisions get made, and you’ll be top of mind when those decision makers are deciding who they want to put on exciting and impactful projects.
Being liked isn’t going to happen overnight.
It can be challenging for people who aren't comfortable talking to people they don't know. They get hung up on the titles.
“I can't talk to so-and-so because he's a VP.”
But people aren’t their job titles. You can get to know just about anyone if you’re consistent, honest, and authentic. Don’t be daunted to talk to someone just because they outrank you. Break out of your shell and become a person that people know and are comfortable with.
START WITH SCHEDULING FORMAL ONE-ON-ONES
If you want to meet someone, I suggest dropping by their office or shooting their admin an email and saying something like:
Hey, I've been here a year, and I’d love to get to know you. I have some career aspirations, and I believe there's some things I can learn from you.
Really, it's that simple. I'm telling you, nine times out of ten have no problem having conversations. We get in our own way when we create fear in our heads about something as simple as sitting down and talking to someone.
After the half hour is up, it’s common for them to offer to meet again if you need something. Two weeks later, get back on their calendar. This is how you figure out who can be a mentor to you in your career and build supporters in your corner. The formal one-on-one is the start of that.
Use these three strategies, and your network will fill up with advocates and supporters who will remember you when projects come up and help you get your foot in the door. If you need help generating your network, let's connect! Put a one-on-one with me on your calendar and I can help you identify your next steps to get that seat at the table.